Education is definitely one of the most cherished ‘possessions’ of a person. The elders, especially our parents, never faltered to remind us to value it by studying hard. While this is supposed to be a right of every children, it’s still inevitable for many families to not afford to send their kids to school, mainly due to poverty.
And one of them is the 12-year-old Arnil Castillo, who’s currently sheltered at the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village at Norzagaray, Bulacan along with his three other siblings. With no one to take good care of them after their mother left their home last April 2019 and the passing of their father a month after, barangay officials brought them to the Quezon City Social Services and Development Department, which turned them over to the Children’s Village.
Although they’re already in a better situation now that they’ve found a temporary home, there’s one thing that he’s still worried about – “Makakapag-aral po ba ako rito or hindi?”
For Arnil, being able to finish his education is not only for him to have a brighter future, but he also sees this as a way for them to be able to find their mother someday.
“Kailangan ko pong mag-aral para po kapag nakapagtapos po ako, hahanapin po namin si Mama,” he said.
Meanwhile, social worker LJ Lopez noted, as well, how active Arnil and his siblings have been as they play along with other kids and even volunteer in the programs they stage throughout their sojourn at the Children’s Village. Somehow, through their tender, loving care and inherent passion in nurturing them, the social workers were able to fill the void in their charges’ hearts.
At present, there are about 40 kids at the Children’s Village that Bantay Bata 163 hopes to be granted scholarships through Bantay Edukasyon. In this project, the organization and the donor jointly fund the education of the beneficiaries from the tuition fees, school supplies, daily allowances, and even their other needs.
With child welfare and protection as one of her advocacies, late philanthropist and ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. Chairperson Gina Lopez founded Bantay Edukasyon in 1998, a year after Bantay Bata was launched, in pursuit of not only providing the disadvantaged children they rescued a comfortable and warm home, but to also give them a chance to live a brand new life and have a brighter future through quality education.
As what Bantay Bata Program Director Jing Castañeda said in this report, Gina believed that as long as there are still people who are willing to support this project, Bantay Bata will be able to continuously pave the future of many Filipino youth.
Thus, as a way of continuing her legacy of uplifting the lives of underprivileged children, Bantay Edukasyon is chosen to be the beneficiary of the highly-anticipated ABS-CBN Ball 2019. It can be recalled that last year, the proceeds of the grandiose and star-studded event all went to the rehabilitation of the Children’s Village, which was re-opened last December 2018.