Friday, 19 July 2013

Education for the Poor

Project Dimension, a livelihood program which I authored, with partners such as  the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Brother International and National Center for Indigenous Peoples is a three months old project at the Ati Community in Boracay, Island, Aklan, Philippines. The Ati is the aboriginal ethnic group of the Filipino race.  Today, they remained poor, in fact, many have been forgotten through time.

When I started the livelihood project, as in many cases I experienced in the past, one has to be ready to face other challenges other than the main objective to teach the community how to fish for life.

At the Ati Community, I work with housewives as a volunteer. There are some lazy afternoons we chat about life—in most cases, about problems in their lives. Angie, one of our women leaders was with their tribal chieftain Nang Delsa, expressing their wish for help  to the only seven high school kids in their community. While they are now enrolled, they struggle to pay the cost of tuition which to a rich man’s pocket is only so little in equivalent.

Weeks ago, I posted in facebook who may want to help these young people continue their school and I was immediately  blessed with three Filipinos abroad who are going to help. We need more people to help us. A sacrifice for a rich man’s purchase of a pair of shoes will mean  one full semester of their public education.
I believe the wide gap in education between the affluent and those who are of the lowest income bracket in our society is very alarming, if not maddening,  today. I been once a teacher in an exclusive school in Manila, I was appalled how the affluent students pay so much tuition and  do not enter their classes for the whole semester wasting their money on something others may have used in their schooling.
With economic difficulties, many poor parents, specially the jobless aborigines,  can no longer send their children to school. While there may be some social programs, the disparity for the rich and the poor to avail of education is for me seems a contrast of blatant disregard of humanity for the poor to remain poor and improve their lives because they are not educated. In the village, alone, with so many kids,  only six teeners are in high school.
One of my community assistants last summer named Dave, also a native of the community, was a young, hard-working and inspiring teenager who is lucky to study Anthropology on scholarship in an indigenous school in Davao City. He is sharp and I can see him lead the entire community one day. He was doing odd jobs to in Boracay island for him to raise money for the onset of his school. Another girl is also on scholarship taking up entrepreneurship in a college in Iloilo City. The high school students aspire to be like them.
I know it is not really my job to work on this concern, but I feel I can do something like connect the community with those who has the heart to help and try to make a difference in our society.

If you want to help, please email me at or message me here my facebook . Your help will be officially processed with an educational organization in the community which we will form for them so that all assistance is properly accounted for with receipts from schools and other documents will be furnished to you. You may select a student to “adopt” you  want to help, just let us know their name/s. We will inform the student of who their sponsors are and will publish your support. You will be able to keep in  touch with the students in the near future by internet or you may visit them one day in the community. It is not the amount, it is your heart. 

A Php 5 donation with so many who could help will be like droplets of water enough to fill up the pail. 

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