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FEATURE: Fulfilling dreams through DepEd’s Alternative Learning System

Christine Otadoy and Jomes Kemuel Ibañez | January 30, 2019

For Shajhana Bonso, alternative learning is the key to getting back on track to fulfilling her dreams.

A typical morning for 19-year-old Shajhana from Concepcion, Iloilo starts with preparing breakfast for her child and husband while young people her age would be preparing for school. At 17, Shajhana had to set aside studies when she became a teenage mother. She knew for a fact that it would be challenging for both her and her husband, a motorcycle driver, to provide their child a bright future.

But Shahjana believed that finishing her studies is her only ticket to being gainfully employed and sustain the growing needs of her family. Regrets would come now and then as her dream drifted away from day to day. “Ang magkaroon ng pagkakataon na makipagsabayan sa ibang estudyante sa panahon ngayon ay napakahirap. Sa mabilis na pag-unlad ng teknolohiya halos lahat ng output ay sa computer at hindi ko kakayanin ang gastusin sa paaralan. (Going back to school today is close to impossible. With the advancement in technology, almost all our output is done using a computer and I can’t afford to pay for school fees),” she shared.

In December 2017, with the help of a friend, she signed up for the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System (ALS), a program that, since inception, has been opening doors of opportunity for the likes of Shajhana who have limited or no access to formal basic education.

ADVOCATING FOR LITERACY: Shajhana Bonso from Concepcion, Iloilo, one of the many students under DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) program strives to finish basic education in the hopes of a brighter future for her and her family.
ADVOCATING FOR LITERACY. Shajhana Bonso from Concepcion, Iloilo, one of the many students under DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) program strives to finish basic education in the hopes of a brighter future for her and her family.

ALS educators, or mobile teachers as they are popularly known, bring literacy, basic education, and practical knowledge to the underprivileged. These teachers often brave rough roads, hike up mountains, and cross rivers to reach far-flung communities where they teach. They dedicate their time to fulfill their mission and help their students achieve their dreams in life.

Dito ko naranasan ang masayang samahan ng bawat learners. Isa sa mga nagustuhan ko ay ang pagtuturo ng aming guro gamit ang modernong teknolohiya kaya malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa ICT package mula sa matatabang puso ng City Savings Bank. (Here I felt the joy of being in school with my co-learners. One of the things that I like is the use of modern technology by our teacher in imparting the lessons hence we are very grateful for the ICT package from the generous hearts of City Savings Bank.)

– Shajhana Bonso, ALS student, Concepcion, Iloilo

She also recalled one of the best memories she had so far in her class. “Gamit ito ay natuto ako ng basic computer sa tulong ni Ma’am Obillos na magagamit ko kapag ako ay may trabaho na. Nagkaroon din ako ng tiwala sa sarili na mag-report sa harap ng klase gamit ang projector (With this I was able to learn basic computer with the help of my teacher, Ma’am Obillos, which I will be able to apply once I’m employed. I also gained self-confidence as I report and share lessons to my classmates with the use of the projector)”.

CitySavings has been supporting DepEd’s ALS program since 2016. To date, the bank has donated technology tools comprised of more than 250 laptops, and over 240 LCD projectors as well as external hard drives and pocket wifi to more than 120 DepEd divisions. The tools hope to provide assistance to over 4,500 mobile teachers and their students across the Philippines.

On its third year of advocating for literacy, the bank has moved past inspiration into actively helping build communities where every child, parent, or out-of-school youth has access to opportunities to elevate their lives and fulfill their dreams through education.

Shajhana is now thrilled more than ever to visit their local ALS center to learn more. She has set her mind towards getting her diploma soon and most importantly become a good role model for her child and her family.

Her story is just one of the several stories of hope. As a socially responsible organization, CitySavings will continue to focus on driving change for a better world through our corporate social responsibility (CSR) that will benefit all our stakeholders by advancing business and communities.