2,000 call center agents join schools cleanup for ‘Brigada Eskwela’ | Inquirer News

2,000 call center agents join schools cleanup for ‘Brigada Eskwela’

By: - Reporter / @erikaINQ
/ 12:16 AM May 18, 2014

A call center agent from Telus International Philippines helps repaint chairs at Isabelo de los Reyes Elementary School in Tondo, Manila, one of the 2,000 volunteers from the company who took part in the Department of Education’s annual back-to-school cleanup on Saturday. RAFFY LERMA

MANILA,  Philippines – Straight from the night shift, around 2,000 call center agents traded their phone headsets for cleaning tools on Saturday as they spruced up two public schools in Manila for the Department of Education’s “Brigada Eskwela.”

Also known as National Schools Maintenance Week, the nationwide voluntary program was launched by DepEd in 2003 to allow teachers, community members and organizations to take part in the cleanup and repair of public schools in preparation for the opening of classes.


In partnership with Hands on Manila Foundation Inc., Telus International Philippines (TIP) picked Isabelo delos Reyes Elementary School in Tondo and Cayetano Arellano High School in Sta. Cruz, both in Manila.


Team members of the business process outsourcing company repainted the classrooms of the two public schools, tended their gardens and repaired chairs and tables.

“This is the biggest group ever to help us during Brigada Eskwela,” Edita Lopez, principal of Isabelo de los Reyes Elementary School, said. “And I’m grateful because we cater to more than 6,000 students and we have six big buildings that are difficult to maintain.”

“It’s a big help that on the first day of classes, students and teachers can focus on learning instead of cleaning up the school,” she added.

“Being situated in a depressed area, most of our students come from the poorest of the poor. Maintaining the garden contributes to our feeding program because the vegetables we harvest are fed to around 200 beneficiaries,” she said.

Charlie Bernal, one of the TIP agents, said the fulfillment from doing volunteer work overcomes the exhaustion of being on the graveyard shift.

“It’s heartwarming when you give to the community where you live,” he told the Inquirer.


The TIP also gave a P2 million grant to Hands on Manila for the maintenance of the two schools. Some teams will return to monitor the schools and conduct activities for students like arts and crafts and garden maintenance.

The Brigada Eskwela coincided with TIP’s 8th Day of Giving, an annual celebration of its regular community projects. In line with its youth empowerment and environment advocacies, Telus has partnered with other groups such as Bantay Bata 163, Gawad Kalinga and Bantay Kalikasan.

Jeffrey Puritt, Telus International president, said that going to yesterday’s activity in Tondo was bittersweet because it brought him to places which broke his heart.

“It reminds me of how much work is needed to change the world to make it fair for everyone. It is manifestly unfair that simply by virtue of being born somewhere else rather than being born here, the standard of living one enjoys is profoundly different,” he added.

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“It’s not just fair that members of our species enjoy dramatically different levels of standard of living. I have to start somewhere. What we’re starting today in this school makes us feel good but we need to do more. And it’s the same feeling I get every single year,” Puritt said.

TAGS: DepEd, Schools, TIP

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