Early in my life my parents have imprinted in me the value of education. This is also what I will impart to my young children Jude, Teo, Celestia and Calista. Through the years with my involvement in various communities, I have seen how important education is to uplift lives, to promote peace, to compel people to make the right choices and to cultivate progress and development.
Sadly, while education is a right deserved by everyone, it is still much of a privilege for so many people around the world who do not have access to it. Many children, most of them girls, do not have access to even the most basic education. In fact, worldwide data revealed that more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. This is 17% of the world’s adult population. In the Philippines, based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), around 6 million Filipinos above the age of five cannot read or write.
For the above reasons, the Rotary Foundation through its clubs and members, all over the world has made the month of September be dedicated to Basic Education and Literacy. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support education for all children and increase adult literacy.
It’s also a perfect time because for most educational institutions, the start of classes has been moved to late August up to early September. I am grateful to all the clubs and Rotarians from the District who actively participated in various Brigada Eskwela initiatives. I am encouraging everyone to continue the efforts to help our schools, teachers or even informal groups down to the barangay level especially those from the far-flung areas to be given technical assistance, training, facilities or even health and nutrition programs. This will seal our commitment to support the advancement of this area of focus.
I fondly recall a popular children’s song usually sung in school programs with lyrics that say “We are the children of yesterday’s dream, We are the promise of the future we bring, waving the banners of love to all, to every nation, the rich and the poor”. It is also my dream that education will be accorded not just to the privileged few but for one and all wherever they may be. It is a way out of poverty, a ticket to a good future, and a key to peace and harmony. Our collective efforts on this front will surely make our future bright.
Let’s keep at it.