It is a place where children could gather and learn, a place where the parents take an active role in their children’s education. It is a center where youth and adults are empowered to take ownership of diverse education programs where building relationships and providing educational opportunities are emphasized. It is also where adults develop literacy skills that equip them to enrich their own lives, their families’, increase economic independence, and effect positive change in their communities. The center is called the Bahay Karunungan Reading and Literacy Center.
The idea is to set-up a reading center at the hub of every community, especially in areas where there is limited or no access to the wonderful world of printed reading materials. The CFC Educational Foundation, Inc. (EFI) provides the blueprint for the Bahay Karunungan. It is envisioned to be a venue for literacy training, reading clubs, computer-based/assisted programs, story-telling and shared family reading activities. The concept was borne out of the desire to bring back the love and passion for books, magazines, and other reference materials as very rich resources of knowledge and fun. It is hoped that the presence of a Bahay Karunungan in a community will develop the culture of reading which will strengthen the children, youth, and the adult beneficiaries’ reading, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. The Bahay Karunungan will serve as the hub and the center of all the literacy and reading programs of the community. Valuable partners in this undertaking are the National Book Development Board, Bagong Kulturang Pinoy, One Hope International, Sa Aklat Sisikat, and Rotary Club.
The Bahay Karunungan is not your regular library where one is forced to keep quiet by a strict and impersonal librarian. Rather, it is a place kept abuzz by the laughter of the children and the interaction among the youth and adults, as the BK Learning Facilitator monitors and keeps all the activities in order. This enjoyable atmosphere is what makes the BK users keep coming back for more knowledge and fun! The requirement is to conduct activities based on the needs and interests of the community. Thus, BK Centers address specific learning concerns.
The HSBC READiscovery Center in Baseco, Tondo is one such center which adopted the BK concept. A group of Assumption alumnae saw that they needed to contribute something meaningful to this community which was once devastated by one of the huge fires that ever hit the city, resulting to thousands of homeless families. These ladies initiated a partnership with the Hongkong Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) and Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation. The HSBC READiscovery Center aims at developing the culture of reading among its beneficiaries.
The Mano Amiga Foundation likewise saw how a BK Center would help their community. Thus, they also established a BK-inspired center in Taguig City. They proved that no matter how limited the space for such a structure is, as long as each area is maximized, the BK objectives are also met.
Another milestone for the BK Program was the establishment of the Tala Bahay Karunungan (TBK) located at the Holy Rosary Parish in Tala, Caloocan City. The project – a joint undertaking between the Holy Rosary Parish under Father Paul Foulon, MILK Foundation under Johnny Sy, and CFCEFI – came about because of a felt need for reading appreciation. Further, it was learned that there was no community-based reading center in the area. Hence, the idea to put up a reading and literacy center at the heart of Tala was believed to expose children, youth, and adults to the wonderful world of print!
Apart from learning to read and reading to learn, BK Centers likewise provide a venue where values formation sessions are to be conducted. Aside from developing the virtues/values of patience, resourcefulness, and hardwork, carefully-crafted character formation programs are also implemented in these centers. Thus, it is hoped that through the Bahay Karunungan, we do not only develop one’s intellect, but more importantly, we aim at forming individuals wholistically by providing them with programs that mold them emotionally and morally as well.
Contributed by Myra M. Menguito
CFC Educational Foundation, Inc.