by Jane Taguicana
Mayrose Salvador is changing the world through better science education.
Through the charity Pueblo Science she co-founded six years ago, she has been to different parts of Canada and the world, lugging around her bag full of kits and making Science fun and accessible to everyone. Behind her are hundreds of volunteers and in front of her are teachers eager for more experiments they can bring back to their students.
“I started Pueblo Science because of my desire to give back to the community by helping children living in remote areas of the Philippines to overcome poverty,” said Mayrose, a petite woman whose eyes widen whenever she speaks about her experience with the charity.
Mayrose hails from Vintar, Ilocos Norte, a village with about 30,000 people. Her love of science came from a Grade 5 teacher who challenged her class to do a science fair project. She collected a common plant sambong and turned it into an anti-mosquito coil.
“My love of science was further nurtured in high school with projects like collecting rocks from the mountains and the rivers and identifying them, or splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen and then exploding the hydrogen afterwards; performing all the experiments under a tree since we did not have proper laboratories,” recalled Mayrose who has earned her doctorate at University of Toronto after finishing her bachelor degree at University of the Philippines.
The charity works with educators and local co-ordinators, teachers and department of education in conceptualizing the science kits. These are based on the local curriculum, community needs and teacher knowledge with a desire to engage students.
Pueblo Science now has reached 2,000 teachers and 210,000 students in Canada, the Philippines, Thailand, Guyana, Bolivia and India.
Cristina Pusta, a teacher at Brokenshire College Toril in Davao City, started attending seminars conducted by Pueblo Science in 2012. She never missed a workshop since then.
“The teacher’s camp taught us to conduct science experiments using readily available materials. I hesitated to do experiments then because the school lacks material and tools, but Pueblo Science helped us become innovative and resourceful teachers.”
She used to discuss theories only in class but after doing the experiments she learned from the workshops, the kids became more excited and eager to learn, “especially during laboratory hours.”
Cristina’s students are not the only ones reaping the fruit from Pueblo Science, she said she also now has her own mini-Pueblo Science camp in school where she teaches her fellow educators everything from DNA extraction, soap making to cryptography.
Leo Mui, who is one of the 600 volunteers of the Toronto-based charity, said it’s this kind of enthusiasm that inspires him to volunteer.
Leo is a co-founder of an infection control solutions provider and was extremely excited to join the 600 volunteers of Pueblo Science. Combining his love of travel and volunteerism are what attracted him to the charity. He joined Pueblo during a trip to Palawan and was amazed by the energy of the teachers.
“It was hot inside and outside, and every day’s work was physically and mentally exhausting; however speaking with the high school teachers and seeing their passion for improving their craft made it work it for me. These teachers, who probably aren’t paid much to begin with, spent their vacation time and their own money to travel to the city, some of them were from six to seven hours away) in order to complete our program.”
Mayrose is gearing up for fundraising this December to further deliver programs in Ontario and different parts of the world. Her target is to increase the charity’s reach to 1,000 teachers per year and for students to pursue careers in sciences.
For now, it brings her so much pride to know that some of Cristina’s students have been using Pueblo Scienxe’s ice cream making technique to provide for their families.
“The enterprising students scaled up the procedure we taught, added local flavours like durian, and are now selling homemade ice cream to people in their communities.”
And that’s how you start to change the world through science education, one step at a time.
Pueblo means villages; Pueblo Science brings quality science education to remote villages around the world.
For more info on how to volunteer or donate, visit http://puebloscience.org