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For most people here in the Philippines, life is difficult. Getting by each day is a challenge for nearly half of the population who subsist on less than $2 a day. That’s reality for most Filipinos, and reality bites.

One of the sad effects of the extreme poverty that is prevalent in our country is the growing number of uneducated youth. Though elementary and secondary education are free (well, supposedly), the costs that come with going to school everyday can be quite high.

Thank God for the Dynamic Teen Company.

Dynamic Teen Company

The Dynamic Teen Company is the youth group founded by 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida Jr. It’s composed of teenage volunteers who carry out the Pushcart Classroom project initiated by Efren.

A few weeks ago, IBM Club Philippines sent all employees an e-mail about an outreach called the Kariton Classroom. It’s an outreach where IBMers would help out in the pushcart classroom project of the Dynamic Teen Company. I spent days thinking about joining the outreach and I finally confirmed my participation three days before the said event. There’s a long story behind the finality of my participation but I won’t elaborate on that.

The outreach was held in Cavite. It is there where the headquarters of the Dynamic Teen Company is located. Our group met up in Eastwood and left at around 6:30 in the morning. There were 33 volunteers in total and IBM hired four vans to bring us to the site. We arrived in Cavite at around 8:20AM.

There were four locations where classes were held. The first site was in front of a public market, the second one was at a cemetery, the third was in Efren’s school, and the last site was along a street in a residential area. We will spend around an hour in each location. Forty-five minutes were allotted for the lessons. It was subdivided into three fifteen-minute classes wherein Reading and Comprehension, Mathematics, and Values Development were tackled. After the lessons, the children were given snacks.

Rather than making this post extra long, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

 

We were being briefed about the day ahead.

This is our first stop. It is in a parking lot in front of a public market. Each pushcart was for a certain grade level.

Children enjoyed the board exercises very much.

The girl was enjoying a little snack while listening to the mentor.

 

'Seat Work'. The children were serious with the exercises given.

I think this kid needs a little more guidance. He's in good hands though, he'd be coloring like a pro in no time.

Hooray for snack time! The children were given some snacks after classes. The food being distributed were donated. Thank goodness for kind-hearted people.

Ms. Mhaan was well-received by the children.

En route to our second location. We kept on pushing despite the heat. A little sacrifice would go a long way.

This is our second stop. We weren't able to teach the children though. There was some political fishiness going on.

We had lunch in McDonald's. Since we were not allowed to teach at the second site, we had a lot of free time. We took this opportunity to get to know the other volunteers.

Third site, Efren Penaflorida School Building. The children assembled for the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag.

The children participated in a song and dance activity to loosen things up. Ms. Thea Panes demonstrated the steps.

Bravo to the caring sister. She carried her younger brother on her back.

I'm a little concerned about this. They should review their teaching materials. Femininity should not be considered the opposite of bravery and boldness. The female students might feel that they are part of a weaker group.

There were some exercises on balance. Physical Education?

Time for some snacks! We had some halo-halo while waiting for our students to arrive at the fourth site.

Last site. This was in a residential area. I wonder where the kids came from?

The children were asked to identify the objects they saw in the image shown by the mentor.

This made my heart melt. They prayed before snack time.

The lead for the site was thanking us in this photo.

This is me pushing the kariton. I was pushing it for around 30 minutes. That thing's heavy! Kudos to the members of the Dynamic Teen Company who do this on a regular basis.

A photo with Efren Penaflorida. He's such an amazing person. He is very humble and he radiates kindness.

Ma'am Jocel, IBM Solutions Delivery's HR Head, was thanking Efren for letting us become part of his push in providing education to the less fortunate children.

Sunset seen from the roof deck of the Dynamic Teen Company Headquarters. What a beautiful way to end a fruitful day.

I'm an IBMer. 🙂

We left Cavite at around 6:30 PM. While we were on our way back to Manila, I could not help but feel great about the entire Kariton Classroom experience. Seeing the eagerness of the children to learn really made me smile. I do hope that this initiative would be emulated in different parts of our country.

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