Thursday, March 31, 2016

Keeping The Hope Alive

Barangay Captain Pader donates his rice paddies for children's education. 

Captain Arnaldo Pader, 62, shares his hopes for the children of his barangay

“‘The youth is the hope of our nation,’ as the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal said. But that shall not happen if the youth are not guided and educated. Unfortunately, because of limited finances, families cannot support their children’s education," Arnaldo Pader, barangay captain in Samar, says.

Reaching grade three, Barangay Captain Pader knows from experience how limited opportunities are if you lack the education. "Since I was not able to graduate in elementary, I want the children to finish theirs."

With that in mind, he strived for their barangay to have their own school. He approached different government offices and individuals for support.

After years of persistent requests, in 2002 their school was finally completed.

“I was very happy that our school was completed. I hope my dream and the parent's  dream for our children will be realised," Pader says. 

Unyielding Spirit
But in 2013, Pader’s dream seemed to fated to be crushed. Being only a few meters away from the shoreline, the school was left irreparable by typhoon Haiyan. The roofs were blown away and the walls were torn down.

Unyielding, with the support of the whole barangay and the school, he found ways to re-establish the education system. They used the chapel as a classroom and sought funds to build temporary learning spaces.

When the DSWD and DepEd, together with Plan International Philippines, identified their village to receive funding support under the grant received from the government of Japan through ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, he could not contain his joy and gratitude. Through the grant, children shall have five new disaster-resilient classrooms.

Moved by the opportunity for them and aware that the school still needed to be relocated, he decided to donate his rice paddies to be the new relocation site of the school.

“I am doing this for the children and the future of our village," Pader says. 

Government partners, ADB representative and Plan International celebrate with teachers and students during the inauguration of the new school site  (L to R: Ma. Jocelyn Salazar of DepEdSamar Division: Rochel School Head; Dr. Gorgonio Diaz, DepEd Samar Division Superintendent; Jill Uyvico, Regional Coordinator of NEDA; Dindo Mengote Representative of ADB; Charisma President of the Student Pupil Government; Arnaldo Pader, Barangay Captain; Mayor Junji Ponferrada of Local Government Unit and Engr. Jereme Baliquia of Plan International Philippines)

Better Access to Education and Brighter Future
With the newly relocated and disaster-resilient school, children have better access to education and to a brighter future.

“Now, we that we have transferred to our new school site, we promise to love our school and study better,” Charisma, 11, Student Pupil Government President shares in behalf of her fellow students.

With Pader’s dream of better access to education realised, he continues to dream, “I don’t want the children to settle with how things are. I hope they will become professionals. Maybe one of them will become a mayor, a lawyer or a principal."

Pader, together with the community including the children, keeps the hope for a brighter future alive.
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