When you were a child, how did you get to school?
Some students are fetched by a school bus, some are dropped off by their parents, and others take public transportation such as jeepneys, buses, or tricycles.
Many Filipino children, however, merely walk to school regardless of the distance.
In Sarangani, we met Jessica, an 11-year-old girl who walks to school every day.
“I walk to school for an hour,” she said in Filipino. “We pass through a stream, so I hold on tight to my two younger siblings.”
Before going to her own class, Jessica first drops off her siblings in their Kinder and Grade One classes.
Jessica’s journey to school can take longer whenever it rains. “If it’s raining too hard, we ride a horse to school, there’s four of us riding the horse. We wear raincoats.”
She hitches the ride from her older cousin.
Jessica is determined to go to school, rain or shine. Not all children, however, can do so.
Some are forced to forego their studies to earn a living or to do chores and look after younger siblings at home. Meanwhile, other children are simply too weak, sickly, or hungry to attend class.
Young reader, athlete
“My favorite subjects are Math, English, and Filipino,” shared Jessica. “I like to read stories in English or Filipino.”
The 5th grader said her love for reading began in third grade.
In the future, she wants to be a teacher.
Aside from books, Jessica also loves sports. In fact, she’s part of her school’s track and field team, competing in inter-school sports events.
“Through sports, I get to visit places I’ve never seen before,” the young student athlete said. “Such as schools, the sea, buildings, fields, mountains, and people from other towns.”
Jessica hopes that her school can improve its sports facilities, so that more students can enjoy playing sports.
As an athlete, she encourages her classmates to be healthy by staying active and eating more vegetables.
“My favorite vegetables are eggplants and squash,” she said. “Sports is important among children, it helps us stay healthy and strong.”
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