From Left: Director Pamela Arcangel, Director Bellce Gontard, Chairman Nicolas Gontard, Director Father Raphael Siapno, Joel Chamberlain, Director Amy Dallison, Director Elizabeth Roces, Director Martin Roces.
Espoir School of Life Inc. is an non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) registered in the Philippines and approved by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC Company Reg. No. CN201639171).
Espoir was founded by Frenchman Nicolas Gontard & his wife Bellce Gontard in 2016 with the help of its Directors Amy Dallison, Elizabeth & Martin Roces, Father Raphael Siapno & Pamela Arcangel.
The location of the school was decided after consulting the Department of Education. The local government of Siargao Island and the Gawad Kalinga (GK) NGO gave access to land to Espoir in the GK village of Lobogon to build the school.
Director Amy Dallison & Project Manager Joel Chamberlain spent a considerable of time pro bono in Siargao in 2016. Amy was in charge of establishing first contact with the local government and the DepEd, setting the curriculum, writing the school rules for students and the "sweat equity" program requiring parents to contribute time in exchange for a free education for the kids.
Joel was the Project Manager in charge of the construction of the first classroom and gardens, testing various design elements and eco-frienfly products to establish a standard for future buildings.
The first classroom was called AMEL, a combination of their first names, in recognition for their unselfish contribution to ESPOIR.
From Left: Joel Chamberlain & Director Amy Dallison
The initial investment was made by Nicolas & Bellce Gontard to cover the construction of the first classroom and the first year of operations. The objective was to ensure that external funding & donations would only start once the project was well under way, with the NGO registered, the first classroom built, the first teacher hired and the first school year completed.
Nicolas & Bellce will continue to inject money every year, but due to the size of the project which will provide education from Kindergarten (K) to High School (Year 2) to potentially up to 300 students, donors and sponsors are needed for the long term sustainability of the project.
From Left: Director Bellce Gontard with husband Nicolas Gontard, founder and chairman of Espoir.