Quality Education Paves The Way To Youth Empowerment
SOS youths and care providers continue to adjust with modular and online learning since the pandemic has impacted our education system
Education is at the helm of a country's development. It improves the lives of the younger generation by making better jobs available to them, helping them rise out of poverty, and opening the opportunity to a more fulfilling life. With these social returns in mind, nations around the world invest in delivering quality education to all the children and young people they can reach.
The United Nations initiated the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 or Education 2030, which aims to ensure quality education for all by the year 2030. Government units, private institutions, and non-government organizations, including SOS Children's Villages Philippines, have taken part in curbing the number of Out-of-School Children and Youth (OSCY) which reached 258 million in 2018 (Unesco Institute of Statistics, 2018). In the Philippines, there are 3.6 million OSCY in 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Despite these reported figures, the literacy rate in the Philippines has grown steadily since the 1980s – from 83.32% in 1980 to 98.18% in 2015. More communities are learning the value of education in their children's future. And more children are guided to enter school and assisted to reach higher education. One of them is Zyra. Zyra is a member of the youth and a student from SOS Children's Village in Lipa. She just recently finished senior high school in United World Colleges Li Po Chun. Now, she is applying for a college degree in the United States of America.
Zyra receiving her International Baccalaureate Diploma Program certificate amidst the pandemic
"When an opportunity knocks, I will always gladly grab it. Because with opportunities and perseverance to reach your goals, I believe we can have a better future," says Zyra.
Zyra didn't always think that she'll be able to reach what she has accomplished today. At the age of 6, she and her siblings were separated from their family and sent to an institution supervised by nuns. Their mother was the only one left to care for them, barely making ends meet. Fortunately, Zyra and her siblings are now in a better situation thanks to the nuns who have taken good care of them and to SOS Children's Villages' supporters and co-workers who provided them with education, health care, and the loving home they need.
Zyra comes home to her SOS mother and family after studying in Hong Kong
Equally grateful for the opportunity to pursue higher education is Angela from SOS Children's Village in Davao. Angela is set to start her college journey this August as a United World College scholar too! Aside from being a scholar, Angela is also a national Rugby player and has represented the Philippines in various international games.
Angela has competed in the Street Child World Cup in Russia last 2018 and has represented the Philippines as the Rugby Ambassador to the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan
"I thank everyone around me who has taught me to become strong and independent. Now, I am able to also empower the children in my community. I lead and train them so that they may also experience the life-changing impact that education and sports have given me," says Angela.
At the age of 13, Angela and her siblings lost parental care. She was suddenly forced to take responsibility for her younger siblings. She recalls, "I did not feel like a child anymore. I can't go out with my friends because I have to prioritize my siblings first." Despite all the hardships, Angela finished high school and became a role model for her brothers and sisters to follow.
Apart from her biological siblings, Angela is also a good ‘Ate’ or big sister to her SOS brothers and sisters
Quality education played a pivotal role in transforming the lives of these two young women. Angela and Zyra are the empowered young people they are today because of the knowledge, skills, and critical thinking that education has equipped them. Through education, children can discover themselves, realize their potential, and reach for their goals, just like Angela and Zyra.
We at SOS Children's Villages believe that education is every child's right. And you can help us give children the power to shape their own future through quality care and education. Visit www.sosphilippines.org/donation.