One Headingley resident has reached her fundraising goal to help a Filipino community, so she’s decided to tackle a new initiative: libraries.

In less than a month, Shiela Redublo raised $2,500 to rent a plot of land in Tagaytay, the Philippines, to support 51 families displaced by the Taal volcano eruption in 2020. The goal is for folks to use the land to grow and sell their own food.

Redublo, who’s from the province of Batangas in the Philippines, raised $1,400 through Epicure sales (she received a portion of money from each sale for the project) and by selling spring rolls. A donor who wishes to remain anonymous gave $1,100.

The next step is to secure the land, Redublo said. She’s working with Rural Rising Philippines, an organization that’s fed and supported the evacuees post-eruption, on the farming project. Rural Rising Philippines will sell the crops, pay the farmers, and provide the seeds and equipment, Redublo said.

But, she wants a written, legal rental agreement with the landowner and Rural Rising Philippines before submitting any money.

Redublo said she plans on visiting the country in May to oversee various projects she’s working on. If she can’t connect with involved parties on the farming project via video call, she’ll wait to sign anything until May.

“I want to make sure that this money will really be used for the (displaced groups), to be able to provide a sustainable income,” Redublo said.

In the meantime, Redublo is shifting her focus to creating two libraries for rural kids in the Philippines. She’s now looking for donations of school-age activity books, craft supplies and special needs learning materials.

“I believe that … all children should have access to education,” Redublo said.

She said she started her organization Sulat-Kamay, which runs her initiatives, with the intent of making education accessible for children in the Philippines. However, a torrent of natural disasters in the country diverted the charity’s attention.

Rural Rising Philippines is working in Dingalan, the Philippines — through them, Redublo heard about an Indigenous tribe that wants its kids to learn Tagalog, a common language in the country. The tribe has its own language; not knowing Tagalog can lead to it being swindled by others, Redublo said.

There’s a school the kids can go to — an hour’s walk away — but often, kids stick to foraging with their parents, Redublo said. 

By creating a library section in the school, kids might be more enticed to learn, she said. Rural Rising Philippines will provide books in Tagalog. Redublo will take care of the rest of the library’s stock — Canadian learning materials are high-end, she said.

“I have planned this project in the back of my head for years,” she said. “I know exactly what I want for this library.”

She’s working on making Sulat-Kamay “money”. Kids who read or participate in an activity in the library will be awarded the money, which they can use to buy a toy from a prize bank inside the library, Redublo said.

Teachers have said they’ll run the library, she added.

She plans on creating another school library in Pitogo, in the province of Quezon, the Philippines. Volunteers Redublo met during her last trip to the Philippines in January have told her about displaced people on the island — they were hit by Typhoon Vamco last November and are still recovering.

“These people kind of fall into my lap,” Redublo said.

She plans on accepting donations until the end of March. She said she’ll send the goods in a cargo box in April with hopes it’ll reach the Philippines by May, when she plans on getting there. She’ll set up the libraries during her trip.

Folks who want to donate materials can contact Redublo at sulatkamay@yahoo.com or 204-510-8878.

A teacher visits kids in Dingalan, the Philippines, to do some remedial learning. Often, children don’t go to school, focusing instead on foraging, according to Shiela Redublo. (SUPPLIED)

One Headingley resident has reached her fundraising goal to help a Filipino community, so she’s decided to tackle a new initiative: libraries.

In less than a month, Shiela Redublo raised $2,500 to rent a plot of land in Tagaytay, the Philippines, to support 51 families displaced by the Taal volcano eruption in 2020. The goal is for folks to use the land to grow and sell their own food.

Redublo, who’s from the province of Batangas in the Philippines, raised $1,400 through Epicure sales (she received a portion of money from each sale for the project) and by selling spring rolls. A donor who wishes to remain anonymous gave $1,100.

The next step is to secure the land, Redublo said. She’s working with Rural Rising Philippines, an organization that’s fed and supported the evacuees post-eruption, on the farming project. Rural Rising Philippines will sell the crops, pay the farmers, and provide the seeds and equipment, Redublo said.

But, she wants a written, legal rental agreement with the landowner and Rural Rising Philippines before submitting any money.

Redublo said she plans on visiting the country in May to oversee various projects she’s working on. If she can’t connect with involved parties on the farming project via video call, she’ll wait to sign anything until May.

“I want to make sure that this money will really be used for the (displaced groups), to be able to provide a sustainable income,” Redublo said.

In the meantime, Redublo is shifting her focus to creating two libraries for rural kids in the Philippines. She’s now looking for donations of school-age activity books, craft supplies and special needs learning materials.

“I believe that … all children should have access to education,” Redublo said.

She said she started her organization Sulat-Kamay, which runs her initiatives, with the intent of making education accessible for children in the Philippines. However, a torrent of natural disasters in the country diverted the charity’s attention.

Rural Rising Philippines is working in Dingalan, the Philippines — through them, Redublo heard about an Indigenous tribe that wants its kids to learn Tagalog, a common language in the country. The tribe has its own language; not knowing Tagalog can lead to it being swindled by others, Redublo said.

There’s a school the kids can go to — an hour’s walk away — but often, kids stick to foraging with their parents, Redublo said. 

By creating a library section in the school, kids might be more enticed to learn, she said. Rural Rising Philippines will provide books in Tagalog. Redublo will take care of the rest of the library’s stock — Canadian learning materials are high-end, she said.

“I have planned this project in the back of my head for years,” she said. “I know exactly what I want for this library.”

She’s working on making Sulat-Kamay “money”. Kids who read or participate in an activity in the library will be awarded the money, which they can use to buy a toy from a prize bank inside the library, Redublo said.

Teachers have said they’ll run the library, she added.

She plans on creating another school library in Pitogo, in the province of Quezon, the Philippines. Volunteers Redublo met during her last trip to the Philippines in January have told her about displaced people on the island — they were hit by Typhoon Vamco last November and are still recovering.

“These people kind of fall into my lap,” Redublo said.

She plans on accepting donations until the end of March. She said she’ll send the goods in a cargo box in April with hopes it’ll reach the Philippines by May, when she plans on getting there. She’ll set up the libraries during her trip.

Folks who want to donate materials can contact Redublo at sulatkamay@yahoo.com or 204-510-8878.

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
The Headliner community journalist

Gabrielle Piché is the community journalist for The Headliner.
Gabby is a cub reporter fresh from Red River College’s creative communications program. She majored in journalism and spent the summer of 2020 as an intern at the Winnipeg Free Press.

Gabby also has a B.A. in communications from the University of Winnipeg. She reported for newspapers in the Interlake, including the Selkirk Record, in 2019, and received the Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism award in 2020.

When she’s not chasing stories, you can find Gabby listening to podcasts, attempting yoga or petting somebody’s dog

Email her at gabrielle.piche@canstarnews.com

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