We have completed the renovation work and handed over a building consisting of two classrooms and the outdoor stage of Luntad Elementary School in Palo, Philippines. I am grateful to our sponsor Kanani Sejal of Nairobi, Kenya for her generous financial support to cover the total cost of this project and to our project manager Jenny Ruth for her dedication and excellent work.
The building and the outdoor stage both were badly damaged by the typhoon. Although seven months had passed since the typhoon destroyed the buildings, nobody had helped to renovate these two buildings. I heard about this school from Rev. Father Loreto. We were traveling in the same plane form Tacloban to Manila. When he heard that I am helping to renovate schools, he invited me to come and see the damaged area in Palo.
Since I was mainly helping the people in the Tacloban city area, I hadn’t being to this region in my previous visits. One clear day in the early morning, Rev. Loreto picked me up form my hotel and took me to Palo and showed me several devastated schools that needed help to rebuild or renovate. When I arrived at Luntad Elementary School and saw all the beautiful faces of the young children who ware waiting for their classrooms to be rebuilt and heard the plea of the principal, I felt inspired to help them.
I told the project manger Jenny to find the contractors and prepare the estimate. That evening, I called several friends to ask for financial help. I called my friend and student Kanani Sejal of Nairobi, Kenya. I had known her for 15 years and we have done some humanitarian projects in Kenya in the past. After our short conversation, she whole-heartedly agreed to sponsor the whole project. We finished our conversation with her question, “where shall I send the money to, Bhante Wimala”?
It took less than a month to complete the work. Jenny worked hard and was constantly in communication with me while she was making decisions and solving problems. When the work was completed, they prepared a grand opening ceremony and I was glad to be there to witness the moment and share the joy. I was able to participate in the opening ceremony of the building. Children as young as five years old sang songs, danced and performed on the new performance stage.
The principal informed me that 350 children had benefited from this project. As I said goodbye to the joyful students and the teachers, I felt happy and felt a deep sense of gratitude for those who trust me and help me to help those who are in need.