We Can Be Anything is an education advocacy campaign, born of a partnership between the Apl.de.Ap Foundation (AdAF) and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF).
The campaign was conceived after apl.de.ap (a.k.a. Allan Pineda), the Filipino-American member of the world-famous Black Eyed Peas, expressed his desire to help improve the education situation in the Philippines.
From his own experience, he knew that, for many Filipinos mired in poverty or other difficult circumstances, education is the only long-term ticket to a better life. Unfortunately, millions among the youth are deprived of this ticket to opportunity or drop out of school for a variety of reasons. One basic obstacle is the severe shortage of public school classrooms; the Department of Education (DepEd) estimates the backlog at 66,800 classrooms as of schoolyear 2010-2011, Another factor is the barren environment for learning in many parts of the country due to scarce resources with which to set up libraries and similar facilities.
Several organizations have launched programs to address these and many other problems besetting the Philippine educational system. Through his foundation, apl.de.ap wants to be able to help some of these programs.
On a personal level, he simply wants to tell young Filipinos that he was able to go so far in life because he got an education. To deliver this message, he has composed the song, “We Can Be”, around which a campaign could be built.
To give apl.de.ap a platform for his advocacy, NCAF appointed him the special ambassador for education of the iamninoy-iamcory Movement in February 2011.
Through the We Can Be Anything campaign, apl.de.ap lends his celebrity, music and personal network to rally massive support for key education initiatives, while reinforcing the broader message on the importance of education.
Proceeds from the campaign will benefit the Bayanihang Pampaaralan initiative of 57-75 movement for educational reform and the MyLibrary program of Ayala Foundation/ Philippine Development Foundation.
The advocacy campaign is being made possible by the generous support of enlightened sponsors like PLDT Smart Foundation, Meralco Foundation, Philippine Airlines and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
The Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF)
The Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) traces its roots to the Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Foundation (BSAF), established by the late Senator’s widow, Corazon (Cory) Aquino, in November 1983 to perpetuate his legacy. Its activities were limited during the tumultuous years following Ninoy Aquino’s assassination and after Mrs. Aquino ascended to the presidency in February 1986.
When President Cory’s term ended, BSAF became her primary vehicle for continuing to engage non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) that played a key role in empowering communities and reviving democratic institutions alongside her administration. With the help of donor groups, BSAF, through the Institute for People Power and Development (IPPD) supported programs to strengthen cooperatives, human rights education among law enforcers, and microfinance institutions.
In 2001, BSAF set up the Aquino Center in Tarlac to house the memorabilia of Ninoy and Cory Aquino and to situate their lives in the context of recent developments in the evolution of Philippine democracy. The Foundation also used part of its endowment fund to grant scholarships to poor but deserving students, to sponsor occasional symposia on democratic themes, and to give recognition to exemplary individuals and groups, which were dubbed as “People Power People”. In August 2008, BSAF reached out to the youth through the iamninoy campaign.
A few months after Cory Aquino’s passing in August 2009, BSAF transitioned into NCAF. Today, NCAF seeks to build on the legacy of Ninoy and Cory by supporting activities that embody the spirit of People Power as a strong and positive force for social change in a robust democracy.
The iamninoy-iamcory Movement
The iamninoy-iamcory Movement is the core youth mobilization and empowerment program of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation. Launched on August 21, 2008 as a campaign to introduce Ninoy Aquino to new generations of Filipinos, iamninoy brought to fore the heroic side of the Filipino youth, who bought merchandise to help the beneficiaries of various retail partners, expressed their selflessness on- and off-line, and did volunteer work.
After President Cory passed on, the highly successful campaign was elevated into the iamninoy-iamcory Movement, which aims to surface a new generation of Filipinos who are willing to step up as selfless heroes in their own right. From their ranks will emerge youth leaders who can realize their full potential through a process of spiritual transformation in the mold of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. Along this track, the movement has partnered with the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Center for Leadership (NCACL) in mounting regular runs of a youth formation program, called “The Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey”.
In the past few years, the movement has partnered with different networks and groups in pursuit of its mission to engage more deeply with the youth. Through program partners, the movement is seeking to involve the youth in existing initiatives in the areas of governance, livelihood, education, the environment and health.
The Apl.de.Ap Foundation
“I am willing to share my talent and time to give back to the community. It is important to give back, and, given the opportunity, I would do the same thing all over again. What goes around comes around.”
That’s the way Allan Pineda Lindo of Angeles, Pampanga—known all over the world as apl.de.ap—sums up why he has set up the apl.de.ap Foundation. Drawing from his own life experience, the foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for children in the Philippines through education, technology and music.
Born in Sapang Bato, Angeles City, apl.de.ap is truly proud of his Filipino heritage. In fact, he has injected elements of Pinoy culture into some of the songs of the Black Eyed Peas. Beyond that, apl has recently been seeking ways by which to give back to his country of birth—particularly in the field of education.
The eldest of seven siblings, apl has memories of helping his grandfather in the farm. Coming from a poor family, he knew early on that going to school was his long-term ticket to a better life. “I just wanted to have an education,” he says. “In every Filipino family, the children always want to help the parents—that was my goal.”
Clinically blind, the young apl managed to get treatment for his eyes in the US through the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. Eventually, he got adopted by Joe Ben Hudgens, who nurtured him and made sure that he would complete his schooling. To this day, even as a successful celebrity, apl cherishes his education as a precious gift that helped him achieve his goals in life. And he would want Filipino kids in difficult circumstances today to get the same opportunities that opened up to him.
Unfortunately, millions among the youth in his homeland can’t even go to school or get a decent education for lack of classrooms and other learning centers. And it is in this area that he would want to give back to the Philippines.
That has brought him and his foundation in touch with the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF), Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI), Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) and the 57-75 Movement. As the special ambassador for education of NCAF’s iamninoy-iamcory movement, apl got a platform with which to support two education-oriented programs: Bayanihang Pampaaralan of 57-75 and MyLibrary of AFI. Thus was born the education advocacy campaign entitled, “We Can Be Anything”, based on a song composed by apl.
“We Can Be Anything” is not just a slogan for apl. It’s an expression of his deeply-held belief in the power of education. Through the advocacy campaign, he wants to deliver a personal message to Filipino kids that, by taking their studies seriously, they can achieve their dreams in life. The campaign will also boost private sector efforts to raise funds with which to build badly needed public school classrooms and other learning centers across the country.
In line with the campaign, the apl.de.ap Foundation— in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), AFI’s Filipinas Heritage Library, Hewlett-Packard (HP) Philippines, and PhilDev—are piloting a music library and studio concept in the two schools he attended in the Philippines: Sapang Bato National High School (SBNHS) and Holy Angel University (HAU).
The facilities are meant to unleash the musical and technology talents of disadvantaged Pinoy kids. Each studio will be furnished with musical instruments, interactive software programs and other educational materials, designed to make learning more dynamic and engaging for students. The objectives, particularly with respect to SBNHS, are to help raise the academic achievement levels of students and to address the high dropout rate in the school.
Other components of the project include teacher training modules, a mentoring program and an endowment fund for the apl.de.ap Scholarship Program to enable students to finish college.
The MyLibrary project in Sapang Bato—designed to serve as extensions of the classroom and as channels for lifelong learning—will be the model for similar projects across the country. The ultimate goal is to foster a culture of reading and a love of learning among the youth.
The two pilot projects are expected to be completed by February 2012.
“We Can Be Anything” supports the Bayanihang Pampaaralan and other private sector programs to boost the creation of learning centers across the Philippines.
|Bayanihang Pampaaralan, an initiative under the 57-75 Movement, aims to build 10,000 classrooms in two years. Recognizing the need to help address the classroom shortage problem, it aims to consolidate private-sector building efforts and direct funds to the construction of classrooms in areas most in need.|