The School in a Cart

“The School in a Cart” of Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines, was started in 2008 by Alfredo Olavidez and Nonie Samonte, with financial help from the Mabuhay Christian Home. Alfredo and Nonie are two compassionate members of the community who could not ignore the urgent, glaring needs of the children living on the streets. The school is an alternative, innovative approach to learning that steers the children toward obtaining an education and helps break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty in their families.

The secret to “The School in a Cart” is that it goes where the kids are, whether that’s on street corners or in the parks where they play. The school has 8 regularly attending boys and 12 girls, ranging from ages 4 to 10, although it feeds and reaches out to countless others. The mobile school carries with it toys for learning and library books, as well as a laptop computer. No fees are required, and lunches are free.

Alfredo and Nonie believe in the potential of all children to grow up and give back to their homeland, and they feel that it is their responsibility to help each child realize his or her individual strengths and unique talents. One of their students, when asked, said that he wanted to become the President of the Philippines. They encourage his dream.

The School in a Cart’s Active Objectives are:

  • To see their students attend regular school and continue studying throughout college;
  • To instil moral values within each student and throughout the homeless community;
  • To love and respect all street-children;
  • To uphold the reputation of being a steady, reliable, long-term source of learning and care;
  • To teach practical life-skills, such as nutrition, as well as reading, writing, and math;
  • To see to each student’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Future Goals include:

  • To open a preschool, in addition to “The School in a Cart”; Alfredo and Nonie are currently negotiating with the Women’s Club of Cubao to use their preschool facilities, which have been idle for the past 5 years. Once the space is obtained, it will need to be renovated;
  • To grow their scholarship fund in order to put dedicated students through college.

Wish List:

  • Books, pens and paper;
  • Locally produced materials to teach the children about their culture and heritage;
  • Money for food: $100 can provide 10-15 meals for the children.

Success Stories:

  • Ningning Philippines Education Fund, administered by Alfredo and Nonie, pays for three young students from one of the poorest slums in Quezon City to attend college. “Ningning” means to sparkle, shine.

The School in a Cart uses a wheel to represent its founding principles.  The 4 spokes–“Karunungan” (Education), “Kabuhayan” (Livelihood), “Kalusugan” (Health), and “Kabuluhan” (spiritual values)–are attached to the hub of the wheel, or God, who is at the center of their ministry. “Gulong ng Buhay,” written on the cart, means Wheel of Life.

The School in a Cart operates under the Securities and Exchange Commission registration of the Mabuhay Christian Home SEC No. CN200254523.