Five Star Bus Rolls out Lakbay Aklatan
Aiming to give back to the community and as part of its nation-building efforts, Five Star Bus Company, together with Hulma Foundation, launches a mobile library in Laoang Elementary School in Tarlac. The project, named Lakbay Aklatan, aims to repurpose retired Five Star buses into mobile libraries that can reach children even in far-flung places.
Ria Cauton of Five Star Bus Company and Trustee of Hulma Foundation said in an interview that “we always relied on our buses to get people to where they needed to be, so it made sense to reuse and convert retired buses for a greater purpose – to reach out to children and accompany them in their journey towards literacy. A mobile library, naklalakbay na silid-aklatan, Lakbay Aklatan.”
When asked how the project came to fruition, Mrs. Cauton shared that it was one of Hulma Foundation’s scholars, Danille Soriano that raised the issue on illiteracy in public schools due to little or no access to books or libraries—an issue which a bus firm could address. Ms. Soriano, an education graduate in Tarlac State University expressed her belief that strengthened literacy equates to better learning, which then leads to a brighter future.
“Literacy is very close to us as an organization because we believe in continuous learning. For me, as a young mother, I am witness to the joy of my children when they discover the joy of learning,” Cauton says.
Lakbay Aklatan is a literacy and comprehension program that focuses on children grades 1 and 3 – which the company considers as the most critical age when it comes to learning how to read. The bus is equipped with a multi-category book collection in both English and Filipino, and even toys that strengthen pre-literacy skilled inspired by the Montessori system, a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play.
The bus will also organize a focused reading program where three education graduates are tasked to tutor children one-by-one. Ms. Soriano will be one of the teachers, along with Jesseca Diona and Merwin Dio Gastar, who will run the operations. “We also take it slowly so that we can work closely with principals and teachers. We also have orientation modules to set expectations and explain what we are doing,” Cauton explains.
The mobile library will be stationed in four more schools before the end of 2019 for their pilot stage namely Laoang, San Juan de Valdez, Mapalad, and Carangian. Cauton hopes for the success of the pilot stage to expand the project and reach more children in the near future.
Five Star’s bus transformation cements the company’s belief that strengthened reading proficiency is the foundation of a brighter future and is the start of the company’s advocacy and long-term vision of nation-building efforts.