Filo Artisan Trade Gives Back to a Small and Secluded School in Mindanao

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Filo Artisan Trade takes its mission and vision a notch higher by giving back to a local community in the Philippines and helped R. Sumambot Elementary School.

The pandemic has affected a lot of lives in the Philippines, not just because of the virus itself, but most especially, it hits the country's economic and financial aspects. One of the sectors that have been most afflicted is Education. The Department of Education (DepEd) has prohibited face-to-face classes due to the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine. Instead, they organized a Blended Learning Program, which involves online, radio, tv, and module-based learning.

As of this writing, the municipality of Manay has remained covid-free, but their schools have suffered due to the government's education budget cuts to make way for COVID-19's medical response.


Sumambot Elementary School is a small institution in Purok Banacabac, Barangay Del Pilar, Manay, Davao Oriental. According to one of their teachers, Osman Paidan, "The school has a whole Elementary level from Kinder I to Grade VI. There are 67 pupils enrolled as of October 2020 and three teachers, including the Teacher In-Charge. Most of our learners are a member of an Indigenous Tribe “Mandaya."

The school is located in a small and remote town, so there are very limited telecom signal and even electricity. TV, radio, and online learning are impossible for students. The teachers of the school would depend more on the learning modules so that students can continue with their educational journey.

"Our students may experience illiteracy in technology because of the lack of gadgets to be used. Parents can’t provide something for their children’s learning," Paidan added.

Apart from the technological limitations of the school and the community, distance has been a problem for some of Paidan's students. Some of them will have to walk for hours and cross two rivers to get to the school. The students also lack food, school supplies, and medicines, but in spite of that, they are very motivated to learn and study.

Despite all the hardships, R. Sumambot Elementary School's prayers have been answered. The school is fortunate enough to be spotted by Chris Uson, Filo Artisan Trade's owner, in a Sunstar article by Ace Perez, entitled, "Teachers on the frontlines". Chris read the featured article and was touched by Osman's story. He immediately contacted Ace to get Osman's number so that the company can donate some of its profit to the school.

Osman Paidan and his co-teachers have prepared for this school year and used (all) 100% of donations to buy school materials for the students. They have also been distributing the modules and other supplies to their students while helping them answer the self-learning modules.

"The teachers of R. Sumambot Elementary School extend our heartfelt gratitude to Filo Artisan Trade for giving cash assistance for modules reproduction. We consider the owner of the company and whoever initiated this project as our Brigada heroes. During the start of modules printing, it’s hard for the teachers to provide materials like bond paper, printer, and inks. Filo Artisan Trade has provided a big help to our school in providing the needs of teachers for modules reproduction before the opening of classes. Our learners' learning continues because of the help of the company," Paidan said.


Paidan mentioned that one student of his was demotivated due to the lack of school supplies as well as the dangers in travelling to and from his home and school. Paidan assured his student that he himself will get him the materials he needed for school. As soon as the student heard that he received the supplies that were being donated, he got his motivation back again, although he will still miss the face to face classes and fun he has with his classmates.

Filo Artisan Trade salutes Osman Paidan and his co-teachers for their hard work and sacrifice in providing education to the children in Manay. They are the true heroes. The donation was a huge help for the students and teachers, but no one can ever match the love that the teachers have for their work and their students.

The company would also like to thank their customers for their continued patronage and for helping them donate school supplies to the students of R. Sumambot Elementary School.

Filo Artisan Trade's vision and mission are to bring Mindanao's superb local products to Australia, at the same time giving back to the impoverished communities in the Philippines. Giving back has always been the company's core values, and this opportunity to give was crucial, given the educational budget cuts in the country. The company also believes that aside from having food, health, and shelter, education is another important thing to focus on.


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