Before flying to Germany for the holidays, former Pinoy Big Brother housemates Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber spread cheers in a small community in Old Balara. They were warmly welcomed by a marching band and by the children that reside in this barangay in Quezon City.
“We’ve been coming here since October,” Edward started, “Actually I can already recognize some of the children here.”
The screen couple has collaborated with the creation of the ELM Tree Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to provide safe shelter, emotional support and education to underprivileged and vulnerable children.
“ELM stands for Edward, Laura, my sister’s name, and Maymay. Our goal is to teach underprivileged kids to read and write before they go to formal school,” Edward told Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
For Maymay, this initiative is very close to her heart since she grew up in a humble province. Seeing the children in Old Balara reminds her so much of her childhood.
“Everybody knows my story, I’m not from a well-off family that’s why it really warms my heart helping young children and giving them the opportunity to learn basic values that can prepare them for formal school,” Maymay said in vernacular.
The love team, known to their fans as MayWard, partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC ) to turn over a Bahay Bulilit center. A banner initiative of RMHC, Ronald McDonald Bahay Bulilit aims to provide low-cost day care centers for young children of low-income families around the Philippines.
With assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units, RMHC equips each center with books and other educational materials to help kids aged 2 to 5 years old learn basic values and skills in preparation for formal schooling. Accredited social workers and community volunteers facilitate the lessons and regular group sessions for the center’s young beneficiaries.
“There are numerous Bahay Bulilit centers around the country, but this one is our first. We collaborated with McDonald’s because we see that their mission is also aligned with our foundation’s mission and vision as well,” Edward shared.
Maymay and Edward personally donated and oversaw the construction of the center and made sure that they were both present during the turnover ceremony. During the event, Kevin Barber, Edward’s father shared, that it wasn’t the first time his son did something that made him really proud.
“He donated the entire prize he won from PBB to charity. So it no longer surprises me when he does something like this. Even before he became a celebrity, we had visited the Philippines and Edward took time to do something for the community,” the older Barber said.
The duo plans to help build more Bahay Bulilit centers and expand the reach of their foundation. And perhaps inspire others to pay it forward by helping small communities and young children to have better lives.
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