In the Philippines Star of Hope has a small number of diversified projects. Of those, our school in Taytay, Rizal Metro Manila is one we are very proud of.
In 1987 Star of Hope Philippines with its director, Gani Coruna, was asked, in a round-about-way, by the mayor of Crame to help establish a school in one of the most marginalized areas in the metro area, Taytay Rizal. It is a no brainer that this was needed as Taytay was literally a trash dump for the Metro area and the economy that trash dumps generate to the extremely poor soon caused an influx of men women and children hoping to live off the dump by sorting trash.
Star of Hope had been operating Christian schools for the poor in Crame and had an excellent reputation; the question came to Gani and Star of Hope as they demonstrated a quality of being able to get the most marginalized children in school at no cost to the families.
Things being as they were, the challenge was accepted and Star of Hope received a large parcel of land in Taytay to build and run a school. This deal was a 25 year free lease on the property. That is just what we did and a small classroom was soon built and then many extensions and upper levels were built. Time ran its course and some years ago we started to or tried to have a dialog with the current political decision makers and to extend the lease. However, due to election and mandate periods it was not until last year that we could start a dialog with the political powers in in charge.
"No extension", us what we were told early in 2011 as the school was of high standard from a material point of view and it was a target (in my opinion) for the local government to take back. What a huge loss that would be for Star of Hope. Pastor Gani did not give up. He orchestrated a land swap deal. If we could get a parcel of land in Crame that was attractive and filled the local government's criteria then we could swap the parcels and obtain ownership of the school. But more importantly we could continue to educate the marginalized poor of Taytay and hopefully break the chains of poverty for many more thousands of children.
Prayers were answered. We needed to meet the price tag of a swap parcel, over $150,000 USD. This need was met in a timely manner by the grace of a long time corporate supporter to Star of Hope. I recall the day we received word the donation would be met and it was a great day indeed to know the children of Taytay would still have a place to be equipped scholastically and spiritually.
This Sunday there will be a new dedication ceremony at the school to celebrate that Star of Hope Philippines takes ownership of the school. You can read about it in our latest news or in the blogs from Maria or Dennis in the next few days.
In spite of all this funding and land swapping we still are in real need to help pay for the teachers, supplies and all the things needed in a school system, if you can sponsor a child and help them get an education. What a great gift to give.