LIFE is an open book full of blank pages. We write the stories as we go. Most stories that we write teach life’s lessons and direct us to where we are going.
I happened to drop by at Alternative Learning System (ALS) Matina District Community Learning Center which is just inside the school’s premise. I’ve seen learners who are thirty years old and above. This only proves that age really does not matter at all in terms of education.
In fact, there was one there silently sitting and answering the activity sheets given by her I.M. -a term addressed for teacher which stands for Instructional Manager, whom I think is already at her peak age. I got curious and interested to know what motivates her to continue schooling despite of her age. So after my class, I decided to return to the center for a conversation. It turned out so well that she inspired me.
The woman who was once lost but now is on track and made me realize how big the role of God in life is no less than but Rosalinda F. Pangan, a 50-year-old learner of ALS under Basic Literacy Program. She was born on September 20, 1968 in Davao City.
She only finished Grade 2 in formal education and was not able to continue way back then because her parents had little value on education.
Her father believed that education is not important and women should stay at home. She has nine siblings and she was tasked to watch over them. At 12, she started working as house helper and at early age, she engaged in failed relationships.
She was a product of failed marriage but this did not stop her to raise her five children and provide them with their needs especially sending to school which she was deprived of. She worked so hard for her family.
She got closer to God when she realized the value of life and family. Before, she spent less time praying and reading a Bible but this time, she devoted strengthening her spiritual life.
When asked what and who influenced her to continue her basic education, it was her personal decision. She shared that she really wants to finish her studies though a little late but she’s not yet hopeless to pursue her ambition. She wants to learn more on reading, writing and numeracy. She also needs to develop her communication and comprehension skills especially in English. Moreover, she does not want to get stacked in ignorance and illiteracy.
She believes that Alternative Learning brings hope to someone like her who is hopeful and determined to learn and be educated.
During our conversation, I appreciate her openness to share her life story with me even the darkest part of it. I admire her for being so strong despite the failures and adversities she encountered. She has the spirit of a brave woman who will do everything and anything for her family. Most of all, I salute her for not giving up on her dream- a learner at the age of 50 is not bad at all. It is in fact worth emulating.
Hopefully, Mrs. Pangan will pass the assessment on ALS-Basic Literacy Program so that she can be qualified to take the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency (A & E) Test Elementary Level this March, 2019. Passing the test will give her another chance to continue to secondary level. I am hoping and praying that may God’s favor be upon her. (Janice D. Montalvo)