Hasbi is a dedicated Grade 3 pupil of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation’s Yellow School of Hope in Sitio Tehemen, a Sama-Bajau community in Maluso, Basilan. To focus better on his learning, he isolates himself from the rest of the children in his community.
The Bajaus of Sitio Tehemen live a harsh life. They do not usually put education on top of their priorities. By the time they are able, most of the youth immediately start working or get married.
Alfahad Julaili or Teacher Al, one of Hasbi’s teachers, took a photo of him. He remarks, “I feel happy because I see him. I did not expect that there is someone like him in the Bajau community,” referring to how studying is generally less prioritized as they usually stop at Grade 10 and wed early.
In the photo, he is seen aboard a yellow boat along the mangrove trees in their area while reading a book.
The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation established the Sitio Tehemen Yellow Boat Community in 2013. Since then, multiple interventions have been done to better the lives of the residing Bajau families. This includes the construction of the Yellow School of Hope in 2016, and the provision of yellow school boats like the one Hasbi is seen with – a boat in partnership with Monde par la Main / Give a Hand.
Since the community started its formal education, Hasbi has consistently been a part of his class’s top 10.
“He understands what education is for. He wishes to better his family’s life. He is a symbol of change,” Teacher Al further remarked.
Father Efren Decrito, a Claretian Missionary and the current Project Head of the Claret-Samal Foundation (Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation’s partner in Sitio Tehemen) is amazed by Hasbi’s dedication.
“Only Hasbi has shown great interest in his studies. His other siblings got married already at a very young age, and most of them are staying with their parents,” he said.
Hasbi is the youngest of 5 siblings living in a household of 14 members (4 families) – his family, and the family of his 3 siblings.
Motivated by the harshness of life, Hasbi dreams of getting his family out of poverty through education.