My grandmother use to say that her kids had to go through such grueling tasks just to enter school; from selling all sorts of food products to walking hours and hours just to reach school premises. Again and again, she would point out that education is the only thing that she can give her kids once all else comes to an end for her. That was why education was, is, and always will be a big deal for us – having spent my childhood years with her and all that.
But you see I never knew first-hand how it would be to make such efforts just to enter school so most of the time I have to rely on stories in order to appreciate the value of education more and more.
So here goes one of those stories…
Just recently I had an opportunity to visit our eSkwela site in Zamboanga City and I sure am grateful to have met quite a lot of people. It was also then and there that I shared a meaningful exchange with Ate Shirley.
Ate Shirley is a third year high school drop out. Married young and now has a 4 year-old son whom she adores. She said that a few months back her husband used to work in Basilan and their family had to endure the condition of being with so many rebels hovering within the vicinity. It was only on the latter part of the year of 2008 that they decided to move back to Zamboanga and start their own sari-sari store. It was the perfect set-up since she now has it in her own hands to help settle their financial whereabouts and take care of her son at the same time. One thing was quite amiss though, somehow she wanted more.
It's a good thing that her neighbor, who's also a district ALS coordinator, told her about eSkwela. She said that she never would've thought that she'll have the opportunity to continue her studies. Armed with her notebook, pen, and sheer determination to learn she continues to strive forward for herself and her family. She then makes it a point to allot her Friday mornings to go to the center even if she had to spend sixty pesos for her back and forth fare. Indeed, looking at her discuss the Circulatory System with her seat mate while she was making notes to bring home that day placed a smile deep in my gut.
Hers is but one of the few stories that was waiting to be heard that afternoon and I did manage to hear a few more but then Ate Shirley's story was just my 'it' for the day. A classic example as to why I'd still have to salute my Lola Cion for her unwavering stance on the value education.