by Amaranth Xena Soleil Saludar
Independent student-led group #ConquerCovid (CC), comprised of college students from various schools in Metro Manila, launched on July 11, 2020 a short-term gadget donation drive called “Go Go Gadgets” in support of Virlanie Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit, and non-sectarian organization reaching out to marginalized children and communities in the Philippines.
Go Go Gadgets was initiated by CC in partnership with Virlanie to provide gadgets to over 200 elementary school students who cannot afford these things to aid them for their online learning.
CC was motivated to create this project because in this time of pandemic, they saw the struggles of their “less-fortunate brothers and sisters” and acknowledged that not everyone is as “privileged” as they are.
“It saddens us [CC] to see how much people are struggling not just with the pandemic, but also with how they will be able to afford online classes. We thought to ourselves, that since we are in the position to be helping others, might as well do all in our power as students to be able to reach out and help provide these gadgets to aid the students in need,” remarked Raya Ysabel Olivarez, a core member of CC.
With the difficulties that they saw, Olivarez, on behalf of CC, wanted to tell fellow students how important education is – that it is a “basic human right” – and to say that they can use their “privilege” to help the children in need in this time of crisis.
“Education is a basic human right. Educating the kids properly now creates hope for the future. The pandemic should not be a reason for kids to stop getting the quality education they deserve,” Olivarez emphasized.
“Just because we are in a position of privilege does not mean we should turn a blind eye and not address the issues around us and [not] help those in need as much as we can. We are in a position of privilege which means we are in more of a position to help,” she added.
Olivarez also said that CC believes that even if the pandemic has been “really tough,” there will be a “brighter side to things” and that CC will be fighting alongside and helping the students in need in any way they can.
“Your voices are heard. We [CC] salute you guys for your resilience, determination, and willingness to learn. All your efforts will not be wasted as we will try everything in our power to make sure you guys are ready for online classes. You do not have to fight this battle alone,” encouraged Olivarez.
Aside from Go Go Gadgets, CC has also launched before two waves of projects for the frontliners.
The first wave was “One Liner Para sa Frontliner,” where people submitted short letters to encourage frontliners; and the second wave was “Salu-donation Drive,” where CC raised money to provide donation packs to 150 frontliners, particularly garbage collectors, sanitation workers from the Department of Public Services of Metro Manila, tricycle drivers in San Juan City and the security guards around Makati, and their families.
Recently, CC has started with the third wave that consists of three projects: #ToEducate, #ToRespond, and #ToInnovate.
First, under #ToEducate, they came up with #MayBagoKaNaBa series, a project that aims to raise awareness about everything in the “new normal” through an infographic of quarantine protocols, a magazine about the education sector, and videos on business and lifestyle sectors.
Then, they formed #ToRespond which has two parts: Go Go Gadgets and KarinDiaries. Go Go Gadgets was the said gadget donation drive to help over 200 students, while KarinDiaries is an initiative to help some karinderyas that were affected by the quarantine by helping them gain publicity.
Lastly, under #ToInnovate, they created the Special Mask Force, wherein they will raise funds to donate transparent face masks to the deaf and hard of hearing community so that they can still communicate freely by lip-reading along with sign language.
*Interested donors may reach CC through their Facebook and Instagram accounts. They may also reach out to any of the organization’s core members: Maphi Ona – 0905 452 5412; Maxine Ganzon – 0917 540 2006; Dani Navarro – 0917 884 0820; Raya Olivarez – 0917 806 3771; Mika Awid – 0945 413 1542; Britney Paderes – 0927 308 5261; Summer Avila – 0917 658 6470.