April 30 is an unforgettable day for Chodor Mariano, a bike taxi driver from Navotas City, Philippines. It is the day he received his high school diploma at age 57.
He Was Never Able to Receive Proper Education
The City of Navotas is an hour outside from Manila. The Filipinos living here are much poorer than their big city neighbors.
Unlike the Manila with bustling thoroughfares and towering skyscrapers, Navotas has dilapidated buildings and dirt roads lined with children looking for a handout.
This is where Chondor Mariano was born and has lived all his life. When he was school age, his family could not afford to keep him in school. As soon as he was old enough, he started making his living as a bike taxi driver.
GPF-Philippines Makes a Dream Come True
But, Chondor Mariano always had a desire to learn. The Alternative Learning System (ALS), a program of Global Peace Foundation Philippine and the Department of Education in the Philippines, opened the doors for Marino to pursue his education, even at his age and even as he made a living to support his family.
In the rural areas of the Philippines, illiteracy is still high. ALS offers alternative programs for education for rural and underprivileged students, and is opening the way for national advancement.
“I thought it was too late for me, but thanks to you, I realized my dream. I will take the lead in helping those who are in the same situation as I am."
Through ALS, Chondor Mariano entered Navotas City Catholic School. It was not easy to work and go to school at the same time, but Chondor Mariano tirelessly pursued his dream of getting an education. This year, he passed the graduation exam and proudly received the high school diploma that he had dreamed of for so long.
ALS offers education opportunities for students like Mariano, who come from underprivileged families and have not completed primary and secondary education. This year, 14 students including Chondor Mariano, received their diplomas.
As Chondor Mariano read his graduation pledge representing the graduating students, he began to tear as he realized his dream had come true. He said, “I thought it was too late for me, but thanks to you, I realized my dream. I will take the lead in helping those who are in the same situation as I am." He received a standing ovation.
14 Computers Donated to ALS Education Center
Navotas City Catholic School donated 14 computers to thank GPF-Philippines for starting an education program designed for the residents of Navotas.
These computers will be used to continue opening doors to education for residents like Marino, who had to give up education due to their economic situation.