With the success of his debut solo EP A New Strain, former Urbandub frontman Gabby Alipe is riding high these days. “Visions,” his first single as a solo artist, became a radio hit—and its successor “Paalam” is poised to do the same.
Since so many good things have come his way lately, Gabby and his record label MCA Music decided to pay it forward by supporting School-in-a-Bag, a program run by Smart Communications. The program aims to make learning easier for students in disadvantaged areas by giving them digital learning tools. Those tools include a solar panel for electricity, a laptop, a tablet, a mobile phone, a pocket WiFi with starter load, an LED TV, and a wide variety of study modules.
According to Darwin Flores, Smart’s Vice-President for Community Partnerships, School-in-a-Bag is the leading telecom company’s attempt to bring people together using technology.
“The people of the Philippines have been divided by geography for the longest time,” says Darwin. “So Smart came up with School-in-a-Bag to unite them by giving people internet access. This is part of our digital inclusion efforts. We want to enable children in even the most remote of areas to participate in the global knowledge economy. There’s so much to learn out there, and School-in-a-Bag will help them gain access to that wealth of information,” Flores said.
So far, School-in-a-Bag has made learning easier for the students in far-flung ‘unenergized’ schools like Rawang Elementary School in Tanay, Rizal. Most of the children who go to school there have never seen, much less used, desktop computers and tablets. But thanks to Smart, second grader Katrina Apelada can now familiarize herself with such gadgets and figure out how to use them to improve her grades. Teachers can also make their classes more dynamic and interesting, using the learning tools School-in-a-Bag contains.
Rawang Elementary School is just one of 18 schools in remote areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that have already received School-in-a-Bag units. Most recently, two island schools in Coron, Palawan—Banuang Daan Elementary School and Cabugao Elementary School—got their own units, and Gabby himself delivered the MCA Music School-in-a-Bag package.
Gabby decided to get on the School-in-a-Bag train because he’s a big believer in the power of education. The schools Gabby went to shaped him as a musician and songwriter. Not only did his classes teach him how to write well, but it was in high school that he began his musical journey. Had he not been able to finish his studies, his life would probably have turned out very differently.
That’s why the Cebuano rocker was so eager to get involved with School-in-a-Bag in the first place. He wanted to give students a chance to change their lives by encouraging them to stay in school. He believes School-in-a-Bag will help them become more motivated to do so. Luckily, Gabby has the full support of his label. After all, MCA Music is all about music, charity and hitmakers like Gabby who love to pay it forward.
Interested parties can also give the gift of digital learning to more schools all over the Philippines by sponsoring a School-in-a-Bag. Each unit costs P100,000. For more information, email TechnoCart@smart.com.ph.