A Teacher’s Promise
Teacher Cecilia, 35, is one of the very few Aetas in her tribe who graduated from college. Her perseverance to graduate stems from her dream to teach the children in her community.
A former Aeta chieftain, Cecilia knows too well why education should be integrated in their culture. “People belittle you when you are not educated. More so because we are Aeta,” she says.
The Aeta is an indigenous group of people living in various parts of the Philippine’s Luzon island. They are primarily nomadic and hunts food in their forested lands.
“When I was young, me and my family would oftentimes move from one place to another to sell our commodities. We would stay one month in a place, then move to a new place for another month. With this lifestyle, going to school was a challenge for me and for any Aeta child then,” Cecilia explains.
But getting a college degree is drummed into Cecilia’s head from the beginning that despite her family’s condition, she crawled her way through second year high school — a feat uncommon in her tribe.
Ten years after, opportunity knocked on her door when the local government officials offered her to take the Alternative Learning System (ALS), a form of learning system in the Philippines offered to individuals who want to complete primary and secondary education. Cecilia took the opportunity.
Studying again after 10 years was difficult, especially Mathematics,” Cecilia shares, laughing. “When I took an exam to see if I’m fit to enter college, I failed on my first take. I tried again the following year and was fortunate this time.”
Cecilia passed the readiness exam in 2010 and enrolled in a nearby community college where she took Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEEd).
“I was going to school like my children. My daily routine was to prepare our food in the morning then we go to school. In the afternoon, I need to sell herbal medicine to another town,” Cecilia recalls, adding that her children didn’t mind that she was also a student like them.
But two years to her course, she stopped. “I was a working student and a mother of young children. I only earned between Php200-Php700 selling herbal medicine that we used for our daily needs. My husband had no regular work. Sometimes, he had work for weeks, and other weeks, none. My daily allowance then was only P50, enough to cover for my transportation. Our financially tight situation forced me to forgo my schooling,” she recalls.
Cecilia stopped for more than 6 years. In those years, her ambition to be a teacher never ebbed. She was on this situation when she received news that she qualified for a scholarship.
Around this time as well, World Vision took one of her school-aged children to its sponsorship program. World Vision’s assistance eases the difficulty of the family of sending their children to school. “We did not have to spend for school materials because World Vision already provided those to us,” she adds.
World Vision also empowers families in Cecilia’s tribe by supporting them with livelihood opportunities that includes provision of hogs as alternative form of livelihood.
Cecilia graduated college in 2019. “I am one of the only two teachers in our community with 78 families. I am really grateful to people who helped me and my family,” she proudly says.
She is currently teaching children in her community.
Her dream finally came true.
Child Sponsorship is more than just a monetary contribution. It brings Hope, Joy and Justice to vulnerable Filipino children. When you become a child sponsor, you are embarking on a mission to help empower the disadvantaged, respond to their most immediate needs when disasters happen, make health and education accessible for children, lead communities toward self-sufficiency through livelihood opportunities, and so much more. You do not just impact a child, you impact his or her community.