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Henry Sy Foundation promotes inclusive education

 



The Philippines’ Magna Carta for Disabled Persons ensures the rehabilitation, self-development, and self-reliance of persons with disabilities. The country provides educational assistance to people with disabilities from primary to tertiary education, including vocational or technical training.

 

One such school is the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City. For over a century, the school had demonstrated the transformative power of education in empowering and unlocking the capabilities of those with diverse disabilities to live fulfilling lives.

 

Though standing as a testament to the Philippines' long-standing commitment to differently-abled education, the school, one of Southeast Asia's oldest institutions for the deaf, suffers from the effects of time and wear, compromising its ability to fulfill its mission.

 

The school lacked basic facilities and accessibility features: converted classrooms, timeworn corridors, limited space for vocational training, inadequate furniture, dilapidated walls and ceilings, broken tiles and faucets, and dim lighting. It was also prone to flooding due to drainage problems, and it had only one functional toilet with a broken door infested by termites.

 

Revitalizing a legacy

 

In a transformative partnership, the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City joined forces to breathe new life into the Senior High School building and a four-story, 12-classroom structure. This initiative, executed under the DepEd's adopt-a-school program, stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in revitalizing educational infrastructure for the benefit of the community.


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Teachers conduct lectures on electronics in a more conducive laboratory after the rehabilitation of the school building

 

Previously hindered by infrastructural limitations, the century-old school now features enhanced learning spaces dedicated to various subjects, including dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance. A dance studio with a dressing room and a conference room were also refurbished.


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Through the social good collaboration, the laboratory for baking and cookery has been equipped with new tools and furniture, helping conduct more hands-on classes.


To enhance safety and accessibility, ramps and railings were installed throughout the campus, ensuring ease of movement for all students. Aside from revitalizing 10 classrooms, the SM group also refurbished the conference rooms, and the lobby with a reception area to provide a comfortable environment.



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Differently abled students from PSD focus as they attend their beauty and cosmetology class in their new building.


 

Helping instill good hygiene and encourage healthy habits, a handwashing station, and separate male and female toilets were rehabilitated with clean, functional cubicles, urinals, and PWD-friendly facilities.

 

The covered court was restored with a spacious stage, creating a conducive space for outdoor learning and recreation. 


The rehabilitation of the facilities at the PSD was undertaken, not just to address the physical challenges but also to cultivate an environment where every student can thrive. The project stands as a testament to the SM and Henry Sy Foundations’ continued pursuit of inclusivity and its commitment to empowering differently-abled individuals through education.


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SM Foundation school building program head Juris Soliman and SMFI Project Supervisor Ar. Caren Lopez (fourth and fifth from left) with PSD Principal Shery Funcion and SDO Pasay City SGOD Sylwyn Tenorio (sixth and seventh from left) with the team behind the school’s refurbishment.


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