Submitted by Maria Lea Ungson, PCC, Haraya Coaching

Haraya Sibol is the community development initiative of Haraya Coaching to partner and support the education sector in the Philippines. They work with individuals, communities and community partners to help change mindsets, inspire and equip our youth to feel more empowered about their future. “Sibol” is a Filipino word which means sprout, bud, or growth. It signifies new life, a new beginning. It’s their take on partnership in practical personal growth and development. Sibol was established based on the belief that the studying youth is the hope of our future and coaching and supporting them with basic life skills will prepare them to navigate through life beyond school. They also believe that practical coaching and life skills have a space in the schools; and educators will benefit from being equipped with various engagement and self-awareness tools.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Haraya Sibol thought about how, as coaches, they could help the community during this challenging period. The Philippines, as a developing country, was challenged in transitioning the educational system from the conventional physical set-up to a blended and/or virtual set-up considering that a significant part of the country has inadequate and/or no access to technology and infrastructure. Both educators and students struggled to transition to the new normal mode of learning, not to mention their own personal challenging experiences around prolonged lockdown, work/study from home set-up/boundaries, loss of jobs/businesses, health fears, emotional and mental wellbeing. Maria Lea Ungson says “Our desire to help the community led us to organize a group of coaches who volunteered to provide pro bono coaching. We partnered with a number of educational organizations providing access and support to underprivileged students during pandemic.”

This initiative involved 81 volunteer coaches, 217 coaching hours and 57 learning hours, reaching 1,397 lives. Programs of their partner organizations had a more holistic approach that addressed not just the technical and resource elements of teach, but also the mental and emotion. As a result of this initiative, educators felt supported and motivated as they faced their challenges. As educators receive the gift of coaching, they are inspired to share the same experience with their students, creating a positive ripple effect.