Ten years; a decade is a long time. To sustain something – anything in this amount of time entails dedication and commitment. These two values were indeed the driving forces behind snacks company Mondelez Philippines’ Joy Schools program. Celebrating 10 years this 2021, the program has made an impact on thousands of public-school children both in terms of their health and education.
Mondelez Philippines is a snack maker with many beloved brands as part of its portfolio – Tang, Eden Cheese, Cheez Whiz, Toblerone, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Oreo, and Tiger. The company’s purpose is to empower people to snack right, with the right snack, for the right moment and made the right way. The Company is guided by its values which are to love consumers and brands, grow every day, and do what’s right.
“For us, doing what’s right means actively helping build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable world – socially and economically. We do this through our colleagues, culture, and community,” explains Ashish Pisharodi, Country Director of Mondelez Philippines. “For the past 10 years, we have been committed to driving inclusion for one very important but under-represented community group – public school children. There is no question investing in the future of children is very important – by giving them a fair opportunity for the life they wish for. The Joy Schools program aims to help level the playing field for children – to be provided with the nutrition and thus educational support they need to reach for a brighter future. We dare to dream that many of these children will grow up to realize their potential to become pillars of society, leaders and nation builders.”
Through the Joy Schools program, the Company has helped improve nutrition through a 9-month feeding program and supported educational improvement for more than 5,300 students in the Philippines. This is through the adoption of 19 elementary schools in total, for some 2 years at a time, and also touched the lives of tens of thousands of other students, teachers, and parents in the process. Started in the Philippines, the Joy Schools program model has also been implemented in other business units of the Company in South East Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
“The impact we are creating goes well beyond just the numbers,” adds Pisharodi. “What fills our hearts are the individual stories of the children who have been part of our program. There are countless accounts of children’s school attendance improving, in part to be able to receive their daily meal, which sometimes is the only full meal they can look forward to in the day. How these simple but energy and nutrient-filled meals strengthen them to be much more active in class. And how their continued participation in class has improved their grades throughout the school year. These stories inspire us and keep us going. Stories of hope for a brighter outlook in life.”
“The Joy Schools Program helped our school become more productive towards excellence, produce good and healthy students, helped teachers become efficient, and was a big help towards achieving good results on our National Achievement Test,” shares Teacher Irish Gregorio of Padre Zamora Elementary School, which was part of the Joy Schools program.
“The Joy Schools program is special to Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) for Mondelez Philippines’ determination to support the growth of students,” adds Elvin Ivan Uy, Executive Director of PBSP. “As their partner for many years, we have seen how the Company has made it a priority to provide programs and support that make immediate as well as long term impact. From a sustained feeding program for almost the entire school year to educational materials support, and to engaging its people in very well-attended volunteering activities. It’s the combined effort from the Company that shows not only us but the students and teachers that they are supported and valued.”