Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Henry Sy Foundation promotes inclusive education, revitalizing the Philippine School for the Deaf

Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) hand signs a gratitude message to Henry Sy Foundation (HSF), Department of Education, and Pasay Local Government after they collaborated for the revitalization of the 12-room laboratory building of Senior High School students.

The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons in the Philippines ensures that people with disabilities can be rehabilitated, develop, and live independently. People with disabilities can receive educational assistance ranging from primary to tertiary education, as well as vocational or technical training.

One such institution is the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City. For more than a century, the school has demonstrated the transformative power of education in empowering and unlocking the abilities of people with various disabilities to live fulfilling lives.

Despite serving 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, is suffering from the effects of time and wear, jeopardizing its ability to fulfill its mission.

The school lacked basic amenities and accessibility features, including converted classrooms, worn corridors, limited space for vocational training, insufficient furniture, dilapidated walls and ceilings, broken tiles and faucets, and dim lighting. It was also prone to flooding due to drainage issues, and there was only one functional toilet with a broken door infested with termites.

Revitalizing a legacy
The Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and Pasay City's Department of Education's Schools Division Office formed a transformative partnership to revitalize the Senior High School building as well as a four-story, 12-classroom structure. This initiative, carried out through the DepEd's adopt-a-school program, demonstrates the power of collaboration in revitalizing educational infrastructure for the benefit of the community.

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

Previously hampered by infrastructural limitations, the century-old school now boasts expanded learning spaces dedicated to a variety of subjects such as dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food and beverage preparation, ICT, and dance. A dance studio, a dressing room, and a conference room were also renovated.

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.

Ramps and railings were installed throughout campus to improve safety and accessibility, making it easier for all students to move around. Aside from revitalizing 10 classrooms, the SM group also renovated conference rooms and the lobby, adding a reception area to create a welcoming environment.

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

A handwashing station and separate male and female toilets were rehabilitated to promote good hygiene and healthy habits, with clean, functional cubicles, urinals, and PWD-friendly amenities. The covered court was restored with a large stage, creating an ideal environment for outdoor learning and recreation. 

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.

The PSD's facilities were renovated not only to address physical challenges, but also to create an environment in which all students can thrive. The project exemplifies the SM and Henry Sy Foundations' ongoing pursuit of inclusivity, as well as their commitment to empowering people with disabilities through education.

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