Bagong Kulturang Pinoy, Inc. was founded by Rowena Jimenez “as a personal dream that snowballed into a vision shared by many people.” Her dream was sparked in 1997 when, during an extended stay in the Philippines, she witnessed the neighborhood children’s curiosity and interest in the picture books her children had brought with them from the U.S. It was as if the books were "the greatest novelty in the world." This realization prompted her to set up a read-aloud program in her own living room in Barangka, Marikina.
When Rowena returned to Massachusetts in 1998, she earned the support of friends. One friend provided $20,000 in seed money from a recent inheritance. Lilibeth Aristorenas and Judi Babcock were eager to help. Judi Babcock recruited Ralph Hammond, a Rotarian and retired elementary school principal, who later helped BKP procure Rotary Grants for literacy training. Lilibeth recruited her friend, Alice Quilicot, who headed up BKP in the Philippines. Lilibeth, Judi and Ralph served on the first board and for many years afterwards. Judi is currently co-executive director. They and other friends helped to form BKP, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to encourage a reading culture among poverty-stricken children in the Philippines.
In 1999, the first BKP library was inaugurated in Daraga, Albay. In 2000, BKP Philippines was established with Alice Quilicot, an employee of Adamson University, appointed as Director. BKP Philippines is tasked with monitoring the progress of the libraries, overseeing the training of teachers and volunteers in read-aloud methodologies, and collaborating with other nonprofits with similar missions. Inspired by BKP’s vision, BKP New York was founded by Lorna Messina Hussein and Frederick Quijano in 2009 as an independent chapter. The establishment of BKP California followed in 2010, led by Carolina Clemente Leap and Darlene Rabena.
BKP and its chapters have supported over 200 schools and community libraries throughout the Philippines since 1999 It has forged partnerships with organizations around the world and continues to reach out to friends who share its belief that reading is the key to a strong education and that a strong education is the key out of poverty to a limitless future. BKP is supporting approximately 52 schools, day care centers and community libraries as of July 2016. Several applications to support new schools and community libraries are being processed. If you would like to sponsor a school or community library, please get in touch with us.