Apart from livelihood programmes, provision of solar lamps, repair of houses and classrooms, reforestation, and relocation assistance, part of Shell’s ongoing long-term disaster rehabilitation plan for municipalities affected by Typhoon Yolanda include the construction and turnover of multi-purpose halls and school gymnasiums, with the goal of providing educational assistance to the youth.

Shell engaged its network of partners for the initiative, such as the Department of Energy, provincial units, local government units, and the Department of Education. After thorough site assessments and community profiling, the identified beneficiaries of the project were: Palo Central School, Palo National High School, Alang-alang National High School, San Miguel National High School (along with San Miguel Central School), Juan S. Tismo National High School, and Manlilisid National High School.

The construction of each gymnasium takes approximately three to five months. The recipients of the first two gymnasiums are the Palo Central School and Palo National High School in Leyte. The two gymnasiums were turned over in symbolic ceremonies last February, graced by Shell officers, government and agency officials, and key representatives from the beneficiary schools.

Ma. Socorro Ausa, principal of Palo National High School, expressed her gratitude to Shell and its partners for choosing their school as one of the recipients. “All this will be of great use to the students for their academic and non-academic development, to the teachers, and the community as well,” she said.

Apart from serving as a venue for school and sports-oriented activities, the gyms can provide temporary evacuation shelter during natural disasters. The halls are structurally designed to withstand maximum sustained one-minute surface winds of at least 240 kph or a Category 5 super typhoon. Features of the multi-purpose halls include male and female toilet and shower facilities, a movable stage, sound system, and a basketball court.

“As we continue our commitment to nation-building, it is quite befitting that we are turning over this gymnasium because this is not only part of Shell’s contribution to help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, but also part of our efforts in helping the country forward,” said Ramon Del Rosario, Shell vice president for communications.

Overall, the programme covers give municipalities, and is estimated to benefit a total of more than 10,000 student and community residents.

According to Del Rosario, promoting resilience among the communities and improving their adaptive capacity are critical aspects in pursuing community development and assisting in their rapid recovery from the calamity. Thus, Shell has recognised that the private sector is emerging as an important partner in providing disaster response.

The energy and gas technology company supports the country’s efforts to rebuild and respond to affected communities of natural disasters. In communities it operates in as well, Shell various social investment initiatives focus on socio-civic aspects such as road safety, environmental management, health, and education in sports and in the arts, to name a few.