Shasha wishes kids could go back to school


Shasha, 7, beams with happiness as she and other young children in her neighbor practice dancing imitating a dance group via a video channel.

“Children nowadays love to dance, which is a good after-class break,” says Carla, 28, Shasha’s mother, who are watching the children.

Children below 18 years old are not yet allowed to go out in Shasha’s community. They can only go out within their neighborhood.

Like other students, Shasha takes her lesson online. The Philippine’s Department of Education still prohibits physical classes to keep students safe from COVID-19.

Despite the intermittent Wifi signal, Shasha’s managing quite well, answering and listening to her teachers and classmates through an old mobile phone that belongs to her mother. “This is what we’re using both for online classes, calls and texts,” her mother explains. The family has three children, two are elementary students and have different school schedule.

The family’s meager income from Shasha’s father, Oliver, 48, a construction worker, is not sufficient for the family to buy a gadget for their children’s online classes. “Oliver just started his construction job recently. He was jobless for months due to the pandemic. He couldn’t go anywhere to look for a job. Those were really struggling months for us,” Carla recalls.

That time, Carla had to help the family by doing manicure and pedicure at home. “A few of my neighbors would come here and had their nails done. I earned between Php140 to Php400 in a day. But there were days when we had nothing. We just have to stretch the money we had at hand earned days ago. It was tough,” Carla explains.

Life even got tougher for the family when the Department of Education announced that hybrid form of classes would resume. “Where are we going to buy her school supplies? The Internet? These were my initial concerns,” the mother says.

Knowing the difficulties of families trying to survive the pandemic, World Vision distributed school supplies to aid those struggling through the rough patch as they work to land on their feet. “It was a relief to me when I heard that World Vision will be giving school supplies. Even if Shasha is doing online classes, she still needs books and papers to write her lessons and other notes. We’ve saved money because of World Vision’s school supplies,” Carla says.

“These are what World Vision gave us!” Shasha interrupts, showing her bag. “It has books, notebooks, pens. I’ve read these books. Mama helps me read it.”

Carla adds that they were able to use the money she saved from the savings group that World Vision formed before the pandemic. “Last December 2020, I saved Php10,000. I used that mostly to buy food,” she says.

Carla says that they are doing fine now after her husband found a new construction job, and the Philippine government allowed travel albeit with requirements and a few restrictions.

When asked which one she likes best: studying in school or at home, Shasha says, “I wish and love to go back to school. I miss my teachers and classmates.”

When she has no classes, Shasha loves to play with her neighbor kids.