KNOWLEDGE Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI) is 20 years old but its president, Rina Lopez Bautista, remains as passionate, as determined, and as driven as she was when she cofounded the nonprofit in 1999 to help uplift public education in the Philippines.
Lopez Bautista says social awareness and a yearning to help others was ingrained in her from an early age.
“In Assumption (Assumption College), we were taught to help others. But it was after I joined SKY (SKY Cable Corporation) in the early 1990s that I realized how blessed we are to be in a position to help fellow Filipinos. Old-timers (pre-martial law employees of ABS-CBN or Meralco) would come up to me and say, ‘Your grandfather helped me and my family...’ It was his legacy, it is our family legacy. We help not just with money or material resources, we give much of our time, creativity and social capital to help others in the best possible way. We are lucky to be standing on the shoulders of giants—our forebears, my dad, his brothers and sister, my brothers and cousins—they have worked so hard so that our family can have the wherewithal to help others. We are extremely grateful to all of them and to our partners.”
She recalls speeches her dad, Lopez Group chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez, gave when he was still chairman of the Group (until June 2010).
“We listened to so many of his speeches and it would alwaysbegin with our ancestors in the 1800s, who helped so many during their time. Back then, I’d wonder why my dad would have to start all the way back from 1800s but now I see the wisdom. It was for us to know who we are, where we came from and what is possible. This is what drives me to continue doing what I do.”
With an average of about 25 people on staff, boosted seasonally by interns and volunteers, its partners and very supportive Board of Trustees, KCFI has successfully reached 15% of its target 22 million students in 47,000 public schools. This is no mean feat, considering that when it started operations, the public school system only had 15 million students in 40,000 schools.
KCFI continues to produce curriculum-based learning videos that air for free on the alleducational Knowledge Channel, which is available on SKY Cable, SKYdirect, ABS-CBN TVplus, partner cable and satellite providers, its website (knowledgechannel.org) and its YouTube channel. It is now available on Knowledge TV, its newest platform that brings learning resources on-air, online and offline. Aside from the Gift of Knowledge, through which sponsors provide Knowledge Channel (KCh) learning packages to public schools, KCFI continues to train teachers through LEEP (Learning Effectively through Enhanced Pedagogies).
“Teachers are the most critical element of children’s learning in a classroom. We want to help them teach better so that students learn better,” says Lopez Bautista.
As can be gleaned from the cover story, the foundation continues to find new ways to meet the needs of its stakeholders.
“You don’t stop thinking… at home, in the car, you don’t stop thinking. Our country’s performance in education is dismal and is even going down. We are now focusing where it all starts… the early childhood years, when brain structure is laid down. Thirty percent of Filipino kids are stunted. If we don’t do anything, our country, our people will suffer even more. Because we are in a space where we could help, it is doubly imperative that we do,” says Lopez Bautista, who now concurrently serves as head of the education arm of ABS-CBN Integrated Public Service.
Her message to “LopezLink” readers: “Education is the key to progress. Today, so much can still be done to help more people through education. Each of us can contribute, knowing and honing our talents and passion, and using them to help improve the lives of our fellow Filipinos. Let’s do it together! Be a Knowledge Champion today. Call us at 3415-2272 loc. 5197 to see how you can help, whether as an individual or as a corporation. Let’s all help because we can.”