It was more than just a school project for grade 3 students of Adonai Integrated Montessori School in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
For Edward Johanne Y. Quilang, Caleb John H. Bandonil, Ghenard V. Fernandez, John Cedric L. Labugnen, Erelle John S. Clamelo, and Wilfred Neal R. Bernardo, no one is too young to care for the Filipino rice farmers.
When Science teacher Aurora A. Ferrer assigned the students to make different kinds of landforms, the group, led by Quilang, envisioned a landform that would pay tribute to the farmers.
For 3 days, the kids made a recreational area, ricefield and put a helicopter, sports cars, and farm animals on a makeshift rectangular cardboard.
“This is how we want them to live when they are no longer poor,” said Bandonil, the group’s landscape designer.
Sharon C. Caballero, grade 3 class adviser, shared that the students are taught how to value the hard work of Filipino farmers in subjects such as Social Studies .
“They wonder why the farmers in our country are poor, and perhaps that’s the reason why they are more inspired to make a landform that depicts the life of a rich farmer,” she said.
Students Bernardo and Fernandez, both farmers’ children, are happy that they made an art work for their parents whom they hope to be as wealthy as the farmers in other countries.
Youth and agriculture
It is rare to meet youngsters nowadays to have such strong consciousness on agriculture. But what do we have for Adonai boys to help strengthen their interest?
Fortunately, PhilRice created programs and conducts various events to attract the youth to agriculture and raise their consciousness on rice farming.
The institute holds the Lakbay Palay for students. It is a half-day activity where students learn about new machines used in rice farming, new varieties, and information technology support including the PhilRice Text Center and PinoyRice . Young professionals of the Institute also engage the students in discussion to address common misconceptions on agriculture.
In partnership with the Bureau of Plant Industry, National Parks Development Committee, and the Asia Rice Foundation, a rice garden was also established at the Luneta Park in Manila to bring rice farming closer to urban youth. Soon, similar rice gardens will be put up in some major cities of the country.
In 2014, PhilRice re-launched the Rice Science Museum to promote education on rice through culture and arts. Currently, it houses old and modern farm implements, artworks, and interactives on rice structure, ecosystems, biodiversity, and crop management. On average, the museum welcomes 3,000-4,000 guests, mostly students, every month.
The Adonai boys hope that their dreams for the Filipino farmers will not remain in vain. It might take them a lifetime, but the artwork is their first step.