CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 20, 2012) - On July 17th, 2012, The Maple Tree Foundation (MTF), a Canadian and Philippine-based organization, together with the Petron Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and TVI Pacific, opened the Iman Nasaron C Haron Elementary School in the remote village of Busicong in the Philippines. Located in the heart of armed rebel territory on the island of Mindanao, the area had limited access to education and many children were tempted to join rebel forces rather than travel long and dangerous distances to attend school. With the new school's opening, children in the area now have a chance at a better life, starting with primary-school education.
This is the first school to open as a result of MTF's Build a School Program, which is a part of the Foundation's mission to help post-conflict communities in the Zamboanga Pennisula in the Philippines find peace through development. Said Diane James, Executive Director for MTF, "we are proud of this school and our Build a School Program because it represents what we believe in, which is protecting the body and training the mind". She explained further, "building the school is a result of teamwork and a huge effort and cooperation among our partners, the local government and the community itself".
The initial seed funding for the Build a School Program came from 3rd year Business students taking a Leadership Development class at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. According to the class' professor, Victoria Calvert, "fundraising for the school was both challenging and rewarding for my students, and it allowed them to connect with a global community while learning about themselves and their own capabilities at the same time". The students raised nearly $18,000 CAD over three semesters, covering almost a third of the total project cost. The remainder of the funding was made possible by generous donations from the Petron Foundation, a Philippine-based charity founded by Petron Corporation, TVI Pacific, a Calgary-based mining company, and Habitat for Humanity Philippines.
"We, like most families, just want our children to have a good education, and this school will make it possible," related the village's religious leader, Totoh Nasaron. Continued the area's Mayor, Cesar Soriano, "this is a manifestation of MTF and their partner's support for educating the children in this area - I never imagined the kind development that has been taking place in this very isolated village. I look forward to working with MTF and their partners on many further projects to come".
The Maple Tree Foundation (MTF) Philippines is a non-stock, non-profit organization registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. The Maple Tree Foundation (MTF) Canada is registered as a Non Profit Company under the Alberta Companies Act and is recognized by CRA as a charitable organization. MTF Philippines and Canada operate under a joint venture agreement to help deprived and underserved mountain communities in the Philippines live healthy, productive, and peaceful lives with sustainable resource development programs that provide basic services, livelihood development, and education.