Beating the Odds

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Access to Education, Desk of Tanya, Philippines

In the Philippines, the opportunity for young people to graduate from high school is increasing. However, some families must relinquish the dream for their children to continue their education because of poverty. Most teenagers quit school and work because there are not enough funds to provide the basic needs of their family.

Danny, an Agay child, was one of those whose family was a victim of poverty. He is the eldest son in the family, and his parents expect much from him. The primary source of income for Danny’s family comes from planting rice, corn, and bananas. This income provides just enough to support their basic needs like food and clothing. Rarely do they have leftover funds to pay for education, and when they do, the remaining funds go to his siblings.

Parents let their children work as long as they are capable. Some Agay parents are not aware of the importance of education. If their child can read and write at a basic level, parents think that’s enough for them.  

As youth are forced to drop out of school, many girls end up in domestic labour, and boys fall into construction works or farm labour, where they are at high risk of suffering exploitation and violence. World Hope International has been implementing education programs amongst Indigenous People groups across the Philippines since 1997 and began working to support the holistic wellbeing of the people of the Agay tribe from Cagayan Valley in the northern Philippines in 2002.

In the 15 years since WHI began working in this region many of the traditionally nomadic Agay tribe have settled within the proximity of the government-run Calasitan Primary School where WHI has been implementing a process of community-led transformation. While developments in this community have been great, many challenges persist for the Agay people, including non-inclusive access to education for many Agay children.

Danny’s path for education was full of obstacles and sacrifices, but he persevered. The school Danny attended was 5 kilometers away which meant waking up early in order to catch a motorized tricycle to school.

When Danny ran out of funds he made the difficult decision to skip school so he could work and have the funds for transportation and school supplies. Oftentimes he would show up to school and have no money for lunch and attended afternoon classes on an empty stomach.

Despite these obstacles, Danny graduated high school! His parents are very proud of him and they are so happy that their son finally graduated.  

When asked about his future plans and goals he said, “I want to study criminology. I want other kids to challenge themselves and study hard. I will try my best to finish college.” Although he graduated later than expected, he persisted and never gave up.    

World Hope International has been implementing its education program amongst Indigenous Peoples groups across the Philippines since 1997 and began working to support the holistic wellbeing of the people of the Agay tribe from Cagayan Valley in the northern Philippines in 2002.

You can support WHI’s efforts to empower and build resiliency in the Agay community by giving to The Hope Fund.

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