FPVI Uswag, Virtually
The rapid advances in communication technology and the complete shift to virtual meetings
and sessions during this pandemic disadvantaged many in rural areas where internet connectivity is poor, if at all available. FPVI, nonetheless, stayed in regular touch with all the children in our care using devices available, primarily the early version of Android phones, and providing each phone with regular credits. FPVI maximized the utility of these devices for online tutorials and virtual sessions that were oftentimes interrupted by rain or thunderstorms, causing the internet connection to drop or die.
Zoom we don't do at FPVI as the children do not have the right devices to support the app, but we do group chats using Messenger, the easiest and most popular way to have online gatherings in rural areas. We have also devised Uswag (meaning, “Come in” in Waray, our local dialect), FPVI's own rudimentary version of gathering the children virtually.
FPVI's Uswag sessions go beyond academic learning and enable the children to discover important facets of their own families and communities. At the same time, they afford the viewers a peek into rural life. The feelings and sentiments emerging from the characters and circumstances are starkly real and will resonate with rural lives everywhere.