Volunteer teacher goes the extra mile to reach remote learners

“The chance to teach children, especially the underserved, is one of the best experiences as an educator,” says Pingkie Abas Guiabel, 26, World Vision volunteer learning facilitator.

Pingkie joins World Vision’s Strengthening Community Adaptive Capacities in the Midst of Pandemic and Conflict Emergency Context project as a volunteer teacher in Maguindanao. “The ministry of education tapped us to participate in this wonderful activity. Since I am not yet certified as a professional teacher when the program started, I thought that this would be a good opportunity for me to learn and share my experience as an educator,” she says. She adds that this is one of the best decisions she made in her life.

“The experience was not easy. We visited remote barangays situated in the mountains of Maguindanao. The struggle of traveling by foot is very tiring yet upon arriving and seeing the smiles of the children and parents waiting for us, everything is worthwhile,” she says.

Due to the pandemic, the Department of Education together with World Vision strive to continue the learning journey of children in their homes “This is not a simple task,” she says.

The volunteer teacher underscores that there is the need of multi-faceted collaboration including the parents and communities to make this a success. “We cannot do this alone. We need the help of the parents for they are the ones who directly engage with their children at home.”

At first, she is a bit hesitant that the approach might not be as effective compared to normal classes in schools. “I thought that this would be twice difficult, delivering the classes in the communities. I assumed that the parents and children will not be fully committed to accomplish the learning materials and workbooks we provided,” she admits.

“However, upon assessing the children, the improvements are significantly good compared to the first time we met them,” she proudly declares. Many children have improved their reading and writing skills using the workbooks. “I honestly thought that the adults are the ones answering the assignments but when we conducted a face-to-face assessment, the children really did well, validating the results of their grades.”

“One of the features of this initiative is the involvement of parents in supporting and assisting their children,” she states. She is amazed on how enthusiastic the parents are. “Although most parents in those communities are not formally educated, their eagerness to help their children is overwhelming.”

“My phone is always busy because a lot of parents call and message me, asking something about the materials. Considering the communication accessibility in the areas, they really look for phone signal just to reach me. This really touches my heart,” expresses Pingkie.

“We are not only continuing the learners’ education in their homes, we are also giving the parents an opportunity to learn alongside with their children.” She says that the project creates an avenue for them to spend time as a family learning together.

Pingkie shares that this is her way to pay it forward. The chance to help her fellow Maguindanaoans specifically the children.

“I would like to thank World Vision for this learning opportunity you have provided. Also, the allowances that we have received from the project helped me support my personal endeavors including paying for my licensure examination expenses.  I am a proud to share that I am now a licensed teacher fully equipped with passion towards children’s education in my own community,” she concludes.