WATCH: A girl called ‘bakwit’

Shahanie and her 11 siblings escaped Marawi together. Now they are evacuees trying to reclaim their childhood.

Program: Education

Type: Video

Did you ever dream of becoming a teacher when you were a child?

Some of us might have had this dream, as inspired by our favorite teachers.

At 12 years old, Shahanie is determined to someday stand before a classroom full of students.

“I want to be a teacher,” she said in Filipino. “I’ll teach science and other subjects so I can help children.”

At 12 years old, however, Shahanie’s own education was disrupted.

She and her family were forced to leave home after an clashes between a local armed group and government forces erupted in Marawi City. “We got scared of the gunshots so we evacuated,” she said.

“We are now a bawkit (evacuee),” she added. “My favorite teacher is also a bakwit now.”

A girl called ‘bakwit’

Displaced students, displaced teachers

When Shahanie and her family fled Marawi, all they had was a small bag of clothes.

They're currently staying in a relative’s house. “These clothes I’m wearing now, my aunt just gave these to me,” she said.

The 5th grader tries her best to comfort her 11 siblings, encouraging them to do well in their new school.

“My siblings are okay now, but they also get very sad. Because they left behind a lot of things like their toys,” Shahanie shared.

During these difficult times, Shahanie draws strength from her favorite teacher, who was also displaced by the Marawi crisis

Now, the student and teacher are reunited inside a tent.

Due to the high number of displaced students, host schools cannot accommodate all transferees inside classrooms – hence, some are setting up class inside tents.

At worst, some displaced children aren’t able to return to school at all – not even inside tents.

A girl called ‘bakwit’

Displaced teachers are also under a lot of stress, as many of them have lost not only their homes but also their livelihood. It’s also painful for teachers to lose some of their students.

Some teachers, like Shahanie’s, are able to go back to work. They teach at temporary learning spaces or host schools. They also do their best in ensuring that displaced students don’t lose hope.

More than three months since the Marawi crisis broke out, the condition remains stark for thousands of children.

“I hope this conflict ends because there are mothers who lost their children,” Shahanie wished. "There are those who lost their homes, their belongings were burned."

“So I hope this will finally end because we are already suffering too much.”

Together, let's save Marawi's children. Don't let conflict disrupt their lives and their education.

Support our operations providing hygiene, education, and psychosocial support. Donate today, save lives.

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