San Isidro, Davao Oriental  – The weather started to gloom and began to drizzle in Barangay Iba here after a long drought.

For the residents, it signifies hope and opportunity for the preschoolers of Iba Elementary School.

The one building, one classroom sub-project through the initiative of Kalahi-CIDSS [Now known as National Community Driven Development Program] and AusAid (Australian Aid) has finally been completed.

Pre-school students can finally enjoy a decent classroom this coming school year.

The Blessing and Turn-over of the sub-project was led by Mayor Justina MB. Yu with the presence of municipal leaders, Barangay Captain, volunteers, and representatives from DSWD.

Sunny Dumandan, Municipal Community Facilitator, shared the struggles of pre-school students before.

He shared the young children would walk two kilometers and trek 63 steps all the way to the top every day to reach the school gymnasium which served as their temporary classroom.

The children are eager and really persevered to learn sans facilities, he said.

The school principal would readily offer her office to the children whenever it rains as the gym is not fully covered, Dumandan noted.

“Maluoy ko sa gagmay na mga estudyante pag mag ulan, unya pag mo init, maabugan pud sila kay dili man sementado ang among gym” (I feel sorry for the young students when rains pour. And during dry season, it gets dusty for them since the gym is not paved).”

“The challenge to the government and its partners is to identify the poorest of the poor, to keenly monitor the progress of the help that we give them. Sustainability is the kind of help that they need for them to stand on their own,” Mayor Yu emphasized in her speech.

The community residents also assisted in monitoring the sub-project during construction.

Through Kalahi-CIDSS, the investment toward education through decent school facilities will help alleviate the illiteracy rate in far-flung barangays.

Implemented by DSWD, Kalahi-CIDSS is a poverty reduction program where decision-making resides in the community. (DSWD)