Meet TP’s Ma’am Tess

“Helping Others Makes Me Feel Complete”
by Murugesh K Verlachamy

She’s always got a smile for everyone she meets and is one of the most affable people we’ve ever come across. Say hello to Teresa Maria Abelanes from the School of Engineering.

Often affectionately referred to as “Ma’am Tess” by her students, Teresa passionately spearheads the School of Engineering’s Overseas Community Project (OCP) in Cauyan City, Philippines.  

This strong sense of social responsibility is what drives Teresa to being involved in OCPs.

“Having come from the Philippines, I have seen the poverty people there experience. And having come so far in my life and in my career, I feel it is my duty to extend help.”

“Despite the material possessions we have and the successes we have achieved, there comes a point when you feel there is something missing from your life. And for me, that void is filled by helping others. It makes me feel complete,” she said.

Whilst Teresa’s account has shown how staff can benefit from overseas trips, do our students stand to gain just as much? Well, they most certainly do.

Teresa strongly believes that these character building trips help make students more mature.

“Students may be playful on campus but when on OCP, you see their characters change overnight. They become leaders and perform their tasks diligently knowing there is a community relying on them.”

During the installation of solar powered lights for more than 70 homes in the village, the students took the initiative to devise a new plan that improved the efficiency of this task.

“The plan that they came up with helped utilise the existing resources better. I was so proud of them!”

Check out Ma’am Tess and our School of Engineering students in action at Sitio Manalpaac!

Video by Muhammad Fadly Bin Mahdar & Murugesh K Verlachamy