My name is Joanne and I believe in the power of my community

Joanne Presentación Suárez

Joanne Suárez, teacher at the Talipanan Mangyan School in Puerto Galera, Philippines


“When I observed the reactions of all my students’ mothers when using the tablets, the idea arose of how I could apply these women’s weaving skills to the project”

“I’m Joanne Presentacion Suarez, I’m 30 years old, Filipina and married with a son who lives in Sitio Talipanan, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro.” This is how Joanne, a teacher at the Talipanan Mangyan School, introduces herself. “Living happily is God’s precious gift to the family. This is the way I live with my family and the way I work in my field of teaching.” 

The Talipanan Mangyan School is located at the foot of Mount Malasimb and currently has 301 pupils from this town in the Philippines. ProFuturo arrived in Joanne’s classrooms four years ago, thanks to its collaboration with the Ayala Foundation. This fifth-grade teacher says that the arrival of the ProFuturo tablets has been a source of inspiration for teaching and learning through online teaching materials.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, many of the Philippine schools in the programme managed to reinvent themselves to ensure learning continuity. Thus, a new project arose: TabLend.

The TabLend project

The initiative, currently implemented in the regions of Puerto Galera and El Nido, is based on lending tablets to 4th and 6th grade pupils. In this way, children from the 30 schools benefiting from the project (17 in Puerto Galera and 13 in El Nido) can continue learning from the safety of their homes. 

TabLend was created with the aim of being able to use technological material when it is impossible to continue with face-to-face classes due to COVID-19. In addition, the initiative also implies a reduction of funds for the printing of school materials. Currently, the project has 2,605 tablets in use and benefits 1,943 children in schools in the aforementioned regions.

The arrival of TabLend at Joanne’s school led her to think of a way to include the parents of the school’s pupils in their educational life through the local tradition of weaving. So, the mothers starting weaving protective covers for the ProFuturo devices that the pupils, and also their own children, took home each week.“In our locality, weaving is the main source of income for almost all of our students’ mothers. It is a craft that the Mangyan of Iraya have inherited from their ancestors. As a teacher and second mother to my students, I want to instil the importance of taking care of the things we have been given.”


Weaving education

“When I observed the reactions of all my students’ mothers when using the tablets, the idea arose of how I could apply these women’s weaving skills to the project.” And so, CARE was created, the project that brings together women such as Nena Caurang and Karina Pampilo, weavers, mothers of students at Talipanan Mangyan and now participants in the smooth running of TabLend. 

Nena and Karina were born in Talipanan in Puerto Galera. They have been weaving and preserving this age-old tradition for ten years. “I learnt how to do it from my parents. It is very important to me because it is my parents’ legacy and we enjoy it”, says Nena. When Joanne proposed weaving these covers to protect the ProFuturo tablets when being transported, they didn’t hesitate for a moment. “Joanne gave us the design and the size. It took us two weeks to weave them”, says Karina.

The future of TabLend

In the future, TabLend aims to maximise the use of ProFuturo’s digital resources and work to improve pupils’ skills in ICT through well-planned lessons and activities. As part of its expansion plan, TabLend would like to reach 95 new schools in the regions of Mimaropa and the Palawan, Mindoro, Romblon and Marinduque Islands. 

Joanne, Nena and Karina confirm the benefits that TabLend has brought to the lives of the children at this school in Puerto Galera. The personalised learning for each student, the motivation of the students during the educational process and the reinforcement of the collaboration between teachers and parents have made it possible to unite this community through education.