GFF HELPS January 2024 updates

GFF HELPS January 2024 updates

GFF Helps Philippines


On 19th January 2024, in a fantastic display of talent and cultural diversity, students of English for Village program took the spotlight at the Ekiriyagala SANASA Community Hall. The highlight of the event was their performance of the folk drama ‘Nari Bena’ (The Fox, Son-in-law).

Joe FisherGFF HELPS January 2024 updates
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We continue to bring the antibacterial soap to schools and keep on reminding students to bring their toothbrush every Tuesday. This is to reiterate the importance of hygiene after the celebration of Global Handwashing Day. Before we started the Remedial Classes, we asked the students to fall in line at the sink and wash their hands. Some students bring their toothbrushes, so we also put toothpaste and let them brush their teeth. The students are always enthusiastic when it comes to this activity. We always assist them to prevent wasting water and to play around.


We successfully ended this year with the Sports Project that started in April of this year. We will continue the project until all of the students can master the different strategies for winning the board games. We saw students who excelled in these games, and we asked them to help their fellow players. We also never fail to supervise them if we see them struggle. We saw a lot of improvements from them. Most did not know how to play these board games when we introduced them. Now, they can play alone with minimum supervision from us. We always thank the teachers for their utmost support to us. It wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t remind their students about our schedules.


This is the last week that we visited the schools. The second week of December is the schedule of Christmas parties. We brought some worksheets about Math and English for Grade 3 and 4 students (they are the only present grade levels in school). After answering and checking their answers, we congratulated them for the job well done this year. They greeted us in return. We told them that we will be back next year with more activities. They are all happy to know that we will still visit them once a week. The bond that we formed with these students has become so strong that we are considered part of their progress in academics.


Before the year ends, we conducted an evaluation of our projects in schools. This is to determine the success and impact of our projects in schools. We prepared the evaluation forms, the same as last year. During our last visit in school this year, we asked some of the teachers to answer the evaluation form. After they finished answering the form, we interviewed them about our projects. We are happy to receive good feedback from them. They also told us that we are part of the students’ success this year and they are hoping to have us again next year. We told them that we are honored to work with them and that our projects will continue in their school.


Before the year ends, we also visited two of our Sewing Project beneficiaries. We checked their sewing machine, and we also asked them how the machines helped them. Mrs. Zenie told us that she has no confidence in sewing bedding and clothing, but she can repair minor damages. Some parts of her machine were malfunctioning, so she could only repair their family’s clothes. However, Mrs. Jinky is a certified sewer, and her mother owns a small sewing shop. She works there but uses a different heavy-duty machine. When they can’t finish their projects in their shop, she brings them home and uses the GFF HELPS sewing machine to continue. They are happy about our visit, and they are proud to show their work to us. We will visit the remaining women once the holidays are over. We received news that they are spending the holidays with their families, but they said that they will inform us next year so we can pay a visit.


The Philippine Team compiled all the Monthly Newsletter to came up an Annual Report along with the heartful message for Sir Owen.We expressed how thankful we are for all the support that the Philippines have been receiving since 2018. They have been a great instrument of hope to my countrymen. Attached are the cards that were handmade by the children and teachers from our school partners.They were very grateful for all the projects we had here at schools and they are hoping that we could continue our projects with them in the coming year 2024. We then created a collage of all the photos and cards so that it would be in one small artbook, with all the messages and photos of each sender. We printed the cover pages with the sender and recipients so that it would be easier for us and the courier to track. We sent separately the cards and reports for Sir Owen Glenn, Madam Jen Connah, Mr. Chris Rumore, Mr. James Keir via DHL Courier and Mr. David Mackintosh and Mr. James Long via Philippines’ Post Office.


We successfully conducted the Basics in Effective Leadership Webinar for the GFF HELPS International Team to share the things that we learn from the Weminar we attended here in the Philippines last November 10th, Friday evening., 2023.

This webinar was actually conducted by a Private Educator, MSTConnect and Stef and I were approved by Sir Saom to attend. It was actually a 3-hour webinar which happened last November night, via ZOOM, and it was attended by less than 100 Filipino professionals all over the Philippines and Stef and I were able to gain something from it and we told sir Saom that we could give the whole GFF HELPS Team the gist of it. This was actually intended to teachers, young and leaders that are new in the Project Team or company.

On 21st December, atleast 12 participated, together with all the GFF Representatives, Volunteers and Interns and guests, during the 1-hour webinar, everyone was encouraged to express themselves. We prepared some activities for everyone to think of and each country contributed ideas for us to know every country’s setting. Because we differ from everything, we have different culture, language, work ethics and all.

From the kind of family we were raised, from the kind of government we have, from the kind of school we had, we are socially different and as well our mindsets .. But our heart has one common goal when we started to volunteer here at GFF HELPS. Because we are also envisioning Sir Owen’s vision and mission. And through this webinar, we can get ideas on how to effectively lead each country.



On 9th of December, Saturday, LPG Gas awareness safety program was held at Pudung SOGG Learning center. The program was held to generate awareness around safety measures one take while using the LPG Gas and Stove. Since a large number of people living in the rural village do not fully know all the mechanics of the LPG Gas, the program was very informative and productive. The residents of the village were very happy and grateful to be able to receive such a workshop in their village. The resource person was from David Gas Kalimpong and we were extremely lucky to have them agree to hold this awareness workshop again. Through the workshop we hope that the residents were able to get answers for their doubts preventing any mishaps at their homes.


One of the major areas GFF Helps works in is Skill Development as it enables a person to become more independent and increase their knowledge. GFF Helps India decided to hold a baking workshop at Bong, Pudung and Chibbo Village. Our resource person was Mr. Devi Ram Rai from Darjeeling who is a chef in trekking companies and has many years of experience. As baking requires many expensive utensils that are not available in many households, in our workshop the women were taught how to bake in a traditional and easy way using utensils present in each and every household.

This is what made our Baking Workshop very unique and accessible to all. Mr. Devi Ram taught the women how to bake cake, banana pie, pizza and spring rolls. The women were very happy to be able as they now learned that such items could be prepared easily at home. This made them more enthusiastic and paid their full interest in the baking workshop. There were around more than 50 participants in all the three day workshop, so the impact of this program was quite large as well.


Christmas is the time of joy and sharing love therefore it is also known as one of the happiest holidays. Every year GFF Helps India celebrates Christmas with our dear children of Bal Suraksha Abhiyan. This year too on 23rd of December the yearly Christmas celebration was held. We took a lovely Christmas cake for the children and also provided packet lunch for all the children, respected sisters and staff of Bal Suraksha Abhiyan. All of us gathered at the hall and sang wonderful Christmas songs and then the youngest children came forward to cut the cake. Our Project Director Mr. Saom Tshering Namchu also spoke about Sir. Owen and his love towards the young children. We ended the program by distributing the cake and wishing everyone of a wonderful Christmas.


Adult Literacy is an ongoing educational program that started from October 2nd 2023, with its orientation class held on September 26, 2023 and has reached its second month on December 26th 2023. Due to the month-long national holiday in Nepal, for the festival of Dashain and Tihar, the classes stopped. We continued the regular classes from November 27, 2023. From then, three to seven women participated in the program on a daily basis, all of whom come from the women’s school under Ward no. 12 of Budhanilkantha Municipality. The program was led by GFF Helps Nepal, whereby the teach the women group the basic alphabets of English in both capital and small letters.

On December 18 and 19, 2023, the seventh and eighth week, we prepared Meta Cards using chart papers and wrote individual capital and small alphabets. We introduced an activity named “Arranging the letters alphabetically through meta cards” and it was hugely successful with a total of five participants that week. The main goal of introducing this activity was to induce visual learning and stimulate their brain functioning. As a picture speaks a thousand words, and promotes memorization, this activity was successful to meet the goal. It also brought them together when they were divided into teams while also engaging thoroughly in this group activity. Hence, this activity and the regular classes helped them in recognizing the letters individually and also correct the other team members if they didn’t place the alphabets in order.


From November 30, 2023, GFF Helps Nepal started planning on making Christmas Cards and our annual report. The following week, we started making Christmas cards using colored papers and chart papers. We also coordinated with the students of Shree Balkumari School, Kapan to make cards for Sir Owen, Ms. Jen Connah, Mr. Chris Rumore, Mr. David Mackintosh and Mr. James Long. Since a beautiful festival was on the way, GFF Helps Nepal as well as the entire team of GFF Helps wanted to wish our supporting pillars on the occasion. We wanted to express our gratitude for supporting us on our attempts to give help to those in need, and let them know that their help has reached many homes and hearts. On December 10, 2023, we made three physical copies of the GFF Helps Nepal Annual Report 2023. We completed sending off the Christmas cards and the annual report via courier and post office services on the final week of December 2023.


We are continuously supporting our partner organization as per their need. This December, we engaged in assisting the health clinic. We assisted her in technical aspects as well, like helping her to create a first-aid box, documenting it on our devices and keeping a record of it on Google Drive. We also helped her in creating physical documents and proof-reading the physical documents of the list of visitors for the month.

Whenever the health clinic in-charge Mrs. Samikshya Tiwari was absent or busy in the daycare we would inform her about the patient and co-ordinate if we can provide some immediate relief. Otherwise, we assisted the patients with certain treatments such as putting ointment on the hand injuries, putting bandages, cleaning the wounded area, and providing medicines as per the instruction of Mrs. Samikshya. supported her in the clinic. Usually, the students of Balkumari school and people from the local community come to seek treatment.



We are continuously supporting our partner organization as per their need. This December, we engaged in assisting the health clinic. We assisted her in technical aspects as well, like helping her to create a first-aid box, documenting it on our devices and keeping a record of it on Google Drive. We also helped her in creating physical documents and proof-reading the physical documents of the list of visitors for the month.

The prevailing economic crisis in Sri Lanka has triggered a swift and alarming increase in vegetable prices, presenting a critical challenge to the accessibility of affordable and nutritious food for a significant portion of the population. This unfolding situation not only places individual households under considerable strain but also exposes community health and overall well-being. The economic hardships have resulted in a risky situation where many individuals face difficulties in affording essential vegetables, compromising nutritional security. As the need for urgent intervention becomes apparent, a viable solution emerges in the form of a sustainable home garden project. Such an initiative holds the potential to empower individuals, diminish dependence on fluctuating market prices, and strengthen food security and empower them economically by selling the excess.

In a laudable initiative, GFF HELPS Sri Lanka has taken strides to provide invaluable English language education to underprivileged children in rural areas. This program, conducted twice a week without any financial burden on the participants, is meticulously designed to cultivate essential language skills listening, speaking, reading, and writing in these young learners. The core aim is to bridge educational disparities prevalent in rural communities and equip students with a comprehensive set of tools to enhance their overall language proficiency. By adopting a holistic approach that covers all aspects of language development, including effective communication and text comprehension, these sessions not only impart language skills but also foster a well-rounded language learning experience. Beyond linguistic capabilities, this initiative holds the promise of empowering children to broaden their horizons and seize new opportunities, recognizing the significant role English proficiency plays in the globalized landscape.


A weekly mobile library initiative unfolds in Ekiriyagala, catering specifically to rural students. The primary objective is to instill a passion for reading English storybooks among these young learners. This mobile library, a recurrent event, seeks to bring the world of literature closer to the students, fostering not only a love for reading but also an engagement with the English language. Through this ongoing effort, the aim is to cultivate a habit of exploration and discovery through the pages of diverse stories, enhancing the students’ language skills and overall cognitive development. In essence, the mobile library stands as a beacon of knowledge and imagination, reaching out to the rural students of Ekiriyagala with the transformative power of literature.

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Parents Awareness Program on Child Development

To celebrate the children’s day on 1st October GFF HELPS Sri Lanka coordinated, an Awareness program for parents on Child development at SANASA Campus on September 27th 2023. Ms. Geethanjali Kaluarachchi, Graduate on Psychology and Mediation Officer at Yatinuwara DSD conducted the program as the resource person. In recent times, Sri Lanka has witnessed a concerning rise in the harm faced by children, largely attributed to their addiction to mobile phones. This issue has reached a critical crisis, with five tragic cases of student suicides directly linked to phone addiction. A significant contributing factor to this problem lies in the declining parent-child relationships in the country. The role of parent in guiding and nurturing their children is vital, yet these crucial connections are weakening, leaving children vulnerable and unhappy.

At the heart of the matter is the pressing concern of worried relationships between parents and their children. This friction is causing significant interruptions to the growth and well-being of Sri Lanka’s youth. To address this issue effectively, GFF Sri Lanka coordinated an awareness program to enlighten parents about the vital importance of building strong bonds with their children. The program covered essential aspects of early child development, including mental, physical, emotional, social, language, and motor skills. It stressed the importance of nurturing discipline over punitive measures, allowing children independence, refraining from depreciating minor mistakes, and maintaining open communication for a friendly relationship. Furthermore, the program addressed phone addiction and its signs, such as anxiety, declining academics, social withdrawal, anger, reduced cognitive capacity, inattention, and disrupted sleep. To combat this issue, parents were advised to encourage alternative activities, avoid using phones as rewards, supervise usage, and set passwords.

Awareness program on Breast Cancer

Since October 19th was World Breast Cancer Prevention Day, GFF HELPS Sri Lanka co-ordinated a breast cancer awareness Program for rural community women on 20th October 2023. Mrs. T.N Maithreepala, Nursing Officer of Kegalle Hospital conducted the program.

The aim of our initiative was to empower the women of Ekiriyagala with comprehensive knowledge and awareness about breast cancer prevention and early detection during the month of October. During the program she educated women in Ekiriyagala about the importance of breast cancer prevention and early detection. She raised awareness regarding the risk factors associated with breast cancer and dispel any misconceptions. She promoted the significance of regular breast self-examinations and clinical screenings and encouraged women to seek timely medical attention if they detect any potential breast abnormalities.

A booklet on early breast cancer detection and prevention was distributed to participants with the aim of raising awareness within the broader community as well.

English for Village

GFF HELPS Sri Lanka has undertaken a commendable initiative by offering free English language education for underprivileged children residing in rural areas. These educational sessions are conducted twice a week and are entirely cost-free, designed to empower these students with valuable skills that encompass listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the English language.

The primary objective of these sessions is to bridge the educational gap that often exists in rural communities and to provide students with the tools to enhance their language proficiency. By focusing on all aspects of language development – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – these sessions offer a holistic approach to English language learning, ensuring that students can communicate effectively and comprehend written texts.

This initiative is not only about imparting language skills but also about empowering children with the means to broaden their horizons and opportunities. English proficiency is often a valuable asset in the globalized world, opening doors to better education, employment prospects, and overall personal development.

English Language Day for Kids

At Akiriyagala Preschool, an innovative approach to English language learning is adopted, which includes practicing English songs and simple dramas. These activities are designed to engage and captivate the young students, with the ultimate goal of organizing an English Language Day.

By incorporating English songs, students have the opportunity to learn the language in a fun and memorable way. Singing along to songs can improve their pronunciation and vocabulary while making the learning process enjoyable.

Incorporating simple dramas is an excellent way to encourage students to apply what they’ve learned in a practical context. It not only enhances their language skills but also boosts their confidence and public speaking abilities.

Akiriyagala Preschool’s approach to English language education, through songs and drama, not only facilitates learning but also fosters a love for the language among young students, setting them on a path to become confident and proficient English speakers in the future.

Drama Club

GFF HELPS Sri Lanka hosts a weekly drama club as a dynamic approach to generate enthusiasm for learning the English language. This innovative initiative serves as an engaging platform for participants to explore English in a creative and interactive way, fostering a deeper interest in language acquisition.

Through drama activities, students can improve their language skills in a fun and immersive environment. They have the opportunity to practice speaking, listening, and even acting out scenarios in English, all while enjoying the process. The drama club not only enhances their language proficiency but also boosts their confidence and communication abilities.

By incorporating drama into their language learning journey, GFF HELPS Sri Lanka is making English education more engaging and accessible for its participants, thereby creating a positive impact on their language development and overall educational experience.

Art sessions

GFF Sri Lanka’s weekly art sessions for Yusuko Ono preschool students lasting one hour have had a deep impact on the children’s creativity and their love for nature. These sessions provide a unique opportunity for young minds to explore their artistic potential. By engaging in various art activities, the students have discovered their innate creativity and developed a strong connection with the natural world. The hands-on experience of creating art has fostered a deep appreciation for the beauty of the environment, leading to greater awareness and a desire to protect it. GFF SriLanka’s commitment to these art sessions has helped instill a lifelong passion for both artistic expression and the preservation of our planet in these young students. Through this weekly initiative, GFF Sri Lanka is sowing the seeds of creativity and environmental stewardship, ensuring a brighter and more environmentally conscious future.

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World Elderly Day Celebration

October 1st is celebrated as the World Elderly Day each year to celebrate all the senior citizens, and acknowledge their contributions to our society. The UN has declared the present decade (2021-2030) as the decade of healthy ageing, which is aligned to the SDG goals of ensuring improvement of lives of older people. GFF Helps India, observed this day by celebrating it with the senior citizens of all the three villages of Pudung, Chibbo and Bong. We started the event by offering them with traditional dhaka khadas to pay our respect to them and celebrated the day by cutting cakes holding a fun quiz competition. The children also got to learn a lot from the elders about the culture and history of the place through the quiz competition. The elderly people were very happy as it was the first-time celebrating World Elderly Day which made them feel honoured and special.

Art Therapy Workshop

Engaging children in art has many benefits for their healthy development and creative expression. GFF Helps India conducted an Art Therapy Workshop at Pudung SOGG Learning and Information centre on 7th of October. The resource for the workshop was Miss Achal Agarwal who specialises in Art Therapy and has worked with many schools and Kalimpong Police Department as well. Through this workshop Miss Achal taught the children how art can bring physical, mental and emotional stability which can enhance patience and one’s focus.

The children learned how to use different kinds of paints and materials to create art. A vital part of this workshop was to show children how playing with colors helps in generating happiness and bringing calmness within oneself.

Children’s Safety & SA Awareness Program

Ensuring a safe environment for children is an utmost priority and responsibility of a society. Young kids are vulnerable and therefore it is very important to educate them about the laws protecting them and how and where to seek help. On 14th of October we held the “Childrens Safety & SA Awareness Program”, at Bong SOGG Learning and Information centre. Both the parents and children from Deorali, Lower Bong village attended the program. We were very lucky to have Miss Manju Rai from Bal Suraksha Abhiyan (BSA) as the resource person. The children were made aware about the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and about various cyber crimes taking place. Miss Manju also explained the parents about the importance of creating a friendly environment for children as it helps creating a sense of safety and trust in their relationship. The children were taught about good touch and bad touch and how there is no shame in asking for help. Miss Manju addressed all the queries that the children had in their minds. Awareness around children’s safety and SA is very important as it helps the children be informed, protect themselves and seek help.

GLOF (Glacial Lake Outburst Flood) Relief Work

On the morning of 4th of October, a very disastrous event took place in Sikkim and Kalimpong district. The South Lonak Lake (glacial Lake) burst, causing sudden rise in the water level of Teesta resulting in flash floods leading to massive destruction. GFF Helps India representative, Surabhi Subba volunteered in field assessment, relief distribution and visited the affected areas – Rangpo, Teesta, Bhalu Khola. Many people lost their family members, livelihood and houses. In such testing times, coming together as a community and helping each other is extremely necessary and GFF Helps India will continue to extend our support

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On 7th September Scrabble was introduced to over 50 eager students, alongside their English teachers, who have proven to be a valuable addition to their educational journey. This classic word game enhances vocabulary and spelling skills, fostering accurate communication. It also nurtures critical thinking and creativity, igniting their imaginations as they form meaningful words from a limited set of letters.

Active engagement in Scrabble has fostered increased confidence in the use of the English language among our students, leading to enhanced fluency and more polished articulation. Beyond these valuable academic gains, Scrabble serves as a platform for meaningful social interaction, enabling students to forge meaningful connections with their peers and teachers. Additionally, essential life skills, such as sportsmanship and resilience, will undoubtedly serve them well in their personal and academic journeys.

On the 6th of October, the final session of Scrabble was conducted, with nearly 20 students from Shree Balkumari participating. The winning student received a motivational reward in the form of a diary and a pen. Principal Indra Kumar Rai and Coordinator Bikash Sir delivered inspiring speeches, expressing gratitude to GFF for their timely support. Additionally, Mrs. Prachi Jain, the session facilitator, was recognized and appreciated with a token of love. This initiative transforms education into an enjoyable and memorable experience, equipping students with essential skills for academic success and real-world challenges.


With the generous support of GFF, Nepal actively engaged in the sign language project initiated by GFF Helps Philippines. Seven eager students from Shree Balkumari School, primarily teenagers, enthusiastically embraced the program. The essential materials for this initiative were thoughtfully provided, ensuring its effectiveness. Consequently, these students acquired the invaluable skill of sign language communication, enabling them to connect with individuals who rely on it in their daily lives.

The impact of the project was profound, empowering these students to communicate effectively through sign language. Their newfound ability allowed them to engage meaningfully with members of their community who depend on sign language. Beyond the practical benefits, the program also instilled empathy and a sense of inclusivity in the participants, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of diverse communication methods.

Furthermore, to honour their commitment and achievements, the active participants were presented with diaries, pens, and certificates, recognizing their dedication to this meaningful endeavour.


On August 25th, the Chess project was inaugurated with the primary aim of fostering critical thinking, bolstering student confidence, and encouraging self-belief, thereby allowing them to both harness their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Chess, a mentally demanding game requiring intense concentration, was chosen as the vehicle for these valuable life lessons, as every move made in the game parallels choices made in life. National-level chess player Shurshut Dahal initiated the program, which saw enthusiastic participation from seventy-six students in grades 7, 8, and 9, under the guidance of school coordinator Mr. Bikash and Principal Indra Bahadur Rai. Mr. Dahal began with motivational videos and chess techniques, capturing the students’ interest and igniting their enthusiasm.


An introductory session for women’s literacy classes was held on September 28 with the goal of empowering their learning experience. Literacy gives women the knowledge and skills they need to pursue work, participate in their communities, and make informed decisions. Adult literacy promotes gender equality by empowering women to stand up for themselves, take part in social and political life, and make contributions to the growth of gender equality and general societal advancement. In essence, adult literacy programs for women encourage empowerment, equality, and sustainable development by acting as a catalyst for good change. The class start date, the class times, and the participants’ areas of learning interest were only a few of the significant topics covered in this session.

A six-day adult literacy class has recently concluded with an encouraging turnout of nearly 18 women attending each day. These dedicated learners displayed remarkable enthusiasm and determination to acquire new knowledge, particularly when it came to English vocabulary. Over the course of the program, they not only learned to write their names in English but also significantly improved their pronunciation, making them more confident in discussing various locations in Kathmandu.

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October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Responsible hygiene also teaches kids good habits that they will benefit from for life. Children come into contact with germs every day. Proper handwashing can help stop the spread of many illnesses – from the common cold to more serious illnesses like hepatitis A. Oral hygiene, for instance, sets kids up to have good oral health into adulthood. We know how important these two things are to the children in schools who like to play and eat sweets. We purchased antibacterial soap and toothpaste for the handwashing and tooth-brushing activities in schools. We contacted the teachers to ask their students to bring their toothbrush, and they said yes. We did these activities in Sigcay Elementary School, Lapnag Primary School, and Polo Elementary School. We plan of doing this activity before starting our regular Remedial Class Projects. We are thankful for the support of teachers to make these activities successful. They also took pictures and notes to include in their documentation.


We are delighted with the successful outcome of the recent Sign Language Webinar that we did. We are grateful for our participants who are eager to learn the language of the deaf. We want to recognize their efforts by presenting a simple gift of appreciation. The GFF HELPS Philippines purchased a few school supplies for the two active participants in our country. Other country teams also presented their active participants with gifts and certificates. We delivered our gifts and certificates to Atasha and Rojelique’s houses. Their parents were proud of their new learnings and thanked us for the gifts. This webinar is one of the most successful events that we hosted including the other country teams. We made a video and a special report to narrate the story of how we prepared for the event itself and the post-activities. We are looking forward the phase 2 of this webinar.


The students in Lapnag Primary and Polo Elementary Schools are our regular recipients and participants of Chess and Scrabble games after every Remedial Classes. Our regular students are Level 4, 5, and 6 students. And they are continuously learning the techniques and strategies on how to play chess strategically. Children also knew how to create longer English words as they play the Scrabbles. This games were played into groups of 3 or 4 so that everyone could participate and they will have the chance to support and think as a group.



This school is our first school partner this school year. They are also included in the previous school partners that we had last school year. The Remedial Classes continue for Grades 2 and 3. The teachers have been very supportive of our activities, and the students were very excited every time we went there. As usual, we focus on literacy and seldom on numbers because they are mostly “struggling readers”. They have difficulty reading and spelling words in English, so we use English flashcards with eye-catching pictures. We never forget to compliment and reward them if they do well in the activity.


This school is also very close to us because it has been our school partner ever since GFF HELPS started here in the Philippines. The teachers knew all of the previous representatives and volunteers and never failed to support us in every activity for their school. This year, they are still with us, and we have developed a strong relationship with their students. Our Remedial Classes usually focus on reading for lower levels and answering varied worksheets for higher levels. If there’s a global celebration to observe, we discuss and provide activities for them related to that celebration. The teachers always include our activities in their reports.


This school year, we had a new school partner, Polo Elementary School. This school is the farthest of all our school partners. This is located in the heart of Polo Village and has a cozy ambiance. We have to travel by bus or jeep to reach this town. Our schedule is also at noon after the lunch break of the students. The teachers and the students welcomed us warmly. We are conducting Remedial Classes for students in Grade 2 to Grade 6. They were all labeled as “struggling readers” by their teachers.

We use Filipino and English words for reading and spelling. We usually make a spelling drill and reward them with stamps. Students are eager to learn and motivated by the stamps. They are always excited when they see us enter their school. The teachers were grateful for our presence, and they always prepare some snacks for us.


As the Team embark to a new town, and find what is the best for them, we planned on visiting the Seafood Capital of Aklan Province, the New Washington town, which is 10 kilometers from the GFF HELPS Office in Kalibo Town. It is in the Eastern part of Panay Island, facing Sibuyan Sea, hence always prone to flood and red tide. It is approximately 5 kilometers from the Kalibo International Airport. Transportation are often tricycles and multicabs, and mostly are routing to the Kalibo Town. The residents in this town are used to walking to the nearest Town Center, Town Market, Town Church. Their Municipal Mayor is Hon. Jessica R. Panambo with 16 village leaders coming from the different sub-barangays.

New Washington is known for being the main producers of seafood, dried fish, shellfish, where many restaurants in Manila order shellfish and other seafood. Some areas are surrounded by human made fish tanks, oysters plantations and other shellfish, hence, it is an agricultural area, with the residents being either the owner or the fishermen/tenants of fishing boats while housewives tend to look for their children, they sell their husbands’ harvested fish, oysters, shellfish, and cooking fishball, barbecue, fried banana, cooked vegetables, and other street food for that could help them add for their daily needs.

The children are studying in a government-funded school, Mabilo and Tambak Elementary Schools, and New Washington Elementary School, and Comprehensive High School for middle school.

by Mr. JOHN BARRERA (Senior Hair Cutter/Hair Stylist)

Haircuttign seminar is the highlight this October. It was held last 23rd October and LP and Stef lead the program by introducing the GFF HELPS before the semianr started and giving of Certificates to John and the participants after the seminar.

The dropped out youth and adults was able to gain knowledge and ideas on haircutting for men and women through the help of John Barrera, a Senior Hairstylist in a Local Salon in Kalibo Town. He managed to talked about the trainings and seminars he had at the age of 18, he has been working in the field of haircutting and styling for 15 years now. He also talked about the different materials used in haircutting and the salary of every employee and part-timer. He also demonstrated how to cut male and female’ hair with the proper use of tools. The 19 participants really enjoyed and learnt at the same time. They are also askign about the next seminar that we would give them.

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On the 30th of October, Art Exhibition was held at Yusuko Ono Preschool, in collaboration with GFF Helps Sri Lanka. The respected Reverend Wimalaratana, Vice Chancellor of SANASA Campus, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. The presence of Dr. Kiriwandeniya, the Chancellor, and his wife, Mrs. Kiriwandeniya, added a touch of prestige to the event. SANASA Campus lecturers and the devoted parents of the preschoolers joined hands in support, creating a warm and encouraging atmosphere.

In the previous months, the young talents at the preschool had attentively poured their creativity into crafting remarkable pieces of art. The exhibition appeared as a grand stage for these budding artists to showcase their skills and imagination to a wider audience. It became a platform for them to unveil their talents to the world. As a token of appreciation, certificates were given upon each participant, acknowledging their contribution to the art exhibition. The joy that radiated from the students was intense, as many of them received certificates for the first time.

In a sign of gratitude, a Bluetooth speaker was presented to the preschool on behalf of the students, a thoughtful gift for future activities facilitated by GFF Helps. The ceremony continued with a mixture of fun, as the students presented dances and songs. The use of the Bluetooth speaker added an extra layer of novelty, enhancing the overall experience.

Expressions of thanks echoed through the preschool as students and teachers alike extended their gratitude to GFF for arranging a day filled with joy and appreciation. It was indeed a memorable day, celebrating the blossoming talents and the spirit of unity at Yusuko Ono Preschool.



English Language Day was organized by GFF Helps Sri Lanka at Akiriyagala Preschool on November 3rd. During this event, the focus was on celebrating and promoting the English language in a fun and interactive way. The day likely included various activities and programs aimed at engaging the preschoolers and fostering an interest in English. The principal of Akiriyagala School, The chairman of Akiriyagala SANASA society graced the occasion as chief guests. Parents and well-wishers also joined with us. The event involved Language games, songs and dramas perhaps even some basic language lessons to make learning English enjoyable for the young participants. Such initiatives help create a positive environment for language acquisition, laying the foundation for future language skills.

English Language Day at Akiriyagala Preschool, facilitated by GFF Helps, likely contributed to creating a supportive and enriching educational experience for the children, emphasizing the importance of language development in their early years. A certificate was awarded to appreciate and acknowledge the participation of the students. This recognition likely served as a way to encourage and commend the efforts of those involved, fostering a sense of achievement and motivation.



The initiative aimed at underprivileged children in Akiriyagala and Paragammana, directed by GFF Sri Lanka, is a transformative educational attempt conducted twice a week, spanning over two days to ensure a consistent and impactful learning experience. The program is exactly structured with a well-rounded curriculum that covers the essential language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. These activities are thoughtfully designed to create a comprehensive language learning environment, offering a balanced and immersive approach to language acquisition.

One of the program’s distinctive features is its strong emphasis on enhancing grammar and vocabulary through a variety of engaging exercises. By incorporating diverse learning methods, the program not only helps students gain proficiency in English but also facilitates a deeper understanding and appreciation for the language. The carefully created activities aim to make the learning process both enjoyable and effective, fostering a positive attitude towards language acquisition.

One of the program’s distinctive features is its strong emphasis on enhancing grammar and vocabulary through a variety of engaging exercises. By incorporating diverse learning methods, the program not only helps students gain proficiency in English but also facilitates a deeper understanding and appreciation for the language. The carefully created activities aim to make the learning process both enjoyable and effective, fostering a positive attitude towards language acquisition. Beyond language skills, the program reflects GFF Sri Lanka’s commitment to the holistic development of these rural children. The thoughtful design of the program goes beyond the conventional methods of language instruction, demonstrating a dedication to empowering young learners for a brighter future. It recognizes the unique needs of underprivileged children and addresses them through a program that not only imparts language proficiency but also encourages a sense of confidence, curiosity, and a love for learning.

GFF Sri Lanka’s dedication to the education of these underprivileged children is evident in the thoughtful design of the program, reflecting a commitment to breaking down barriers to education and providing a pathway for these young learners to overcome challenges and succeed in their academic journey. This initiative stands as a ideal of hope, illustrating how education can be a powerful tool for empowerment and positive transformation in the lives of underprivileged youth.


The weekly Drama Club for the students of Akiriyagala serves as a dynamic platform aimed at cultivating essential communication skills and fostering a sense of confidence in using the English language. Held once a week, this initiative is a dedicated effort to create an engaging and interactive space where students can freely express themselves through the medium of drama. The primary objective of the Drama Club is to provide students with a creative outlet that not only makes learning English enjoyable but also encourages them to overcome inhibitions and express themselves with confidence.

During the sessions, students actively participate in practicing simple dramas, demonstrating an enthusiastic approach to the creative process. These drama exercises serve as a practical and immersive way for students to apply and reinforce their language skills in real-life scenarios. Through the portrayal of characters, dialogues, and storylines, students not only enhance their linguistic abilities but also develop a deeper understanding of the distinctions of the English language in a appropriate setting.

Furthermore, the Drama Club contributes significantly to building the students’ confidence in using English fluently. By engaging in dramatic performances, students learn to articulate their thoughts, ideas, and emotions effectively, breaking down communication barriers and gaining a sense of accomplishment. This holistic approach to language learning not only enhances their language proficiency but also instills valuable life skills that extend beyond the boundaries of the classroom. The Drama Club stands as a evidence to the commitment to providing a well-rounded and engaging educational experience for the students of Akiriyagala, empowering them to navigate the world with confidence and proficiency in the English language.


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Art Therapy Workshop at Teesta Primary School

Ever since the GLOF (Glacial Lake Outburst Flood) occurred, GFF Helps has been providing unceasing assistance to the victims. One of the hardest-hit regions is the Teesta Valley, where many people have been displaced and are currently living in rehabilitation camps. This time GFF Helps India decided to host an art therapy workshop at Teesta Primary School on November 9th. Miss Aachal Agarwal, a full-time artist with experience working with numerous government departments, served as the resource person for the day. We had previously worked with her at the Pudung SOGG Learning and Information Center, where we had performed the identical session. The young kids were taught coloring and line drawing, which is supposed to improve focus and concentration. Through mixing the vivid hues, the kids encountered the restorative quality that art bestows. The children were able to feel delight and let go of their despair during such trying moments.

Childrens Day Program at SOGG Learning and Information Center

India celebrates its Childrens Day on the occasion of our first Prime Minister Jawarhal Lal Nehrus’s birthday on 14th of November. He was affectionately known by kids as “Chacha Nehru,” and he was a strong advocate for providing kids with an adequate education. Children’s Day is observed in India as a way to raise awareness of children’s welfare, rights, and education. This year GFF Helps India hosted the Childrens Day Celebration at all the three SOGG Learning & Information centers in Bong, Chibbo and Pudung, where there are 108 students at present. As the children’s final examinations are approaching soon, we decided to gift them with all the essential stationary set for their exams. As a gesture of respect for one another, all of the learning center teachers gave their students gifts during the joyous Diwali celebrations that were also taking place at the same time.

GLOF Relief Distribution at Bhalu Khola, Melli

On October 4, 2023, the South Lhonak glacier in Sikkim saw a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) that destroyed several homes, buildings, people, and animals that were residing along the banks of the Teesta River. Helping those affected by the GLOF, SOGG Saichik Welfare Society and GFF Helps have been visiting all affected locations on a regular basis. On 18th of November SOGG Saichik Welfare Society distributed relief materials to the Church Jiwit Jal Upasnalaya and the Samaj Jan Pragatishil, of Bhalu Khola Melli. The relief items contained silverwares, gas burners, chairs, spoons, serving spoons, steel glasses and pressure cookers. GFF Helps India Local Representative Surabhi Subba volunteered in this GLOF Relief distribution drive. All the members of SOGG Saichik welfare society along with our Project Director, Mr. Saom Namch were also present. The residents of Bhalu Khola, Melli, were very happy to receive all the donated supplies, thanking everyone who helped them at this critical time.

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Waste management is of paramount importance for several compelling reasons. It safeguards public health and the environment by preventing the spread of diseases, reducing pollution, and conserving valuable resources. Proper waste disposal and recycling practices mitigate the harmful impacts of waste on air, water, and soil quality, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and liveable planet. Furthermore, efficient waste management systems can generate economic opportunities, create jobs, and stimulate innovation in recycling and waste-to-energy technologies, aligning environmental responsibility with economic growth. Waste management is an essential cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future for all.

The Waste Management program was done on the 5th of November 2023, sixteen total women participated in the session and actively took part in the discussion, the program was facilitated by Mr. Sharad Neupane who also worked on different social projects for Budhanilkhantha Municipality. The program was shortly started after an introduction where Mr. Neupane briefed all the women about the negative impact of using plastic and burning it.


Literate women have the knowledge and abilities necessary to seek careers, engage in community life, and make wise judgments. By giving women the confidence to advocate for themselves, participate in social and political life, and contribute to the promotion of both gender equality and society at large, adult literacy helps to advance gender equality. Adult literacy programs for women essentially operate as a catalyst for positive change, promoting equality, empowerment, and sustainable development. Among the important subjects discussed in this session were the start date of the class, the times of the classes, and the participants’ areas of interest in learning. These committed adult women showed incredible energy and a strong desire to learn new things, especially when it came to vocabulary in English. They greatly enhanced their pronunciation during the training and learned how to write their names in English, which gave them greater confidence while talking about other parts of Kathmandu. They have also made significant progress in knowing the names of the days, understanding Sunday and Monday in particular. Observing their excitement and advancement in acquiring new abilities has been quite fulfilling. By providing them with essential knowledge and skills, literacy programs for women are a transforming endeavor that ultimately boosts their self-assurance and independence. Women can access better economic prospects and significantly increase their family’s income and overall financial stability by developing their reading and writing skills. Education also promotes gender equality and advances the rights of women in society by challenging and dismantling rigid gender norms. Additionally, literacy has a tremendous impact on raising women’s health knowledge and empowering them to make wise decisions regarding their own and their families’ welfare. The advantages go beyond the individual because educated women actively participate in social advancement and communal development, which strengthens the fundamental foundation of their communities. In the end, these initiatives have the potential to create a ripple effect, as literate mothers are more likely to encourage their children’s education, setting the stage for a brighter and more prosperous future for all generations.


Since every move played in the mentally taxing game of chess replicates a decision made in real life, it was chosen as the vehicle for these important life lessons. Seventy-six kids in grades 7, 8, and 9 enthusiastically participated in the program, which was started by national-level chess player Sushruth Dahal. Mr. Bikash, the school coordinator, and Principal Indra Bahadur Rai provided supervision. Mr. Dahal captivated the pupils’ attention and sparked their passion right away with inspirational movies and chess strategies.

The dates of the second and third sessions, which spanned four consecutive Fridays, were September 15 and October 6, respectively. Chess provides kids with several benefits, including improved critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategic planning abilities that support cognitive growth. Their focus, judgment, and the important traits of patience and endurance in the face of difficulties have all improved as a result of the game. It relieves stress, improves memory, and promotes strategic thinking. Chess also encourages social interaction, good sportsmanship, and the growth of critical time management abilities. The last session, which is slated for the third week of November, is expected to solidify the students’ passion for this strategy and mental acuity game while also enhancing their intellectual and life abilities.

Finally, on November 24, all children from grades 7, 8, and 9 participated actively in the final friendly competition session. Out of the more than 50 students, three were selected as the game’s champions, and GFF Helps Nepal gave them encouragement in the form of a journal and pen. Additionally, Mr. Dahal received a thank-you gift for affection and a thank-you speech in appreciation for his time and labor.

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We congratulate Lady Peace Remaneses for sharing her journey with us and we thank her with grateful heart!

This month marks my fourth year of being part of the GFF HELPS and the GFF HELPS Philippines – a non-religious and non-political organization that empowers vulnerable communities by providing them with sustainable access to their most basic needs.

All the projects are under the umbrella of HELPS – Health, Education, Livelihood, Personal & Professional Development and Skills sharing.

As the team leader, project manager and volunteer teacher, I initiate the planning/designing, implementing, accomplishing and evaluating short-term and long-terms projects, while working, communicating and collaborating with the school community, villages and authorities in the government and private organizations at the same time, with the help of our Asia Coordinator and Team – making everything fall into place – these must come with careful decision making and commitment, hence SMART.

These tasks require (1) physical strength as we tend to go from different town to another, walking in long distance, running errands, carrying these and those things (books, laptop, materials, etc);

(2) emotional strength as we face those people in need, listening carefully, showing empathy and sympathy with all the struggles they are facing – food scarcity, financial problems, sickness, etc. I always fight and hold my tears back whenever I witness other’s disadvantages;

(3) social readiness as we initiate meetings with the authorities (Mayors and Brgy. Captains, School Heads and Teachers, Doctors and Nurses, Police Officers, Guest Speakers, Parents, Participants, Students, and others – sealing and dealing agreements on certain projects;

(4) mental strength to cover, surpass the unexpected happenings and get ready with everything (project proposals, postponements, shortcomings, miscommunications, bad weather, accidents, deadlines, international meetings, oral and written reports, etc)

I am always grateful that my superiors and subordinates are all smart, supportive, trustworthy, responsible and committed – where we work as a team, even if we are in the different parts of the world.

Thank you, Sir Owen Glenn and Sir Saom for entrusting me with all of these projects and programs in Aklan, Philippines.

Thank you, Stef and Erica for volunteering and doing your part for the benefit of Aklanon children, youths and adults, and the whole community since 2021.

Thank you, Willyn, Ana, Leisle, Jem, Minket, Lisa for all your help in the past.

Thank you, Representatives and Volunteers in GFF HELPS Sri Lanka, GFF HELPS Nepal, GFF HELPS India for the hardwork and friendship.

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