Project WiFi aims to help students continue their studies by giving them free access to WiFi.
As schools adapt to blended and online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing concern over the widening gap regarding access to educational resources among students.
With no clear date when schools will physically resume, a group of working Law students started a donation drive to respond to the plight of students whose future was threatened by the onslaught of the novel coronavirus.
“We are looking to sponsor students in dire need of internet access to be able to continue their education in light of the recent shift to online learning in the Philippines,” Peachy Garcia, one of the founders of Project Wifi, explained.
Sponsors may either contribute to a student’s whole semester access for ₱3,999 or pay for the WiFi device at ₱999.
“We are appealing to the hearts of our kind donors. The applicants are students from the provinces, some are working students at a very young age,” Garcia said.
In the beginning, the goal of the schoolmates was just to pool enough money out of their pockets to provide one or two students with WiFi devices.
However, after receiving “overwhelming support” from friends and relatives, Garcia said they decided to escalate the effort.
“We decided to raise funds through donations as well so that hopefully, we can adopt 50 students (or more, depending on raised funds)… We will release the names of beneficiaries of the first batch on 15 June,” she said.
“But if we are able to raise funds sufficient to sustain beyond our initial goal, then we are willing to facilitate the initiative to run beyond what is needed,” she added.
Preschool, grade school, high school, and college students across the country without internet access are encouraged to submit their applications on or before June 10, 2020.
“We want to reach as many students as possible… We hope this can make a difference in the lives of many Filipinos,” Garcia said.
For the inaugural batch, Project Wifi plans to sustain at least 50 students for the coming first semester of Academic Year 2020-2021.
”It is the ‘adjustment semester’ for all students having just come from almost 3 months of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many parents have lost their sources of income during such a crisis so this is initially a project to tide them through the adjustment to a new normal,” Garcia explained.
Project WiFi said they will prioritize the students whose semester had already begun or is about to start this June.
The group also created an online form so they may thoroughly vet the profiles to weed out bogus applicants
“We ask applicants or nominators to upload proof of enrollment and whether their school has shifted to fully online learning or hybrid type of learning for the coming semester,” Garcia said.
The aspiring lawyer noted some school employees and heads of school organizations are also collaborating with them.
“They partnered with us to be able to provide to their students in need. The school administrator will also be the one to pre-screen these students for the grant,” she explained.
The names of the beneficiaries will be released on June 15.