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).

The event was attended by the chairman of the Ekiriyagala SANASA society, the school principal of Ekiriyagala School, and honored guests and parents. It highlighted the impressive progress and dedication of the participating students.

A special moment of pride unfolded as all participants in the drama ‘Nari Bena’ received well-deserved certificates, recognizing their contributions to the event.

The English for Village program, focusing on collaboration and cultural enrichment, continues to make significant paces. It is leaving a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of everyone involved.

We again successfully started the year with remedial classes for the students in different schools. We focus more on English and Mathematics. We have worksheets to improve their literacy and numeracy. In a group of students, there is always the top performer. The teachers will usually assign this student to lead the class and for peer coaching. We also do this by asking top students to help their classmates to answer the worksheets. We always encourage the students to do well and reinforce learning by providing stamps and stickers. This motivation does not attract higher levels already, but we always praise them for the job well done. Students like to be praised, and their confidence boosts when their works are appreciated.


We were informed in the first week of January that Sir Owen and Uncle Jimmy’s birthday are coming. We have to make birthday cards and send it to them. We earlier purchased materials like colored papers, stickers, and scrapbooks. During the start of the classes on the first week of January, we brought the materials to Lapnag Primary School. We told the students that they would write birthday messages and make birthday cards. They obediently followed the instructions that we told them. We compiled the cards and took photos of the children. We put all their cards and pictures in a scrapbook and designed it.

We finished the two scrapbooks for Sir Owen and Uncle Jimmy this month. We already sent the birthday cards to Uncle Jimmy on the third week of this month, and we are happy to know that he received them. We wish both of these amazing people the best for their special day!


As we move forward to 2024, we are looking forward to more sustainable programs for the GFF HELPS Philippines and the GFF HELPS Aklan Workers Association such as Sewing Project and other commercial project for the GFF HELPS to stand and sustain on its own in the near future. As we still continue our social works such as school projects for the children and seminars for the communities, we are also preparing for a change that would benefit a bigger scope in the future. The Philippines Team including Mr. Saom are currently creating and finding more ways to achieve this outlook. The very first thing we had in mind is the Phase 2 of the Sewing Project were the target participants and beneficiaries are the women from the GFF HELPS Aklan Workers Association to have the skills and the livelihood for the GFF HELPS to sustain and keep going in the coming years.

“To more sustainable projects for the GFF HELPS Aklan Workers Association that would help every individual gain knowledge, skills and livelihood.”


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. The students already know that they have to do this after our activities. This is also timely because they will eat their lunch afterward. They do this in their school’s outdoor sink. Sometimes, the school provides handwashing soap for the students, but we still bring our antibacterial soap. We always assist them to prevent wasting water and to play around. We are happy that it is already instilled in the minds of the children the importance of handwashing before eating.


We successfully started this year with the Sports Project. The students said that they missed playing the board games. We commended them for last year’s successful games and that we will continue this activity this year. The students are competitive, and they always aim to get high scores. We always encourage them to take it to the next level and improve more. We are planning to make a short quiz about Chess and Scrabble to test their learning.


Looking back in 2023, I had wondrous experience on being the bridge between Sir Owen Glenn, our benefactor, and the Philippines, my beloved country. Sir Owen’s generosity, love and support towards the Philippines especially to the whole community of the country’s oldest province, Aklan, have been a bridge for us Philippines Team to connect with the community with numerous project, seminars, social works and livelihood. I have met different people from all walks of life – doctors, mayors, leaders, teachers, indigenous people, economically challenged families, PWDs, dropped-out youth, and many more – to whom inspired me to create valuable and beneficial projects for them. With the guidance of our Asia Coordinator, Mr. Saom and the support of the country’s volunteer Stef and Intern Erica, everything had went smoothly and successfully.

As we enter 2024, I adhere to continue the service to the Philippines, whether at school, villages, and various communities – in partnership with different government agencies. I am also looking forward to more sustainable projects for the GFF HELPS Aklan Workers Association that would help every individual gain knowledge, skills and livelihood and to which it could sustain upcoming projects for the benefit of the members of the Workers’ Association. It is always my utmost honor and pride to work as the country’s representative since 2019.

“To more community to help, uplift and cherish.”

By Lady Peace Remaneses, LPT, Representative

“Last year left me with numerous cherished moments that will shape my journey into 2024.”

By Stifhany A. Salvador, GFF HELPS Philippines Volunteer

Reflecting on 2023, it’s a challenge to capture all my experiences on paper, but if I had to choose one word, it would be “memorable.” School activities held a special place in my heart. As a Licensed Professional Teacher turned social worker, these engagements brought me closer to my profession. I’m grateful for the opportunities and the wonderful people I encountered.

Last year left me with numerous cherished moments that will shape my journey into 2024. While I have private plans for personal growth this year, I am particularly hopeful that the GFF HELPS projects will persist and impact more lives in diverse places.

A heartfelt thank you goes to Sir Owen, his family, and all those involved in the project, especially our Asia Coordinator Mr. Saom. Being part of this team is a blessing, and I look forward to contributing my utmost to elevate the project to new heights.

In 2023, I had the privilege of interning with the GFF HELPS Philippines team for over a year, and it has been a truly enriching experience. Engaging with children of various ages and behaviors brought me genuine happiness and countless memorable moments. The diversity of the students, from their happy faces to their mischievous antics, made every activity enjoyable and impressive. Witnessing their simultaneous learning and enjoyment was heartening. One unforgettable highlight was the genuine politeness and care the students exhibited when addressing us as teachers. Their warm greetings, like “Hello/Hi teacher,” “Good morning/Good afternoon,” and even offering to carry our bags, were deeply touching. These moments made the challenges of long travels, time spent, and teaching efforts all worthwhile. The students’ smiles and kindness acted as a therapeutic balm, bringing relief to both mind and body. As I look forward to 2024, I am excited about the prospect of continuing my internship and gaining new experiences, skills, and knowledge to share with the students. I want to express my sincere gratitude to Sir Owen Glenn, the GFF HELPS team, Sir Saom, and my mentors, Teacher Peace and Teacher Stef, for their continuous guidance throughout this teaching and learning journey. Here’s to another year of achievements for us all!

“Engaging with children of various ages and behaviors
brought me genuine happiness and countless memorable moments.”

By Baby Erica J. Zonio, Philippines Team Intern


Trekking Trip to Puchey Dara

On 5th of January Bong SOGG Learning centre held its inception of the Annual Winter Camp. For the opening, the children from the Learning centre were taken for a trek which started from their village in Deorali. The trek then continued to Puchey Dara where the children were given some refreshments. There the children along with the guardians and teachers of Bong SOGG Learning centre also picked up sweet wrappers and plastics thrown carelessly by visitors. We have always voiced our strong stance for a cleaner environment with proper disposal of waste and it was really wonderful to see our children follow it through in everyday life. GFF Helps provided the ID Cards to all of the students for the trek. The trek then continued till Upper Comsi, the lower Comsi and finally ended at the Bong Learning Centre. The students were told to take notes during the trek as an essay writing competition will be held which will be based on the trekking trip.

The Winter Camp that is held every year in all the three SOGG Learning centres. The main objective of the Winter Camp is to held the students use the free time to learn new skills and gain knowledge before the start of a fresh academic year. The trekking trip was a very healthy and refreshing way to start the Winter Camp in Bong SOGG Learning centre.


Art Workshop at Chibbo SOGG

GFF Helps India held an Art Workshop with the children of Chibbo SOGG Learning centre on 16th of January. The resource person for the Art Workshop was our new intern Miss Sweta Rai. The students indulged in the process of art making and learned how to understand the deeper meaning of art. The students were taught how to use water colors and make cute flower illustrations and butterfly book marks. We at GFF Helps constantly conduct such Art Workshops be it Art Therapy, Grassroot comics as we truly believe that it helps our students develop and explore their creativity which then further aids in their overall wellbeing and helps them to express their thoughts better. The children very much enjoyed the process of expressing their favourite things through drawings and playing with colours.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Phones Awareness Program at Bong SOGG

On 12th of January GFF Helps India conducted a for the Awareness Program on the Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Phones at Bong SOGG Learning centre. This awareness program was especially requested by the guardians of the learning centre and many of them attended this program as well. GFF Helps Representative Surabhi Subba was the resource person for the day and she was accompanied by our intern Sweta Rai. Surabhi has prepared a PPT for the awareness program which contained all the important points and also showed videos that held strong messages about the harm that addiction to mobile phones can cause to young children. This awareness program was mainly for our young students as it is extremely necessary to make them aware about how one can make good utilization of mobile phones if used with caution and guidance from adults. Or it can also cause harmful effects if used without proper guidance and in excess. The program ended with a question answer session, where Surabhi cleared any doubts and queries. The guardians and children paid their best attention during the program.

Science Project Day 1 at Bong SOGG

Science experiments are a type of scientific investigation that seeks to answer a question by observing and experimenting Using hands-on experiments to teach a subject to kids is one of the most creative ways to pique their interest. Children learn best from practical experiments rather than theoretical concepts. Not only can practical experiments be entertaining, but they also aid in enhancing the skills required for a career in the future. GFF Helps India decided to engage the students of Bong SOGG Learning centre in the Science Project which was conducted in two phases. The First Phase was conducted on 20th of January, Saturday and the Second Phase was conducted on 22nd of January, Monday. The students conducted experiments and learned about illusions and made 3D glasses. In the Phase 2 session the children learned about the different properties of air by conducting experiments where they made hit hair balloon and used shiny cards to hold the water inside the glass. Our intern, Sweta Rai and all the teachers and coordinator of Bong SOGG Learning centre were present and helped the students with their experiments. Through the Science project the students gained knowledge through doing various experiments as they were really able to understand better than just studying it from the textbooks.

12th Pass Movie Presentation at Pudung
SOGG Learning centre

The children of Pudung SOGG Learning centre were shown a recently released movie called 12th Fail at the Learning centre. The movie is a real-life story of a boy from a very rural village in India who overcame many barriers and became an IPS Officer which is one of the highest rank officers in India. The movie screening was done on 22nd of December and all the students were every excited to watch it. The movie screening was especially requested by the area coordinator of Pudung. The movie conveyed good messages such as hard work and determination is the key to success and cheating/lying is a short cut that will not reap much benefits in the future. The children will be asked to write an essay on the movie and what they learned from it. The movie was truly motivating and moved the hearts of all of us.



Adult Literacy is an ongoing educational program for the two women group of the community of Kapan, that has reached its third month on January 26, 2024. The classes were extended from two days a week to three days a week from the second week of January 2024. The regular number of attendees went from five to eight people. By the third week, the total number of attendees were eleven. We follow-up with the beneficiaries who were absent to ensure that they resume their classes as soon as possible.

We taught them how to write the English alphabets in capital and small letters, both individually and side-by-side. We also taught them how to write the English days of the week, English months of the year as well as the English spelling of the Nepali months, and the spelling of their acquainted places like their hometown.

To give them a visual learning experience, we also introduced activities like ‘Days of the Week Spinning Wheel’ including the arrows showing yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The mothers were asked which day it was and they’d spin the wheel to adjust and display the day. We also introduced ‘Alphabet Tracing Board’ where the mothers were guided on how to place the letters in alphabetical order in the board.

By the final week of the month, we separated the mothers into different groups according to what they were learning, such as some were learning the alphabets and some were learning the English months.

We had two new mothers join the classes. We also distributed the stationery items of copies, pencils, erasers, and sharpeners to all of them. We also gave them chocolates as a form of appreciation for their participation and efforts to invest themselves in learning.

Also, our regular beneficiaries helped each other as well as the newcomers with their learning. This promoted their teamwork, friendship, and created a positive learning environment for everyone. Their initial response of feeling helpless about their learning pace met with positive motivation from their peers.


On January 8, 2024, ‘Art Project’ was conducted in a group setting where students of Grade 6, 7, 8 of Shree Balkumari School created an artwork to be displayed in their respective classrooms. We started with our introduction with each other and then divided the students into two groups with five students in each group. The GFF Helps Nepal Representatives took the lead of each group. The theme was decided to be ‘winter’, where the two teams would brainstorm, take reference with the representatives’ support and create their artwork.

The two groups also named themselves as ‘Team Lovely’ and ‘Team Ice’. They used chart papers, A4 papers, colored pen, scissors, water color, painting color, and color pencils to create it. The main objective of the ‘Art Project’ is to explore the students’ creative potential while also boosting critical thinking, communication within a group setting and to encourage self-expression all the while enjoying the process.


With a head start, on 12th January, we prepared birthday cards for Sir Owen. We prepared two cards with the help of Nabina Miss from CDS, one from GFF Helps Nepal and another one from Child Development Society. In coordination with the students of Shree Balkumari School, Kapan and Srijanshil Rehabilitation & Special Education School for the Disabled, Naikap, we made more birthday cards for him. We also created an e-birthday card for Sir James Keyir on 16th January from the GFF Helps Nepal Team. This gesture of a birthday card is not just a wish for his birthday but also a way to express our appreciation for his support towards GFF Helps Nepal, because of which we can conduct projects to enrich lives of this community.


On January 19, we conducted the Picnic Lunch at CDS Daycare at the CDS Hall. The children were of the age group 2-5. The children were given a scrumptious meal that included all the balanced nutrients of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamin, mineral, fruits, milk and water. They had water and milk after the meal to digest their food better. After their meal, they played with the balloons and we joined in as well.

In the afternoon, the children had fruits, white chickpeas and kidney beans as a snack. While a hearty meal for underprivileged children can be a luxury to have, their smile and happiness while playing with balloons and with us also showed us that simple things can fill your heart with such joy and delight.

The main objective of the ‘Picnic Lunch’ at the CDS Daycare was to celebrate the jolly spirit of Christmas and New Year and to bring them a nutritious meal even if it was belated.


GFF Helps Nepal consistently assisted Child Development Society in both the Daycare Centre and the clinic. Since this was the cold month of January, the children were taken out for sun-bathing and we assisted the staff of the Daycare Centre regularly for this. Since there are 18-25 children on an average, more assistance makes the process run smoother.

We also actively helped the CDS Health Clinic this month. A lot of students from the Shree Balkumari School, the mother groups from Adult Literacy, the community people came to seek for medical assistance in the clinic. We helped some students of the school to clean their wounds and put ointment on it. We covered for the clinic in-charge, Samikshya Miss, with the medicines we could provide ourselves, like giving Paracetamol for people with headaches, after making sure they weren’t on an empty stomach. If the circumstance needed the assistance, we’d coordinate with her right away to notify her of the situation at hand, in case she wasn’t present at the moment.

We also gave her technical assistance like proofreading emails, documents, and captions for their social media platforms, taking pictures. We also helped her with data entry for CDS’ Excel budget sheet. Throughout this month, we’ve built rapport even better than before and we intend to continue helping them with whatever we can.


Annual English Concert

Drama Club

Every week, students from Ekiriyagala and the surrounding villages eagerly gather at the SANASA Community Hall to partake in a unique and empowering initiative aimed at enhancing their confidence in using the English language. This engaging program revolves around the performance of dramas, providing a creative platform for these students to overcome their fears and hesitation when it comes to expressing themselves in English.

The SANASA Community Hall becomes a vibrant hub of artistic expression as these young individuals showcase their talents through theatrical performances, fostering a supportive environment that encourages language development and self-assurance.

Through the medium of drama, these gatherings not only serve as a means of language practice but also as a communal effort to uplift the spirits of the participants, instilling in them the belief that they can conquer any linguistic challenges that may come their way. This initiative not only contributes to the students’ language proficiency but also fosters a sense of community and mutual encouragement among the participants from Ekiriyagala and its neighboring villages.

Mobile Library

On a weekly basis, an inspiring mobile library initiative unfolds for the eager students of Ekiriyagala and neighboring villages, presenting invaluable opportunities for exposure to English storybooks. This program is designed to cultivate a love for reading and provide access to a diverse array of English literature. By bringing the library directly to the students, the initiative not only facilitates easy access to a rich collection of books but also encourages a culture of reading within the community.

This concerted effort aims to enhance language skills, foster a love for learning, and empower students with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the realms of English storytelling. The mobile library, therefore, stands as a inspiration of education and imagination, playing a vital role in the intellectual and linguistic development of the students in Ekiriyagala and the surrounding villages.

English for village

Two days per week, the SANASA Community Hall in Ekiriyagala becomes a hub of learning and linguistic exploration as rural students from the area gather to engage in English language sessions. This initiative, designed to bridge the educational gap and empower these students, reflects a commitment to providing accessible opportunities for language development. The students engage themselves in interactive and active English lessons, fostering a supportive environment for learning.

The program aims to equip these rural students with the essential language skills needed to navigate an increasingly interconnected world. Through collaborative efforts and a sense of community, these regular gatherings serve not only as educational sessions but also as a source of motivation, implanting in the students a newfound confidence in their ability to grasp and communicate in English. Indeed, the English learning sessions facilitated by GFF plays a key role in opening doors to the world for rural students in Ekiriyagala.

These sessions serve as a transformative gateway, providing students with essential language skills that can significantly broaden their horizons and connect them to a global community. By offering a platform for language development, GFF empowers these rural students to overcome linguistic barriers, enabling them to communicate effectively in English.

The initiative not only imparts language proficiency but also encourages a sense of confidence and empowerment, allowing students to navigate a world where English proficiency is often a key to accessing educational and economic opportunities. Through these sessions, GFF becomes a facilitator for positive change, fostering a spirit of curiosity, openness, and a thirst for knowledge among the rural students. In essence, GFF’s commitment to English learning becomes a transformative force, shaping the future prospects and possibilities for these students in Ekiriyagala.


Joe FisherGFF HELPS January 2024 updates