October 18, 2021

More than just a ‘Circle of Friends’


There is a group that I discovered who call themselves the Circle of Friends, led by my wonderful neighbor, Professor Nelia Cruz Sarcol, who is the founder, president and CEO of the CIE British Schools, with campuses in the cities of Makati, Cebu and Tacloban.

She is fondly called “Teacher Nelia” by almost everyone. She did a fantastic job of gathering and organizing her friends to form a new Rotary Club, soon to be called the Rotary Club of Makati Circle of Friends of District 3830. CIE will soon become a corporate member and partner of this club too.

They just recently submitted their charter papers for approval by Rotary International. They began as a satellite club of Rotary Club of Makati Gems, and proved to be a super workaholic bunch.

This group of friends have been very busy with their various advocacies which include projects in collaboration with the Philippine Red Cross Manila Chapter and Rancho ni Cristo, a shelter for rescued young girls from online sexual exploitation and abuse by their very own friends and family members.

They also helped Taal eruption evacuees, as well as those affected by typhoons and flooding. This pandemic, they had food augmentation projects in informal settlements through food pantries and house-to-house distributions. Plus, they had built houses for the homeless, among other awesome projects.

However, the main advocacy of the Circle of Friends is education. As a Rotary Satellite Club, they already awarded 10 merit scholarships for master’s in management degrees with a special interest in social innovation. The circle wants to bring this advocacy nationwide.

And as soon as the Circle of Friends becomes a full-fledged Rotary Club, they will relaunch their signature project called Tunay na Iskolar ng Bayan in support of education and to help grow the local economy in collaboration with the CIE British Schools and CIE Global Colleges.

They plan to collaborate with Tesda for as well, since one of their charter members is Dr. Leonida “Baby” Bayani-Ortiz, a board member of this school. She will serve as co-chair this to become a national project with Teacher Nelia at its helm. Dr. Baby is currently preparing for the needs assessment sessions and focus group discussion with Tesda and other stakeholders.

With the slogan “No More Dropouts!” the learning platform for this is an integrated set of interactive online courses aimed to fulfill the objective of the learner to earn a certificated course or courses that will help them become more productive and employable.

The Tunay na Iskolar ng Bayan program will offer limited slots for Senior High School students from public schools. Relevant subjects the learner has passed and earned credits from other schools may be accepted by CIE in this project, for as long as those subjects are aligned with the course they are applying to.

This project can even allow the scholar to finish a bachelor’s degree in business, information and communications, or a master’s degree in management for free, using the sequential progression scheme or better known in the Philippines as the ladderized approach.

This project is being made possible by the CIE British Schools and the CIE Global Colleges of the Centre for International Education, a not-for-profit educational corporation.

This is also in line with the 35th up to the 40th Ruby Founding Anniversary of CIE, from 2020 to 2025, whose theme is “The CIE Human Resource Agenda: Upskilling of the Filipino Youth.”

The project is open to any Filipino, whose aged 15 to 30, and who can pass the screening process.

To Teacher Nelia, continue to do your worthwhile projects and congratulations. More power!

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