Vibal Foundation, QC Public Library, and QC Schools Division Office partner for education inclusivity
Vibal Foundation, the corporate philanthropy arm of Vibal Group, partnered with the Quezon City Public Library (QCPL) and the Schools Division Office of Quezon City (QC-SDO) in rolling out Kasama Ka!, a literacy and education inclusivity campaign that aims to break down barriers related to reading and learning disabilities. It also aims to unify under one campaign Vibal’s long-standing initiatives such as development of learning materials, in-service training for teachers and librarians, and community-based activities for children such as storytelling, puppet shows, and arts and crafts.
Free digital access to Filipino children’s storybooks was the highlight of the campaign. Kristine Mandigma, Vibal’s chief executive officer, led the company in its digital pivot, utilizing its social media platforms to provide free content and webinars. “With the support of the authors and illustrators of our children’s books, we were able to animate some of our Chikiting Books and uploaded them online. We now have more than 80 of these books in our YouTube channel. We invite parents to share these stories with their kids! These stories are good materials to teach important life values,” Mandigma said during a webinar.
Filipino Sign Language Integration
QCPL and QCSDO led the integration of Filipino sign language to the animated storybooks for the benefit of the hearing-impaired. According to Alistair Troy Lacsamana, the head of Recreational, Educational, and Social Section of the QCPL, “Filipino Sign Language (FSL) is essential to promote accessibility and inclusivity, and we want to ensure that our animated literature are available to the local deaf community through accessible formats like FSL interpretations, captioned videos, and written translations. In this way, the joy of reading and the appreciation of books can be shared to everyone.”
Lacsamana also added that, “Vibal and teachers in Quezon City have created videos with FSL interpretation using Vibal’s Chikiting Books for over a year now. We are very proud of this achievement because through this simple project we have made many Filipino children’s books easily accessible to all.”
The joy of reading for all
Last year, Vibal led initiatives for educators and learners alike: seminars for teachers on Fundamentals of Reading Instruction, kids meeting storytellers & writers for National Children’s Book Day, and community puppet shows for National Children’s Book Month. Through these ongoing efforts, and now with the Kasama Ka! Campaign, many more Filipino storybooks and learning materials are being made available to educators, and parents and their children. The ultimate goal is inclusive education—allowing equal access for all learners from all walks of life, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Parents & kids can access digitized storybooks and learning materials through their mobile phones by scanning Kasama Ka! posters featuring the animated story QR codes. Check your local libraries, public schools, and barangay centers for these posters soon!