Education is important, but it’s not always so easy to go to school for the many impoverished children in the Philippines.
This issue was brought to light once again in a Facebook post from Monday where public school teacher Christian Joy Ordoña shared why one of his students missed class.
“Usually when you’re the adviser, your first period would be your advisory class which is why you can monitor their [students’] attendance. Who goes to class, and who doesn’t,” Ordoña, who teaches Grade 8 students at Bongabon National High School in Nueva Ecija started his caption in a mix of English and Filipino.
In the post, which now has over 25,000 likes and 7,000 shares, Ordoña said that one of his students, a 14-year-old girl, approached him after lunch and gave him a letter to explain why she missed the first period.
The student was even shy to come close and only talked in whispers.
When translated into English, the letter goes: “Dear Sir Jay, sorry Sir Jay, I wasn’t able to go to our morning class because I didn’t have money. [My] Mom just found money for us a while ago,” the letter read. “Sorry again.”
“My heart was crushed,” Ordoña wrote in his caption.
The teacher told Coconuts Manila through a Facebook message: “As an adviser of 42 different kinds of students, I always monitor their attendance every first period.”
He added that during the first month of classes in June, the student in his post had perfect attendance. However, during the last week of June and the start of July, Ordoña noticed that she would be absent and the excuse would always be a fever.
“But this time, when the student gave me the letter, I felt sad when I read it,” he said in Filipino.
“It hit me: not all students who are absent don’t want to attend class or have fevers. Some don’t have the capability to go to class because they don’t have any food or money.”
Ordoña added, “If you don’t have money when you go to school, you won’t be able to eat, and you won’t be able to pay to commute going to school and heading home afterward.”
He posted the photo on Facebook to make people more aware of the situation of other students who study in public schools.
“I wanted to also give inspiration to students and parents who will be able to read my post,” he said.
Ordoña wasn’t the only one heartbroken. Others commented on the post and expressed their grief for the student.
Facebook user Christdel Due Sigua wrote in Filipino: “While I was reading this, there were tears in my eyes. I know this feeling, especially when I had a student like this who stopped going to school because that student helped their parents.”
Ingrid Francisco said: “This breaks my heart.”
AL Krimson Cabuco urged Ordoña to keep his spirits high: “Let’s keep fighting. God bless you.”
Robert San called this a reminder not to take education for granted: “Give value to education because money isn’t something that can be picked up for us to use in our everyday lives. Don’t waste these chances.”
Ordoña wrote a comment to his post earlier today and thanked people for their help. “Hello! I’m the teacher/adviser of the mentioned post. To those who brought in-kind donations and showed their concern, thank you so much! God bless! You’re a blessing.”
Apparently, a lot of people have messaged him about wanting to help the student.
“A lot of in-kinds (sic) donations from here and abroad deposited to my account to give help to the student,” he told Coconuts Manila.
He even shared that one particular person volunteered to give the student her baon (food/allowance) for one whole year.
Faith in humanity restored.