PASIG CITY, August 17, 2018 – Partnership between the Department of Education (DepEd) and Uplift Cares Global Movement Foundation enabled 214 learners to graduate with high school diploma under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program on August 7 at the Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) Center in Pasig City.
“Una sa lahat, congratulations because you took the opportunity to be in an ALS Program. Hindi po lahat ng out-of-school-youth are taking ALS. Currently, 10% lang ang nakukumbinsi namin na bumalik, mag-aral, at makapagtapos. Maraming dahilan kung bakit ganoon, pero kayo ay nandito ngayon at nakapagtapos, and for that, congratulations; For ALS learners who have been through so much, rest assured that the Department of Education, under Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, stands behind you,” Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service and Alternative Learning System G.H. Ambat said.
Life and dreams restored
Ferli Sabuddin, a 23-year-old Muslim from the tribe of Tausugs, is currently a Grade 11 learner at Miriam College. When she was in Grade 3, she had to stop schooling due to family problems – her father had another family, and she and her siblings had to move in with her aunt in Zamboanga.
Due to her aunt’s constant reproach, Sabuddin ran away from home. At the age of 12, she was forced to work as a vendor to support her four siblings. Because she was still a minor and a school dropout, it was difficult for her to land a decent job. She had to forge her age to be hired and be able to earn money.
“Lumipas ang panahon na hindi pa rin nagbago ang sitwasiyon ko. Palagi kong tinatanong ang Diyos kung bakit ganito ang kinahinatnan ng aking buhay. Ang pangarap ko lang naman ay makapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Kinalimutan ko ito dahil alam kong imposible na itong mangyari,” Sabuddin shared.
When she had a chance to go to Metro Manila, a friend encouraged her to study again under Uplift Cares. Though she brushed off the idea at first, she decided to enrol: “Sa bawat araw na pumapasok ako at may hawak akong libro, naiiyak ako dahil hindi ako makapaniwala na nag-aaral ulit ako. Lalo nang makapasa ako sa A&E Test noong November 19, halos himatayin ako sa tuwa! Hindi ako nagpapatinag at patuloy na lumalaban dahil alam kong may magandang plano ang Diyos sa akin.”
Second shot at life
Teresito Bandez, 41 years old, said he had to stop his studies due to family and financial problems. He admitted that he also went astray when he was younger and that being a person with disability became his biggest challenge.
When asked what pushed him to finish high school, he choked up and said, “Gusto kong mag-aral talaga at i-continue ang buhay ko.”
Bandez is now a Grade 11 learner in La Salle. He plans to go to college after graduating from Senior High School (SHS).
Dreams know no age
Rosalina Niones, 67 years old and one of the oldest ALS graduates of Uplift Cares, shared how finishing only elementary affected her post in their local cooperative: “Board of Director ako sa aming multi-purpose cooperative. In-accept nila ako kahit Grade 6 lang [ang natapos ko]. Noong 2016, hindi na raw pwede dahil dapat ay high school graduate ako.”
One of her colleagues persuaded her to take ALS. She was initially hesitant to enroll – fearing that she would not be able to catch up with her younger classmates. As it turned out, the program was not as hard as she thought it would be. Her children and grandchildren, she said, would help her with her assignments. As the eldest in their class, she would also encourage her classmates to study harder.
She became more confident in participating in discussions: “Sa tuwing may mahabang pinagdidiskusiyon sa koop, nagkaroon ako ng chance na mai-share ko ‘yung pinag-aralan ko, na kailangan kong ipaglaban kung ano ang tama. . . Walang edad ang pangarap ng tao. Hindi ito magiging hadlang para marating mo ang iyong pangarap,” Niones concluded.
Opportunity for further education
“With the scholarship that is offered by Uplift Cares na pwede kayong mag-SHS, please take the opportunity because this will prepare you better for college, for the world of work, for entrepreneurship, and for middle-level skills training. But whichever you decide, we know that you will be guided. Overall, you are in good hands,” she added.
The Assistant Secretary also recognized the efforts of Uplift Cares in helping dropouts continue their education: “We are grateful to organizations like Uplift Cares because you help us in the Department of Education to reach out and give hope to the out-of-school children and youth. Kung wala po kayong mga partners namin, mahihirapan kaming ma-reach out sila. Mahirapan kaming makapag-deliver sa lahat.”
Uplift Cares Global Movement Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to change communities in densely populated areas through initiatives that help improve health, give education, provide livelihood, and enrich personal growth of citizens.