(Note: Pilipino Star Ngayon’s Bituin Ng Pag-Asa series looks back and celebrates viral stories of hope and inspiration this 2020.)
As students struggled to cope with “new normal” learning challenges this year, one print shop in Malabon came to the rescue and won the hearts of netizens.
Marvin and Ria Dungao, the husband-and-wife owners of DPI Print Solutions Malabon, went viral in May for their Free Student Worksheets Printing project to help students with their blended and distance learning needs.
The idea to help out struggling students started after the couple increasingly received inquiries about printing of Department of Education (DepEd) modules and worksheets.
“Isang araw pagkatapos namin breakfast mag-asawa, pag-open namin sa e-mails sa printing, ang dami namin inquiry asking kung magkano yung papa-print ng mga modules, worksheets. Tapos may mga nag-wawalk-in sa printing shop,” recalled Marvin in a Light TV interview.
“Tapos pag-sinabi namin yung presyo — P5 per colored printing and P2, black and white — makita mo sa mukha nila parang nadidismaya sila, mag-wa-walkaway.
“Parang nadudurog yung puso mo eh. Habang nandun kami, (naisip namin) bakit hindi natin ibigay na libre, kaya naman yata natin i-shoulder yung cost ng ink and paper,” he said.
Marvin said one might call it “divine intervention” or “inner voice,” but for the first time in his life, he felt the urge to help out.
“By that time, merong something inside me na mararamdaman, bumulong sa akin, na kailangan mong gawin to… tapos tinanong ko siya (my wife) kaagad, ano kaya ba natin?”
Of course, Ria said yes!
From simple worksheets, their free printing initiative went on to benefit college students for their thesis and teachers for their educational materials.
From initially wanting to cater to people from the neigborhood, they were able to serve people from outside their community.
“Naka-receive na kami ng message coming from Cavite, Valenzuela, Pasig, Makati. So ginawa namin, para do’n sa mga malalayo, ginawa namin, every week, pwede kayo mag-paprint, 60 to 100 pages. Basta importante, ipapa-pick up niyo. Kunwari via courier, rider, gano’n,” Marvin told The STAR.
Then from what started out as a few pages a day, they would go on and print out as many as 2,000 pages because support came in.
The couple had said that they never called for donations because they feared that the public might think of their offer as a scam. But friends from here and abroad started contributing money to the cause, while anonymous donors would go to their print shop and leave reams of bond paper.
They did all these despite experiencing difficulties themselves during the pandemic.
The couple shared that their businesses — their main source of income is events photography — suffered loss of income due to the lockdown.
Ria said, “Ibang-iba talaga ‘yung… pasok ng income sa printing versus sa events namin. Sobrang laki talaga no’ng nawala. Kasi zero talaga siya eh.”
But the joy they witnessed in people who availed of their free printing services was priceless.
“Tuwing iabot po namin yung sampung pirasong papel na may lamang worksheets, ang laking gaan sa pakiramdam… Sa pagbibgay ko sa kanila, parang mas ginawan ako nila ng pabor. Ang liit ng binigay ko for that feeling of lightness. Never pa na-experience namin,” Marvin said.
“Makikita mo ‘yung saya ng mga magulang na nagme-message sa’min, nagpapadala ng picture ng mga anak nila na ginagawa ‘yung activity. Parang ang saya lang din. Parang iba ‘yung pakiramdam. Iba ‘yung saya na binibigay sa amin,” Ria said.
Netizens have praised the couple’s act of kindness, calling it a ray of hope during this time of pandemic. But more importantly, it created a ripple effect as they inspired others to do the same.
Though they don’t post as much on social media, their advocacy is still ongoing.
Marvin said, “Hindi naman kailangan ng print shop eh. Ordinary citizen ka na may printer, pwede ka mag-offer sa mga kapitbahay niyo. Kasi kung lahat ng bahay, gagawin ‘yun, hindi na namin kailangan magpadala ng print sa Valenzuela, sa Makati. Kasi sila mismo mayroon na silang sariling grupo a gumagawa no’ sa area nila. So hangga’t may ink saka may paper kami, tuloy-tuloy lang. Hangga’t kaya naman i-finance, tuloy-tuloy lang.”
Watch the inspiring #BituinNgPagasa video about the Dungao couple below: