Former Classmates Reunite to Give Back to Jeepney Drivers Who Helped Them in HS

Not all superheroes have fancy, magical cars, some of them have jeepneys.
by Bernadette Rivera   |  Aug 25, 2020
Image: FACEBOOK/TondoTsuperHeroes
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Reviving your *dead* high school batch group chat for a reunion is one thing, but reviving it to ask your batch mates to build a fundraising campaign for jeepney drivers is another. In this feature, Candy talks to Nathaniel Aguinaldo, a 21-year-old Mechanical Engineering student from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, on how their GC became a springboard for this fundraising campaign.

Nathaniel revived their batch’s group chat to ask them if they could join him in his advocacy for Tondo, Manila jeepney drivers, who were once part of their lives when they were still in high school—because jeepney is the main form of transportation in Tondo. Going to the palengke? There’s a jeep. Going to school? Jeep. Going to the mall? Jeep. They are basically there for us all the time, but now they need our help. That’s why Nathan decided to help the drivers who are affected by the pandemic and jeepney phase-out through a project called Tondo Tsuper Heroes.

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Posted by Tondo Tsuper Heroes on Thursday, June 11, 2020

Tondo Tsuper Heroes is a student-led initiative that aims to provide help for the jeepney drivers in Tondo through a fundraising campaign led by Nathan and his 2016 batch mates from Holy Child Catholic School in Tondo, Manila.

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In an interview with Nathan via Messenger, he said that it all started when one of his friends in college asked him to volunteer to distribute and repack goods for the jeepney drivers which, unfortunately, he declined due to personal circumstances. So that’s why he decided to create a campaign with the help of his high school friends.

“I asked them if I could start a donation drive for Tondo jeepney drivers since I couldn’t go to the distribution and repacking venue for jeepney drivers along Rizal Ave. It was June 10, 2020, when I messaged my high school friends if they want to start a donation drive for jeepney drivers in Tondo and they agreed within a second. Nabuhay muli ‘yung GC namin. On that day, we also planned what to give, assigned tasks to everyone, and the rest is history.”

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“On the celebration of Independence Day 2020, we launched our first post for the donation drive,” he added.

According to Nathaniel, in a span of two months, they already helped 247 jeepney drivers. 91 for their first wave of donations and 126 on the second wave, and they still have donations left to be added on their next drive.

They are currently accepting any form of donations, whether cash or in-kind. When asked about the estimated amount of cash they've collected so far, Nathan said that they've almost P120,000 but that they prioritize food and medical/hygiene kit donations for their protection when they’re driving.

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