My Dream In A Shoebox

It's said that great blessings come in small packages. Each year, the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and TeamAsia organize - with partners Children's Hour and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) - an annual Christmastime effort to deliver small packages to thousands of children across the Philippines. Starting from humble beginnings four years ago in the aftermath of Typhoon ''Ondoy'' (international call sign Ketsana), it has grown to many times its original size, and reach.

Conceived by BPAP former executive director Jonathan de Luzuriaga and TeamAsia president Monette Hamlin, ''My Dream in a Shoebox'' is championed by the Philippine IT-BPO industry, and has become a beloved Christmas tradition of collecting and distributing shoeboxes filled with school supplies to Filipino children whose families struggle to keep them in school. But today it does much more than distribute school supplies. (Disclosure: BPAP is a client and my firm, TeamAsia.)

Thanks to increasingly broad support both within and without the IT-BPO industry and the generosity of individual knowledge workers, from 2010 to 2011 the initiative more than doubled the number of shoeboxes collected from 3,450 to 7,867. The shoeboxes were donated to public schools in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao under the nurturing care of Children's Hour. The AFP provided logistics. While a shoebox full of school supplies is indeed a small package, for the children beneficiaries and their families, they clearly matter.

But for the first time last year, the donations also included more than 100 computers and laptops, and over two million in cash for DepEd's Bayanihang Pampaaralan program. Donations were also used to assist Typhoon Sendong victims in Iligan City and other remote areas. Today the program is jointly administered by BPAP executive director for industry affairs Raymond Lacdao and TeamAsia marketing manager Jan Baybay. Their coordinated - and tireless - efforts have dramatically expanded the scope of the annual project.

Like any worthwhile undertaking, BPAP and TeamAsia and our partners believe the program should continue to grow and provide relief and support for an increasing number of children each year. The goal for 2012 is to provide 10,000 shoeboxes, 500 computers and laptops, and another P2 million for the Bayanihang Pampaaralan program. Based on the enthusiastic momentum the program enjoys, BPAP and TeamAsia are confident of reaching this stretch goal.

There are several different ways to participate in the program. First, naturally, has to do with filling shoeboxes with school supplies, wrapping them, and delivering them to the BPAP or TeamAsia offices. Many companies take ownership of the program internally, and invite their teams to create original shoebox designs and drop the stuffed shoeboxes at internal collection sites. When notified, BPAP and TeamAsia will arrange pickup of the boxes. Often, companies drop the shoeboxes themselves off at the BPAP or TeamAsia offices.

As Ms. Baybay says, ''Fill shoeboxes with school supplies such as notebooks, pad paper, pens and pencils, crayons, rulers, scissors, and bottles of glue. Make your shoeboxes special by separately wrapping the lid and box with colorful recycled paper or Christmas wrappers. But for safety and security purposes, please don't glue or permanently seal your shoeboxes.'' There are no limits on the number of supplies included in each shoebox.

Organizations participating in the program are requested to complete a ''Santa Form'' when dropping off shoeboxes to document their gift, and to ensure that they receive acknowledgement of their generosity. These details and more are available on the project website, http://www.teamasia.com/shoeboxcampaign/index.htm. Contact information for Mr. Lacdao and Ms. Baybay is available on the website, as are social media links.

Many organizations decommission desktop computers after two years of use, and wind up wondering what to do with them, other than sell them for salvage - an environmentally perilous alternative - or keeping them locked up in a warehouse gathering dust. While the Philippines is making good progress in building classrooms, it needs a staggering number of computers for labs. My Dream in a Shoebox will take those used computers - desktops, laptops alike - and put them to work educating the next generation.

Finally, last year BPAP and TeamAsia saw a wide range of organizations contribute enough cash to build two classrooms for Bayanihang Pampaaralan. Enough cash was left over to assist victims of calamity as well. This year, the organizations hope to do even more.

For those of us who have had the pleasure of being onsite when these gifts are delivered, well, there's nothing like it. BPAP and TeamAsia are anxious to share that experience with organizations and individuals regardless of industry.

Let's work together to deliver great blessings in small packages again this year.

***

(Michael Alan Hamlin is the managing director of TeamAsia and a Manila-based author and commentator. Write him at mahamlin@teamasia.com, follow him on Twitter, @asianpundit, friend him on Facebook, michaelalanhamlin, or link on LinkedIn, michaelalanhamlin.)

Copyright © 2012 Michael Alan Hamlin. All Rights Reserved.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual
    NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual

    NEW YORK (AP) — The city said Tuesday it has reached a tentative agreement with members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over a tradition known as oral suction circumcision. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • Duterte: Disband all armed groups
    Duterte: Disband all armed groups

    All armed groups, including those of the communists and Muslim secessionist groups, should be disbanded for the country to achieve stability, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday. Duterte said even the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Moro National Liberation Front and the New People’s Army should be asked to lay down their arms once these groups agree to join him in what he described as a unity government if he becomes President in 2016. Duterte said under the federal government that he is …

  • Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark
    Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican sought Wednesday to defuse a diplomatic tiff with Mexico after Pope Francis referred to the possible "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina from drug trafficking, the latest instance of Francis' casual speaking style getting him into trouble. …

  • School can’t sack unwed mom – SC
    School can’t sack unwed mom – SC

    The dismissal of an employee of a Catholic school on the grounds of premarital sexual relations and pregnancy out of wedlock was illegal, the Supreme Court (SC) has ruled. In a 23-page decision promulgated on Feb. 17, the third division of the high court struck down the decision of St. Scholastica’s College-Westgrove (SSCW) in Silang, Cavite to dismiss Cheryll Santos Leus for “disgraceful or immoral conduct” in violation of the school’s 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools (MRPS). …

  • BOC destroys P50-M smuggled shoes
    BOC destroys P50-M smuggled shoes

    The Bureau of Customs (BOC) destroyed yesterday some P50 million worth of fake footwear products earlier seized in an anti-smuggling drive. The knockoffs of popular brands such as Nike, Adidas, Converse, Skechers, Northface, Leaveland, Merelle, Lacoste, Vans, Havaianas and Ipanema were confiscated from Warehouse 4 in Olivarez Compound, Parañaque City. …

  • Gunmen torch Marwan’s hut
    Gunmen torch Marwan’s hut

    Unidentified gunmen burned down the hut used by slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan in a remote village in Mamasapano. The hut was torched late Tuesday, just hours after members of the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Board of Inquiry made an ocular inspection of the site where 44 commandos of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in a firefight with Muslim rebels in Barangay Tukanalipao on Jan. 25. The SAF policemen were on a mission to capture Zulkifli, alias …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options