Verizon Foundation Supports Project for Early Childhood Education in the Philippines

Verizon Foundation Supports Project for Early Childhood Education in the Philippines

Extensive research has proven that high-quality, early childhood education programs are critical, especially for children from low-income families, to prepare them to be successful in school. That is why the Verizon Foundation is supporting the Gawad Kalinga project to provide quality educational services for 120 preschool and kindergarten children in the Philippines.

Gawad Kalinga (GK) means "to give care." The organization was founded to provide an alternative solution to poverty in the Philippines, with the goal of building 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in 7 years. GK takes holistic approach to building communities that covers everything from schools and homes to instilling confidence in the people that live there. To date, GK is involved in 1,700 communities impacting about 800,000 people.

The Verizon Foundation's grant of $28,000 will help GK's SIBOL (meaning-to grow) program to operate in a Manila school. The SIBOL program follows the regular curriculum prescribed by the Philippine government.

A group of 60 Verizon Business employees, based at the Philippines Network Operations Center, led the initiative to support this project. They are taking ownership for its success by donating their time to help develop the school and will volunteer at the school on a continuing basis. Employees will help with computer classes, early literacy, art, music, reading and storytelling.

"An investment in early childhood education programs is an investment in cognitive and social success in school, in lifelong learning and in future economic independence," said Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation. "We are pleased to support Gawad Kalinga as it provides these young children with the opportunity to escape poverty and become successful citizens of their community."

GK is a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award (Asia's version of the Nobel Peace Prize)in 2006 for harnessing the faith and generosity of Filipinos the world over to confront poverty in the Philippines.

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