Thanks to the efforts of a Year 8 student from Mount St Benedict College in Sydney, the Good Samaritan Kinder School, which supports children from one of the poorest areas of the Philippines, now has a new computer – and it’s very likely that a few more may follow.
Thirteen-year-old Jasmine Rheinberger first heard about the Good Samaritan Kinder School in Bacolod City during a school assembly last year, when senior students were sharing their experience of helping out at the school as part of an immersion program in the Philippines.
Afterwards, Jasmine “started researching [the Kinder School] out of interest, and I realised how much help they needed because they’re obviously from the poorest areas in the Philippines”.
Then later in year, Jasmine decided she would focus on the Good Samaritan Kinder School as part of a learning program at Mount St Benedict College, known as “MYBennies”, where students are encouraged to explore a topic they are passionate about.
After much research, she discovered, among other things, that the Kinder School provides about 130 children from very low-income families in Bacolod with pre-school learning experiences, as well as access to a health clinic and nutrition program.
With the aim of raising awareness about the needs of the children and the work of the school, Jasmine created a website, “Children of the Philippines”. She hoped to mobilise others to show their support. But Jasmine wanted to do more.
“So I asked my ‘MYBennies’ teacher and she suggested donating something [to the school],” she said.
Wanting to ensure that any donations were what the Kinder School most needed, Jasmine contacted Good Samaritan Sister Leonie Duenas, Principal of the Kinder School.
“We started emailing back and forth, and after a while, we got to the conclusion that they needed a laptop because they’ve had theirs since 2009,” she explained.
So Jasmine got to work to find out how a laptop (and others later) could be sourced from within the Mount St Benedict College community.
Earlier this month while Leonie was in Australia, Jasmine had the opportunity to present a new laptop to her personally.
“It was a lovely surprise,” said Leonie.
“I’m just so happy that we received this laptop, an additional one that we can use at the Kinder School.”
Leonie is very grateful to Jasmine and Mount St Benedict College for this new school resource.
“It means so much for us… It’s a very big thing for us”, she said.
The gift of the laptop highlights for Leonie the importance of the relationships that have been established between the Kinder School and individuals like Jasmine, and communities like Mount St Benedict College.
“They are really partners with us because we cannot do this on our own here in the Philippines,” she said.
Leonie is also struck by the fact that Jasmine, now in Year 8, was in Year 7 when she first began her project to support the Kinder School.
“I really feel that there is so much future for this young girl who is so passionate in doing something for the poor. I just hope and pray for a good future for her… I feel she has a very big heart for the poor in choosing this project,” said Leonie.
For Jasmine, engaging with the Kinder School has not been a one-off project. She is keen to continue her efforts to raise awareness and organise other donations for the Kinder School. She’s also planning to visit the school in Year 11 as part of her school’s immersion program in the Philippines. In fact, she’d like to visit before then.
“I’d go any day if I could!” she laughed.