ON-POINT eyebrows, up-to-date trendy gadgets and luxurious getaways are some of the goals millennials more often represent in social media. But unknown to many, some youngsters actually have game-changing goals that are most noble and come with the purest intentions.
One of these ambitious young adults is 20-year-old Lhyn Arcilla. At first glance, one would mistake her for a working student or a student teacher walking aimlessly across the hall. But upon deeper inspection, she’s the well-loved teacher of over a hundred children and most of her students cannot be found inside a classroom.
“I started teaching in Ateneo de Cebu just last June, but I am not just teaching. While I’m working from Monday to Friday, on Saturdays I also review for the Licensure Exam for Teachers and on Sundays I get busy with my project in our community,” said Lhyn.
Having graduated as Magna Cum Laude of Batch 2016 in Cebu Normal University earning a degree of Bachelor in Elementary Education, Lhyn took on the challenge of contributing to the growth of the Philippines doing what she loves most.
“Project Kaalam started last 2015. I had around 15 students to start with but I now have 30 to 40 students. My students in Project Kaalam range from pre-school, elementary to high school, that’s why I have to teach them using multi-mode teaching. There are times I hold one class but in terms of their subjects, I do multi-grade. I group them according to their level,” explained Lhyn about the advocacy she started last year, that finds her rendering free tutortial services for children in her community in Brgy. Kanlaon, Busay, Cebu who couldn’t afford to go to school.
As difficult as it may sound, Lhyn hopes to help our beloved country progress, and wanting to be a part of this change is nothing to be ashamed of.
“The project started unexpectedly. It wasn’t planned. It started when two children were bringing bags with them and they showed me their new books and I could see that they were very excited. So I started talking to them and teaching them. The next day after that they were already bringing a lot of children,” said Lhyn.
With a heart that is ready to serve, the 20-year-old Cebuana confessed that her advocacy started way before the project.
“This advocacy started in 2006. I’m a child rights advocate and I started joining trainings about children’s rights and I started becoming a facilitator during my high school days. I never thought that my dream since I was in kindergarten to become a teacher would really come true. I really wanted to become a teacher because children are very close to my heart. My battle cry is teaching and I use my profession as an instrument,” said Lhyn.
When asked what brought about the advocacy that she stands for, teary-eyed Lhyn admitted. “Because of my experiences in life. I come from a poor family my mother and father are farmers. Pang-uma ra gyud ang panginabuhi nila. There were times that I really found it hard to sustain especially our basic needs. I’ve experienced first hand how hard it is, but I realized that it’s not just me. There are many children who are experiencing this too.
Others have it worse. That experience encouraged me to join an organization for children’s rights. Trainings, seminars and forums on different cases really made me more confident to face life. There were times when I wanted to stop because I couldn’t do it anymore but they (the children) really inspired me to continue,” said Lhyn as her voice started to break.
Lhyn is part of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, an alumna of Ayala Young Leaders Alumni Association and one of the hardworking awardees of the Coalition for Better Education (CBE) Medal of Excellence for the year 2016 for going beyond the requirements of her course. CBE celebrated its 15th anniversary on Aug. 6 for its 15 years of providing additional Degree and Certificate programs aiming to help education students become the best teachers.
With the help of her family and friends and a few volunteer teachers in CNU and Ateneo de Cebu, Project Kaalam has now partnered with various organizations that help sustain the initiative.
Education is often the solution mentioned to address the current and developing ills of our society, but it’s not common to hear about people like Lhyn who are actually trying to do something about the country’s problems while using education as an instrument.