Project Management

Safe & Sound: An afterschool center project became a template for future initiatives

Jen Thomas, and PM Network

Project manager Cecilie Wang and architect Jakob Gate started with a personal mission rather than a specific project in mind. In late 2016, feeling unfulfilled by the work they were doing in the commercial sector, the two decided to leave their respective firms in London, England and pursue opportunities to do good elsewhere.

With limited funding from the Sheryl Lynn Foundation, Ms. Wang and Mr. Gate moved to the Philippines, intending to stay for a year. They soon began collaborating with local nongovernmental organization Rural Development Initiative (RDI), in Ormoc City on the island of Leyte, to determine the most pressing needs for the area. They quickly learned that many children had nowhere to go after the final school bell rang.

"The kids often were playing along the streets and working for parents," says Ms. Wang, who now runs the design studio that was born out of the Philippines project, Native Narrative, from Copenhagen, Denmark with Mr. Gate. "There was really a need for afterschool facilities, which was something they didn’t have in any villages around where we were working."

So in partnership with RDI—and with funding from the Sheryl Lynn Foundation and Mayor Richard Gomez of the Ormoc City Government—Ms. Wang and Mr. Gate got to work designing and constructing their first Children’s Learning Center in the …

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