Streets To Schools Lights Up Street Kids’ Future With ‘Alitaptap: Aninag ng Sining’
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, July 15, 2019 5:15pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
It has long been ingrained in society about having good education is “key” to a successful future. It may not always be a guarantee, but it is, however, a right for everyone to have access to quality education. A sad reality is how the future is bleak for about nine percent Filipinos aged 6 to 24—the percentage of out of school youth based on the 2017 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey. Nine percent doesn’t seem like a big number, but that’s an estimate of 39.2 million out-of-school youths.
Reasons for not attending a formal education range from financial difficulties, family matters to lack of interest. Kids, particularly those can barely afford a decent meal let alone school fees, won’t reach their full potential—nor become efficient contributors to society—if they wouldn’t be able to go to school. This is what Streets to Schools, a youth-led initiative, tries to change.
The Youth for the Youth
Streets to Schools envisions a country where children especially the marginalized ones are given access to quality education. This started out as an initiative by three Junior High School Students from the University of Santo Tomas. They came up with a project called Out of the Streets and into the School, which became their entry to the Young Bridging Leaders, a program that aims to empower young leaders in creating projects that advocate for the United Nations Development Goals. This aimed to help street children around UST to receive quality education.
After seeing the program was sustainable, the founders decided to continue the program and now became an initiative called Streets to Schools. The ideals of the United Nation empower them to advocate for change in terms of education.
Streets to Schools has a program called Abot-Kamay which they continue to do every weekend. The volunteers teach street children in Manila North Cemetery and those along the PNR railways. Streets to Schools also started a program that became a finalist of Sikhay Youth Community Service Awards 2019—an award-giving body which aims to recognize the efforts of our youth for their outstanding community service programs and projects.
Making the Future Brighter Through ‘Alitaptap: Aninag ng Sining’
Streets to Schools also help children through indirect means and one of those is holding a benefit gig. The initiative organized Alitaptap: Aninag ng Sining in Jess & Pats, Maginhawa, Quezon City. This gig features local bands like The Ridleys, Four Play, Carousel Casualties, Padlocked Music, and Something About Pancakes and also artists who showcased their art. A lot of young people attended this benefit gig and all of the generated funds will be used for Streets to Schools’ future projects for the children.
Apart from lighting up the night, the volunteers hope this gig, in its own little way, would help shed light to the local art scene and to the street kids’ future—just like a group of fireflies does to a certain place
“When fireflies come together, ang saya tingnan, sobrang ganda. ‘Pag na-relate siya sa Streets to Schools, when we all come together to change something, there's a better outcome na pwedeng mangyari. We want also to support the local art scene of the Philippines,” Richard Gonzalez, one of the volunteers, expressed.
Small Steps for a Bigger Cause
As the popular saying goes, “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan” but we can’t make these words a reality if we can’t equip our youth with proper education. But here’s an organization that aims to make a difference, to make a change, no matter how small. These little things might be the start of something larger.
“We can help in many small ways and at the same time, if we help each other, it would come up to be something big,” Charlene Uy, a volunteer, said.
If you want to support Streets to Schools, check out their Facebook page. And if you want to volunteer (it is only open for 12-20 years old since it is a youth-led initiative), fill out their membership application form.