Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It is graduation time once more. Schools are all abuzz preparing for this annual event. In the Philippines, a child has to go through four graduation ceremonies before he/she is finally done with school. There is graduation from pre-school, then elementary graduation, high school graduation and then college. If they go ahead and pursue a post graduate course, then that would be five graduation ceremonies all in all. 

I turned my attention to young children. The youth and their dreams. The voices of the future. I asked some neighborhood kids about their dreams and if they would go abroad after graduation.  I was surprised with their honest, innocent responses.


Gab, 4 years old
Nursery

Gab lives next door to me. He's a little tyke with a huge personality.

When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he quickly responds:

"I want to make buildings and houses. I want to be like my godfather - an architect."





Angelo, 7 years old
2nd Grade

Angelo and his friends play a lot outside when school is over. 

He dreams of becoming a doctor someday. 
When I asked him if he would want to work abroad, he said, "No, I want to stay here."



JL, 11 years old
5th grade

Like Angelo, he also dreams of becoming a doctor. 

I asked him, "A doctor here or abroad?" 
His response: "I'm not sure yet."





Judan, 7 years old
2nd grade

Judan was ready with his smile even before I had the camera on. What does Judan want to be when he grows up?

"A police officer in America!" was his quick response.




Tana, 6 years old
1st grade

Tana was quiet and shy but agreed to have her picture taken.
I asked about her dreams and she said she wants to be a nurse.
And she whispers "No going abroad. Just a nurse here."




Masakasu, 10 years old
4th grade

Masakasu is a Filipino-Japanese boy who dreams of becoming a Civil Engineer.
He was confident to declare he will definitely be working abroad when he is done with school.



Ayesha, 6 years old
1st grade

Ayesha is so tiny I thought she was still in pre-school. In her soft, shy voice she said, "I want to be a nurse and work in Saudi Arabia."






Erika, 7 years old
1st grade
Erika is lives in the next door apartment. She loves to sing and dreams of becoming an architect someday. When asked about her thoughts about working abroad, she said she does not want to go abroad to work.




It is alarming that some of these young children have their mind set on working abroad. One of them said that his father is in Saudi Arabia and is earning more than he was when he was here. Young as they are, these kids have the awareness of how difficult life is in the Philippines. They are aware of the fact that their chances to get a good job is not very promising. Their thoughts of a better life is not here but in some other country. 

When will our country escape the vicious cycle of the brain drain? Instilling patriotism in the minds of our youth is not good enough to make them stay. How can you opt to stay in the country when you can hardly make ends meet? An offer of a high paying job abroad would be very hard to refuse even if it means that you would be overqualified and underemployed.

These little kids with big dreams hold the future of our country in their hands. I wish our government would make laws to provide funding for their education, similar to the student loan programs being offered in other countries. Young minds who wish to serve, to be productive members of society must be given an a chance to be doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers or architects. A guarantee of local employment after graduation would provide motivation for our youth to strive hard to attain their dreams. 

I do not believe that our country does not have ample resources to fund a student loan program. We have the resources, it is only misappropriated and sadly, it ends up in the hands of the corrupt few. 

Our children do not have to work abroad as maids, laborers, or janitors to earn a decent income.  

If we want to have real economic improvement, all we need is to invest in the future.

Ask a child. Feel their dreams. Listen to their voice. 

The voice of the future. 

27 comments:

  1. I am living the dream of some of these kids. I am a doctor in my beloved country and I am proud I haven't left. Do I have a plan to leave? None that is concrete at the moment. I do ahere that patriotism is a word long gone from the hearts of many of our countrymen. Kids hear all the time that "overseas foreign workers" are the country's heroes. My Mom was my hero! Had she not left the country I would not have finished med school. I guess the poverty cycle starts when a man and a woman copulate without the thought of the possibility of bearing a child who will inherit their difficulties in life.... one child... and another and yet another and still another.... they fail to provide the needs of these innocent beings who will then find comfort in the presence of another person as soon as they reach the age of sexual maturity. They will choose to be together.... and start bearing children
    ...grandchildren of poverty.... life is not all that fair though....some are born rich while some so devoid of earthly happiness... I believe for this country to rise from being third world, each of us must do his part. Responsible parenthood is a must.....and government officials who truly have the heart and capability for public service.... love yah sisterrette.... the kids here are so cute! Loved the post, inspiring eh hehehe: )

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    1. Typo above... agree not ahere...: )

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    2. Thanks, sisterette. I feel you. I think in order for our country to prosper, we should do a massive educational dissemination campaign to push for responsible parenthood, and that the government should establish a student loan program to fund for the education of our youth. For all we know, we have own very own Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein out there.

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    3. I could not agree more to both of you. I think that the government should really try to impose proper education to Filipinos especially to younger generation that responsible parenting can alleviate the problem of over population and avoid the problem of kids growing up without proper education.

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  2. This is still a bit better than an answer I heard on Chinese TV one time. The child wanted to be a government official because it's easy to make money... =(

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    1. Oh my, that's not good at all. I wish the children would grow up in a society that has better morals than we have today.

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  3. As a mother is saddens me to see children so aware of the things going on in the adult world. Children should just be able to enjoy being children. I am in America and even though we have systems to help pay for education, sometimes it's not even worth it. =/ I hope these children are able to reach for their dreams and higher! They deserve it!!!

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    1. I totally agree, Amanda. These children deserve something better in life.

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  4. Aw, sweet little children. They have big dreams and hopefully they will achieve them. Whether or not they stay in their home country remains to be seen, of course. Perhaps by then things will have changed for the better. All the best. Peace

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    1. Hi Jeanne! There is nothing more I would want for these children than to have their dreams realized. The future belongs to them.

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  5. I love that these children know what they want at such a young age. My hope for them is that they are able to achieve all they set their minds to.

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    1. That's true, Malia. I was also surprised at their responses. I hope they do get to be future doctors, engineers, nurses and architects.

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  6. I hope that these children are able to reach their dreams. It is nice that they aspire to be so much but saddens me that they are already aware of their countries situation.

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    1. Hi Mandy! There are so many Filipinos who opt to work overseas as contract workers to provide a better life for their families.These children must be "silent sufferers" of having to deal with one or both parents working abroad.

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  7. Wow. This is very powerful and so interesting. You are absolutely right that it is somewhat alarming that they are already, at this age, thinking about not only what they want to do, but where they want to do it. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Hi Lori! My only worry is that working abroad is not that lucrative. I have been there. Many Filipinos are college graduates with degrees in engineering or nursing or whatever and yet take on menial jobs abroad, like working as pipe fitters, janitors, orderlies, etc. because it pays more than what they would receive if they worked locally by practicing their profession. Sad but true. That they would bear all the homesickness just to be able to ensure that their families back home has food on the table. :(

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  8. What a wonderful way to put a "face or faces" on the issue of making children and all the citizens want to stay and have pride in their own country. These children are very beautiful and work very hard to get through school. The Philipines is such a beautiful country too. There must be some way to improve the economic conditions. Very good and thought provoking post :)

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    1. Hi Michelle! I agree. Our educational system should be revamped. Our government must provide equal opportunities to children regardless of their social status. The public school system here is just so depressing.

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  9. one of the most exciting part of schooling is to see your kids march and finish levels in their education.

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    1. Hi Nova! Yes, it is indeed the most rewarding experience as a parent. My eldest child, a girl has successfully earned her college degree in Economics and is now gainfully employed in a large international banking institution. I am currently supporting my two younger sons, now both in college. Once they graduate, I would probably be screaming with delight! :)

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  10. Children are a country's future. They should definitely be invested in.

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  11. It is really good to hear children speak of what they want to be when they grow up. I am hoping that these kids can get to live their dreams and help the country as well.

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  12. awwwwwww...how cute and so innocent! These kids are our country's future. Best of luck to them!

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  13. I wish all of their dreams will come true in the future. Education is really a key and also support from family. There is no doubt in my mind that these kids will be successful in the near future :-)

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  14. yeah, it saddens me too..i love philippines..I just hope i could be a good mother to my daughter and teach her to be a good citizen and responsible citizen and loving our country.

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  15. Oh. this made me smile! I was asked the same question when I was still in preschool and I told my sister I wanted to become the president of The Philippines or a lawyer.. and yet, I have become an internet entrepreneur. Hehehe/

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  16. As young as they are, they're already aware of the situation in our country. Some would love to go abroad to work, some will stay here to help their fellowmen. Either way will do as it will make their life better.. :)

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