Aubrey Esmeralda: help people rebuild their lives by learning a new language

Today we would like to introduce you to a very special Eliademy teacher, Ms. Aubrey Esmeralda. Aubrey is a certified English and Filipino/Tagalog teacher from the Province of Antique in Philippines. A teacher of 14 years of experience, Aubrey has been exploring online and offline teaching with her students of various international background and age since 2007. Her experience tells her that online education gives her students the flexibility to effectively engage in their own language learning styles.

What is so special about Aubrey? Since she was 14, Aubrey has been involved in charity work. After Typhoon Yolanda hit Philippines in 2013, she started donating a portion of the revenue from the online courses she is teaching on Eliademy to the Support Education program of the ELAICenter and House of Esmeralda mission for the Yolanda victim children in Antique, Philippines. Aubrey also visits these children regularly with food and supplies.

TAGALOG

Touched by her effort to support the charity work with online teaching, we set out to have an interview with Aubrey. Here is the story told by herself.

How it all started

The idea was conceived after I visited the islets few months after the Yolanda typhoon hit Tacloban. The islets are part of the big island part of Antique province, close to Boracay Island.

The long way to Tacloban

It was December 25, 2013 when I started the trip. From Dasmariñas city, it took me a couple of hours to get to the bus terminal in Manila as there was traffic since it was Christmas. The bus ran for 3 hours to get to Batangas port where the ship was waiting to bring the passengers to the next island. It was another 6 hours by ship then the bus traveled for another 6 hours to get to another island port in Antique. I took a bus, less than an hour to get to the next stop to get a bus for another hour to the small port. The big boat can accommodate more or less 300 passengers and we were all waited for the 3am sail to the main island. We got to the house of the host at 7am December 26. After a very quick breakfast, they prepared the vehicle to bring us back to the sea so we can sail to the target islets. That was my first time to sail for two hours in a small pumpboat. The big waves scared me off that I was thinking, why was I here? What was I doing when I could just sit in my office and work?

The hidden treasure of the island

Along with the ever-supportive village officers, we brought water and lunch to the island. Food like crackers and biscuits were distributed to the residents. We stayed in the Day Care center for few hours, as I couldn’t bear the intense heat of the sun. It was like a desert, about 38 degrees that time. I noticed how rich the islet is with the natural resources from coconut trees. I came up with the idea of sending a trainer from TESDA Manila. This is actually a huge project and a tremendous help to the island people. The products can be sold all throughout the world as they can produce marvelous home decors and kitchen utensils out from the coconut trees. This can be a start up livelihood for the residents and an additional resource apart from seaweed farming. I just wonder how these people like to live in this very remote islet as they need 2hour sail to get to the nearest island to buy drinking water. They can barely go to the town to buy clothes and other needs. Any single thing from the city would make them happy.

I had a day left to do islet hopping. This island has been in my bucket list to explore my province. However due to my work and business, I wasn’t able to reach there until after the typhoon. Indeed it is a paradise with its white powdered sand, green-bluish seawater, with amazing shells of different sizes and shapes. Oh, I wish to come here regularly, a perfect getaway from stress and noise of the city life. There are beautiful caves, some parts are perfect for scuba diving, snorkling and fishing. I admire the village chiefs for being so firmed and determined to keep and protect the island.  Of course the happiness of making these people happy and hopeful is what the trip makes it worth it.

The need for education

As an educator, I instantly recognized the needs for education. I was thinking to send off school needs from bags to workbooks and raincoats, as a single paper is very precious to each child. The collected amount used to buy food last December was from my online students who had pushed me to visit the islet. I thought it would simply end there, but I left my heart in the islet with those very accommodating and nice people.

The Project: Rebuilding lives through Education

When I came back to my place. I’ve decided to give a portion of my online salary and sales of my Tagalog mp3 to this project.

I thought this charity work was only for the kids in our church in my village, which I started last 2010. I never thought of posting the photos in public — not until someone told me to post them in FB, which I did last year. The boy I wanted to adopt in one of the photos is now in elementary level.

I am grateful to those who will be willing to join me in this project. I wish also they can visit the place and see these people and kids in person. But i think we can start from here.

For the next trip, I would like to bring a trainer who needs your support for the trip, some food, workbooks, school needs and raincoats for the Day Care Centers.

I hope you will join me and together let’s help the people rebuild their lives.

We at Eliademy are touched by her story and are so happy to collaborate with her. We hope that we can help her help more people with her honorable work. We wish her nothing but the best and we are looking forward to developing with her. Please take a moment to visit her courses and Facebook group.

Once again, thank you Aubrey and continue striving for your noble goals.