Power of Social Media Giving Joy to Filipino Kids
On a vacation abroad with the family, PTL President Edsel Ramirez, 38, was struck with the availability of parks and playgrounds for children in their communities. “When we were younger, we used to play games and catch fireflies every afternoon,” Ramirez told. “My friends and I had a lot of fun. These childhood memories were important as I grew up. Now, I wonder how come our major cities in the Philippines didn’t bother to allocate space for play and leisure.
Thus, he decided to provide the same experience he had when he was a kid to children of Brgy. Loyola Heights, where his family lives. Last February 2011, he posted a status on his Facebook page that he was asking for donations of old toys, children’s books, and materials for building the first Philippine Toy Library.
“My objective was that this library would be a play center built by the community,” Ramirez, a long time-entrepreneur and environment advocate, emphasized. “Everybody had to chip in – local community, village residents, local government and they did.”
The barangay captain committed a space in the barangay hall; the nanays (mothers) of the beneficiaries organized themselves to schedule play time and stewarding the children. Through the power of social media, village friends were informed and donated old toys, books and art materials that they took out from their own closets. Some committed to build shelves and repaint the space. Youth organizations ran educative and early childhood development programs during the weekends.
“My children’s toys were just taking up space in our rooms. Edsel’s idea was a good one that we were able to help other children through the toys that we bought a long time ago,” Ateneo professor and village neighbor Bobby Guevara shared.
“After operating the PTL Loyola Heights for one year, we could see some changes in the children,” Ramirez told. “The mothers used the PTL time as incentive for their children. They became more disciplined, looked forward to learning and fun, and I guess, appreciated life a little better.”
Ramirez, together with some volunteer-friends, decided that the model could work nationwide. Last month, they launched their fan page online and only after a few hours; they had close to fifty requests to build toy libraries from Luzon to Mindanao.
“There are thousand barangays, day care centers, public elementary schools and religious centers all over the country that we can build toy libraries for the children,” Ramirez reiterated. “If communities will gather and synergize their efforts locally, we will perhaps have a happier culture.”
“An African proverb says, it takes a village to raise a child. We have to own the development of our Filipino children. Kung hindi tayo, sino pa (If we don’t take charge, who else will)?”
The Philippine Toy Library is currently calling for donations to replenish PTL Loyola Heights and to build in Project 4 and Payatas in Quezon City, Culion in Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, Maguindanao and Layag-Layag in Zamboanga. Clear out closets and PTL is open to accepting old toys, children’s books, art materials, shelves, tables and chairs, rubber matting, paint, etc. Drop off points are in Quezon City, Makati City, Baguio, Bacolod and Zamboanga.
Reference: +63918 964 7053