Smart-backed BasaVan Caravan brings over 3,300 books

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To help enhance distance learning in the new normal, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has partnered with BásaBookstore to donate books and LearnSmart e-Storytelling videos for students in remote communities.

The Smart-backed activity aims to donate more than 3,300 books to over 200 teachers in Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos, and Cagayan. The storytelling fleet also aims to provide psychosocial support and a sense of normalcy through reading. BásaBookstore, a travelling bookstore and social enterprise, will run the BasaVan Caravan from January 27 to February 4 in celebration of World Read Aloud Day.

“We feel strongly that reading is a powerful way not just to educate, but to also help people overcome negative feelings and challenges. Through the BasaVan project and the materials that we will be handing over to the teachers, we hope that the students will be able to continue learning and that no one will be left behind in experiencing the power of reading and access to education,” Smart AVP for Community Partnerships Stephanie V. Orlino explained.

“Before the lockdown, we have already sold and donated books to over 20 different cities through our BásaVan project. We hope that through the gift of reading, we will be able to help children by providing access to leisure and learning,” BásaBookstore Founder Rey Bufi said.

Rey Bufi previously partnered with Smart for its LearnSmart e-Storytelling Series in 2020. Launched in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and The Storytelling Project, the episodes aired live every 8:30pm on the Smart Communities Facebook page, as Smart’s way of bringing the magic of stories into people’s home through technology.

Information embedded in the context of a story is said to be more easily remembered. Storytelling is thus an effective way of teaching a lesson or getting a message across. Stories aim to teach kids about their own uniqueness, and important values such as acceptance, inclusivity, courage and obedience. “Our first few stories were geared towards understanding our current situation under the COVID-19 pandemic, continued with a story that specifically helped kids understand what to do, and followed up by a story of gratitude to our frontliners,” Bufi shared.

Before the end of 2020, the LearnSmart e-Storytelling Series was also re-released as free-to-download supplemental learning materials for virtual classes. All 31 e-Storytelling episodes were aligned with the DepEd’s Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs) and were enhanced to include Filipino Sign Language translation. Each story concludes with an in-depth analysis by a child psychologist.

Along with the books to be donated via the BasaVan Caravan, Smart will also turn over a compilation of its e-Storytelling videos, as well as Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials on child’s rights produced by the Council for the Welfare of Children. Smart will also donate Smart prepaid load cards to the teachers of the beneficiary schools.

The initiative’s 27 beneficiary schools all use modular learning modality, with students to receive one storybook in the packet of modules in the schools’ weekly roundup.

For more information, visit facebook.com/BasaBookstore or facebook.com/smartcommunities, or send an email to LearnSmart@smart.com.ph.

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