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The year 2020 shocked the world when the coronavirus transformed our freedoms into restrictions and lockdowns. No one was fully prepared to face the dilemma that has come. With all the uncertainty that the last two years have brought, the world is lucky that there are certain innovations that keep the world going- such as the technologies that are badly needed today, especially when it comes to online learning.

Education opens up opportunities for children. Thus, it is a responsibility that governments and people should prioritize. There is a huge gap separating the wealthy from the underprivileged, and with it, inequality of opportunity prevails. Our job is to bridge this gap that exists. There are perhaps millions of ways to do this; it could simply start by volunteering with one of the various NGOs in your community.

One of Progressive Assistance Canada Charity’s (PAC) programs, Play and Catch-Up (PCU), which is an after-school program, brings together students and teaches them literacy and numeracy, and a lot of volunteers attend PCU for different reasons- among them is assisting the children learn. One of the volunteers, Francesca Ramirez, says, “I am a volunteer for PCU because it is my small act of helping the young people who want to strive and have dreams to achieve.” Yes, these children, like all of us- have dreams. One way to help them is to support them in their learning. From the words of Vina Montinola, PAC’s Individual Education Advancement Manager, “Small acts, when combined all together, can make a difference.” Indeed, each act contributes to a bigger whole.

Encountering Difficulties with the Lack of Resources

All over the world, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries, there are stories of children who go through difficulties and have little or no access to education. There are even those coming from the capital city of Manila, Philippines itself, who encounter a lot of difficulties when it comes to education. With the advent of the pandemic, more difficulties came about. The Philippines, like most of the countries all over the world, turned to the virtual arena for sustaining education. However, not every student in each household has access to the internet or has the gadgets needed for school.

The Philippines, as a developing country, experiences the disparity in education. To add to that, there is even the case of some students who live near the mountains, who have to walk miles in order to reach the city so they can attend school. How will they be able to sustain their education? The question now is what is being done by the government, the organizations, and the citizens- to address these problems and difficulties faced by students. 

What We Can Do

In the month of June 2020, PAC created a solution to this problem for the students in our PCU program- by providing them with the necessary resources for the continuance of their education via tablets and financial assistance for other necessary online learning resources under our Knowledge is Wealth (KW) scholarship program. At the same time, numerous volunteers continuously support the students through our PCU program conducted online every weekend. In each session, the joy is visible in the eyes of the children who participate in the weekly program. With their enthusiasm for each coming week comes the hope of building a brighter future. The goal of the program is to gear these children towards success in both their academic and life journey. The relationships flourishing between the volunteers and students strengthens their initiative to take a step towards success.

The pandemic has been around for two years now- and we must look around to see the current reality that exists. There is inequality in the opportunities available for people all around the world. Is it possible to leave no one behind? The answer to that question lies in our hands and of those around us. There is something that can be done to help bridge the gap. If you haven’t made your first step, maybe today is the day. Maybe today, you can reach out to the world around you and make a real difference in someone else’s life. Perhaps, you might find your journey towards volunteering. After all, it all adds up to make the world a better place one kindness at a time.

We are always looking for kind and amazing people like you, so if you are interested in volunteering with PAC, you may visit our website at: www.pacanada.org.

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