What​ ​can​ ​fit​ ​inside​ ​a​ ​shoebox?

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The average shoebox is about 10 to 12 inches long, 5 inches tall and 6 inches wide. That won’t fit boots or a really big man’s shoes. Not strangers to landfills, these boxes are often discarded right after the shoes arrive at the owner’s home. After all, what are we to do with them? Some use them to store trinkets, and they pile up in attics and cabinets. Some decorate them for art projects. But integrated marketing communications firm TeamAsia and the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) thought of a different idea.

They began My Dream in a Shoebox in 2009, where shoeboxes are filled with school supplies and given to children of less fortunate communities. Since then, they have touched the lives of over 180,000 children in different parts of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. “As an industry CSR,

My Dream in a Shoebox tells our youth that we collectively care about their future and want to see them succeed,” said Rey Untal, IBPAP Chairman. “We thank our member companies for helping us reach these youth every year. It’s these kinds of programs that inspire hope and impact the nation,” he continued.

Last year, the program helped the children of Payatas Orione Foundation (PAOFI), SOS Children’s Village, San Pedro Calungsod Parish, Ascension of Our Lord Parish, and other organizations directly benefiting students in need. These areas are composed of relocated illegal settlers where families make enough mostly just to feed themselves. These shoeboxes were also distributed to children from different public schools in the country. “We want to enable children from across the nation to seek education so they can have a brighter future. And we know that at times what stops them from going to school is the lack of supplies. Through this initiative, we hope to bring universal access to education to as many children as possible. They are the future of this country. We want be part of this growth,” Monette Iturralde-Hamlin,
TeamAsia President said.

My Dream in a Shoebox was able to help PAOFI in filling a classroom in their newly-built facility with furniture and equipment. “We are very thankful for programs like My Dream in a Shoebox which has been an invaluable partner in our goal to help more Filipino children. Through their help, we were able to provide our children with desktop computers, chairs and tables needed for their convenient learning experience,” Rev. Fr. Martin Mroz, PAOFI Executive Director said.

What started out as a question on how to better utilize a discarded shoebox has spiraled into a nationwide effort into transforming lives one shoebox at a time. The group has enabled children to go to school when their families barely have the means to provide for their educational supplies. This just goes to show that private organizations have a place in bettering communities as they work hand-in-hand with Church organizations in creating opportunities for others.

Those interested in helping My Dream in a Shoebox make #BiggerDreams come true ma connect with TeamAsia by emailing shoebox@teamasia.com or call Clarisse Salindato at 0917-5079379. For cash donations, contact Abby Madarang of IBPAP through abbymadarang@ibpap.com or 0917-8695941.
For more information, visit website http://www.teamasia.com/shoeboxcampaign/ (Mariz Ponti)

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