In 1998, Edwin Santiago wanted to continue the humanitarian efforts of his parents by anonymously giving back by donating clothes to orphanages, funding senior homes, giving books to schools, and purchasing hundreds of slippers for children living in the streets.

In 2009, Edwin began brainstorming ways to implement a more sustainable effort that would engage his friends and network. Believing in the power of education, and the correlation between literacy and poverty, he dreamed of building a library which would provide tools to learn and give underprivileged kids access to books, educational toys, computers, and the internet.

As his ideas grew bigger and bigger, 101 Heroes was born. Initially designed to illicit the help of 101 of his closest family and friends, the response quickly passed the 101 goal. Today, 101 Heroes is made up of hundreds of donors and participants.

The Pendleton-Goldman Learning Center (PGLC), a 2,400 square foot library and computer center in Marilao, Bulacan was the initial project and garnered support and enthusiasm from friends and strangers who wanted to make a difference. Donations, both large and small, poured in from over 200 donors. The Pendleton-Goldman Learning Center was dedicated on February 26, 2010 with over 20,000 books and 13 brand new computers - a remarkable achievement for an organization that had only been formed 12 months earlier!

Building on the success of the PGLC, and witnessing the tremendous impact it was having on the children and the local community, Edwin was inspired to continue the work of 101 Heroes by constructing more learning centers in the Philippines and Kenya.

Within six short years, 101 Heroes has built eight learning centers:

  • Pendleton Goldman Learning Center
  • Lance Waagner Learning Center
  • Segal Family Learning Center
  • Alan Brown Learning Center
  • Shelly and Carl Learning Center
  • Pendleton Goldman Learning Center 2
  • Ella and Aiden’s Library
  • Segal Learning Center

The library has several programs and amenities, including:

  1. Textbooks for everyday use: The library project is unique because it not only provides reference and general reading books, but also provides the teachers with the tools they need to properly teach the kids.

  2. Reference Books and general reading: The library provides access to a variety of much reference books; these can be read in the comfortable library which seats 60 students, or can be borrowed to take to their classrooms or home.

  3. Art supplies: An art supply loan program provides access to tools that fosters creativity and gives students an opportunity to develop their artistic talents.

  4. Sports supplies: A unique aspect of this library is that we provide the tools for the children to participate in sports such as basketball, soccer and football. Children develop confidence, learn new skills, and stay physically active for overall health and well-being. A healthy body fosters a healthy mind.

  5. Computer Lab: Basic computer skills can help unlock the door to future employment. The library has 16 brand new computers. The Internet has traditionally been blocked by poverty.  Studies show that access to information technology helps reduce the digital gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged.

  6. Audio Visual Equipment: A mobile cart containing a television and DVD player can move from classroom to classroom so that different groups of students can gather and view educational films and documentaries empowering them with knowledge and understanding of the world.

As interest and support continue to grow, 101 Heroes continues to expand its projects in order to impact more lives of children around the world. With your help, more children will have access to education and hope for a better future.

Edwin believes that everyone has their own way of giving back to others. 101 Heroes is his way of giving back and sharing the gift of education with thousands of underprivileged children.

There are a total of 9 homes in the photo. Each home, about 12 ft x 12 ft, has an average of 4-6 people living in it. These houses were provided to families by the National Housing Authority. There is a need for this project in so many places. We have picked a school in Bulacan Philippines based on the size of the student population, economic status of the families, available land the school's ability to sustain the program we have in place. Sadly, homes like these by the River still exist. They're made of plywood, scrap metal and cardboard. A US-based group also listed this river among the 30 dirtiest places in the world due to industrial waste dumping. There are 3700+ kids that will benefit from the library aged 6-12 ... some of them work during the day to help out with the family. Their eagerness to learn is amazing. The library will bring learning to a new level-- it will be the only public elementary school in the Philippines that will make computers accessible to students. The library will also have a room with a full screen projector/tv so that they can watch documentaries and learning programs. The older brother bringing his younger brother to school. Because of classroom shortage, some kids start school at 5:30 a.m.
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