There is no day that I go out without seeing a child on the street. It always break my heart seeing them beg, all dirty, skinny and stomach grumbling. One time, when my family went out for a snack we saw a few of our Sunday School children begging along SS Highway, in front of SM Hypermart, it was on 3 in the afternoon so I asked one of them, why they were not at school. He didn't answer but I gave him some money and told him to go home. I didn't realize that we are taking care of children who lives by begging, though I know that most of the kids at our church comes from the poor settlers of Makati. I'm a mom, and I could bear the thought my kids would be displaced in the same situation, God forbids. As their teacher, I know somehow what they needed at Sundays, spiritual-filling, social acceptance (we let them mingle with the church members' children), breakfast and lunch) How about the rest of the week? Which pose such a challenge to these less capable children.
Come on, let us not blame the government for their deplorable quality of living. Many programs have been set off to reach out to them and it's not right or our duty even to judge them.
But Iguess It wasn't enough.
Going back to these kids, what breaks my heart the most is that, they have been deprived with what seems to be the foundation to anchor them into a brighter future-EDUCATION. I would always tell my own kids how blessed they are to be learning firsthand through me. At four they were clearly reading four-letter words and can understand the stories they were reading, at five they can take showers and dress themselves, by six they can differentiate how blessed they are, born with all the good things on their hand (even though they were not born with silver spoons). They would tell me to give the stuff they don't use or don't like to these kids and would most of the time, bring spare foods to give the children we would pass by on the street, knocking our window car.
And the BIG question is, how about these street-children, as we call them?
How can we reach out to those who have lost interest in studying because of the inadequacy life has presented them?
Who will reach out to them? Will you?
Apparently there is someone who did, and I consider him as a modern day hero, even before he bagged the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year award, he is Efren Penaflorida.
When I was looking for DVBS resources, I got the link of Club 8586, a Christian ministry catering to the young people being built to serve others with a passion like Christ's. It was there that I got to see interviews and videos showing how young people pushing carts containing a black board, teaching paraphernalia, being rolled out into the less privileged streets of Cavite. This scene now is what we know as "Kariton Klasrums." Efren Penaflorida, Jr, known to many as Kuya F is the founder of this group. His story struck many as his radical yet pious ideas paved ways to gain support as he and his group of teens everyday go out in the heat of the sun, even when the sky pours, to meet the street children, aiding them with relief from wounds, hunger and education. The group now is tagged as Dynamic Teen Company (DTC).
Read the whole story here and be amazed: Dynamic Teen Company website
With this in mind, DepEd saw the mission of the group and have signed a Memorandum of Agreement, supporting each others cause, mainly to bring back the love of learning for the children who lost interest in studying. Thus, Kariton Klasrum or K4 was launched last January 14 at the Department of Education, Bulwagan ng Karunungan, in Pasig.
With K to 12 or K12, now K4...an out of the box delivery of educational services to marginalized urban learners. K4 stands for the four K components of the program: Kariton (pushcart), Klasrum (classroom), Kantin (canteen) and Klinik (clinic).
“We say out of the box because it employs a noble way of making education and other basic social services accessible to underprivileged children initially in Manila, Caloocan, Pasig and Quezon City,” said Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC.
K4 targets street children aged 5 to 15 particularly those who never attended school or who have dropped out with the aim of reintegrating them into the formal school system.
The focus is on three learning areas. One is values formation that includes good manners and right conduct. There will also be literacy classes that teach them daily living skills, perceptual skills, language and mathematics. Thirdly, there will be a play center which aims to make learning enjoyable.
DepEd adopts the K4 learning modality to reach out to street children, out-of-school youth, out-of-school children and school drop-outs delivered through the alternative learning system or alternative delivery modes.
“One of our goals here is for the targeted learners to understand and appreciate learning which they can apply in their own families and to the community,” Luistro pointed out.
Teacher volunteers will man the kariton to teach children using different learning tools until such time that they are ready to be integrated in public schools at a grade level appropriate to their age and skills.
The health of the learners will also be monitored and basic hygiene such as hand-washing and tooth-brushing will also be taught. Moving away from the usual practice, food will be provided to the learners after attending the three learning areas.
|A.Sec. Tonisito Umali awarding the materials to the DTC students|
I truly commend DepEd in coming in and joining with the DTC's program, now I do believe that they will all the more be armed with resources coming from DepEd and other sectors, with provision for training DTC teachers, and volunteers, and providing the initial sets of teaching-learning materials.
|Seen here is Sec.Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC with Kuya F pushing the Kariton Klasrum|
With the growing need for classrooms specially in storm-stricken areas, this would be a good alternative, since this would not cost as much as building a new one or re-constructing them. Here the Klasrum seeks out the students, slowly embedding the importance of learning into them, even caving this in to adults who grew out of education, therefore integrating ALS (Alternative Learning System).
Actually, it was not only DepEd that have acknowledged the program, DSWD headed by Sec. Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, Dir. Renato Brion of DILG, USec. Yolanda Quijano of DOH, Dir. Elpidio Mamaril, Jr. of TESDA, Dep. Chair. Alex Ramon Cabanilla of MMDA and Local Government Executives led by Mayor Alfredo Lim. The above mentioned were there at the launch together with the other DepEd officials and of course the DTC street-children and volunteers.
Let me leave you with these words which also inspired Kuya F into bringing his ideals come to life and being embraced by many. . . "Love learning and embrace it for it shall embrace and love you back and shall enable you to change your world."