WiTech collected laptops and textbooks earlier this year to donate to Mindanao State University – University Training Center in Marawi City.
Marawi experienced a five-month-long armed conflict that started on 23 May 2017, between Philippine government security forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups. The siege caused death and destruction.
Audrey Pe (founder and Executive head) and Annika Gozum (Co-Marketing head) represented WiTech and travelled to Marawi City last August 2-4, 2018 to spread tech education by teaching students and teachers how to use laptops through modules created by the organization and a workshop for the students.
Among the 34 students from Grades 7 – 10 of the Mindanao State University – University Training Center, only one vaguely knew what computer programming was.
WiTech, along with Philippine Toy Library, Feast Volunteers and MSU – UTC Library Hub Program Group, was given the opportunity to travel to Marawi last August 2. The tents, huts, and small concrete houses in the evacuation sites reflected the experiences of the relocated victims of the seige in Ground Zero, but WiTech quickly realized that the hardships they faced could not erase their happiness.
On our first day, children couldn’t wait to get inside the Roving Toy Library, a successful project of the Philippine Toy Library filled with toys and educational materials. The Feast volunteers also prepared activities for the children which allowed them to dance, sing, and afterwards, enjoy cookies! Laughs and smiles were shared as they jumped around, full of energy and joy.
On our second day in Marawi, the new Mindanao State University – University Training Center Library Hub was formally opened. This was the fruit of the labors of the MSU – UTC Library Hub Program Group. The students, faculty, and staff were overflowing with gratitude as they acknowledged the efforts of complete strangers who sacrificed their time and effort to donate over 5,763 books and raise P228,470.56 in the span of a few months for this project.
WiTech was also able to collect eight second-hand laptops which were donated to the new library hub. The faculty was pleased to announce that their school was “high-tech” now that they had laptops! Using the laptops, the WiTech representatives gave a crash course on Microsoft Office and Scratch to the boys and girls. Focusing mainly on Microsoft Powerpoint and the basic functions of Scratch, the high school students of MSU – UTC were immersed in the technology. They even went so far as to describe changing themes, adding animations, and finding clipart as “Magic!”
As they used the laptops, students were able to explore the functions of Microsoft PowerPoint and Scratch at their own pace. WiTech also left modules for the students and teachers, specifically ones for Microsoft Office, Technology in Education, and Scratch. The day ended with the students poring over donated books with bright eyes.
WiTech embarked on this trip to Marawi with the goal of providing local students with the technological resources majority take for granted. Throughout the duration of the trip, the lack of access to technology and the lack of technology education were evident. In spite of this, the organization encouraged both boys and girls to develop an interest in technology thanks to the donated laptops and the modules created by WiTech members.
It’s clear that the Maranaos have experienced something that has greatly affected and scarred them for the rest of their lives, yet their strength and resilience endure. As they continue to struggle to make up for what has been lost, their tireless efforts and undying hope persist.
In the span of just two days, WiTech was able to interact with Maranaos, create dialogues with them, and listen to their stories. Now WiTech is sharing their stories with you. We hope you can share it too.