The education department has seen a surge in students dropping out of school during the pandemic, but many still soldier on.
Mark Joseph Andal, 18, from Batangas, shared, “We’re not rich, and finishing school is my only way to repay my parents for raising me.”
Andal admits he was relieved and scared when he heard schools might reopen. He added, “I want to be more active in class, I want to persevere more, to improve myself despite the situation I’m in.”
Lovely Joy de Castro, 11, who lives at a makeshift home in a Manila cemetery, sometimes studies sitting on gravestones to avoid getting in the way of family cooking chicken to sell.
Angeline Delos Santos, Castro’s grandmother, admitted, “I know we haven’t given her enough guidance with school, but if we don’t take care of our business, we would have nothing to feed the kids.”
Santos added, “I just hope that she finishes school, gets a good job, and ultimately finds a life outside this cemetery.”