Sunday, November 22, 2009

CNN Hero of 2009- A Filipino

Efren Penaflorida is named CNN Hero of the Year. Mabuhay!

Let me share with you an article written by Ana Crayton, an educator and a volunteer of an educational campaign online:

Unconventional Classroom
(This group is all about teachers who have found alternative ways in teaching and changing the world.)

People would define a hero as someone who have fought for freedom, or someone who has given up his life for the sake of others. Heroes are like that, but some of them need not spill their blood to share a noble act to others - these are the modern heroes.

Third world countries suffer from severe crises, which includes education. This prevalent crises leads to a great number of crimes which mostly involve the juvenile. With this crisis, these countries consider education as a "privilege" rather than a right.

These juvenile crimes mostly include out of school youth. With lack of education, these youngsters also lack judgment of what is wrong and right. Although even students commit petty crimes, education is still the most effective solution to eradicating these crimes and working towards progress.

CNN released a list of candidates for CNN Hero of the Year. One of ten candidates is Efren Penaflorida from the Philippines. Penaflorida uses a pushcart classroom to teach children from slum areas reading, writing, and basically uplifts them and their community. He, with his team, roam around slum areas with a cart stocked with paper, pencils, crayons, tables and chairs.

Penaflorida himself is a victim of gang bullying in school. He consider this as a life-changing turn point in his life, and thus motivated him to build his pushcart classroom. His "mobile classroom" targets childrenn of 2 to 14 years old.

If looked at a different perspective, this pushcart classroom may be small as compared to what other heroes did. Although literally small, this move has helped many children not only in learning but in appreciating education as well. In the eyes of some people, this may appear to be "just a random act of kindness", but in the eyes of those who were taught, this act is something big, and thus, deserves an award known worldwide.

Efren Penaflorida's story should inspire other people, especially students, in giving value to education. In countries where education is a prevalent crisis, little acts of knowledge sharing is very significant.

Education make a people easy to lead,
but difficult to drive;
easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.
- Peter Broughman

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