June 20, 2018
“Ang Alternative Learning System (ALS) ay isang programa na nagbukas muli sa aming pag-asa.”
This was the testimony of 24-year-old Armina A. Omar in front of her fellow ALS high school completers during their graduation at the City Coliseum of Tetuan.
This native of Matikang Lantawan, Basilan has always dreamed of becoming a teacher. But she got tired of their poverty-stricken life – especially the tedious walks going to and from school – so she dropped out of high school during her first year.
She is already a wife and a mother when she signed up as a volunteer teacher in a Madrasah school where she, until now, teaches the ways of Islam to Muslim children ages 5 to 6. The kids rekindled her childhood dream to finish her studies and become a licensed teacher.
When a friend shared the news about ALS being offered in their community, she did not think twice and enlisted herself at Isabela West District. Her parents and husband fully supported her decision.
Being an ALS learner, however, was never a bed of roses for Armina. There were times when she felt bored, and was even tempted to stop attending her learning sessions. Her mother’s words served as her wakeup call: “Magbubulakbol ka na naman? Paano na ang mga pangarap mo?” So she got back on track and took the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test in November 2017.
Armina believes a dream does not come true through magic: “It takes sweat, determination, and hard-work. Despite all the trials in life, I never lose hope; I always pray to Almighty God – Allah – to guide me and open opportunities for me.”
It was an answered prayer for Armina when the results of the exam was released. She did not only pass; she also managed to get one of the highest ratings among all the high school A&E passers in their Division.
But Armina’s education journey does not end here. She is determined to finish her studies and become a teacher so that she can continuously impart knowledge to the children in their community, especially the less fortunate.
As a way of giving back, she is now an ALS advocate – she actively supports and volunteers in the various ALS-related activities in her community.
Ruzlyn F. Rimando
District ALS Coordinator
Isabela City Division
Region IX, Zamboanga Peninsula