Written by: Binibining Pilipinas USA 3rd Runner Up Nicole Colina
In a third world country like the Philippines, education is seen as a one-way ticket out of a difficult life. Organizations such as Yellow Boat of Hope bring opportunities of education to even the most dismal of places. Caohagan, a remote and beautiful island just off the shore of Mactan, Cebu is home to a school of many children with big dreams. I was privileged to accompany YBH in visiting Caohagan Elementary School in distributing new, durable, and waterproof backpacks to the elementary students.
Upon arriving, the other volunteers and I were greeted with a musical performance and smiling faces. Small, eager children ran up to us, complete strangers, to give hugs. These students previously received shoeboxes with school supplies from YBH, and now had backpacks to place them in. After distributing backpacks, and children trying them on with smiles of approval, lunch was provided to the island.
The modest school composing of only a few, small classrooms included makeshift classrooms as well, meaning a few grade levels had class outdoors and underneath a tent. Teachers still attempted to hang posters, use portable black boards, and make the unconventional situation as classroom-like as possible. When speaking with the teachers of this school, there was nothing but optimism about the future of the school and their students. When speaking with the students, behind the shy giggles were talks about dreams. A little girl with long hair dreamed of becoming a teacher at Caohagan Elementary School. A tall, quiet boy dreamed of becoming an engineer and building homes with electricity on the island. It is obvious how much YBH has played a part in bringing life and hope to both the school, and the families on the island.