Our lives are full of stories. Some stories are happy, some are sad and most of the time our stories fall somewhere in between. Our stories are a mix of hope and pain, the same stories that inspire us to trudge on what we are doing, hoping that one day or experience will all make sense. This is the story of Nuraisa Jarah Anilon. A mix of hope and pain, the same story that inspired her to trudge on, to persist, to move forward, regardless. Even at an early stage, Nuraisa was awakened by the fact that her place of birth, Sitio Amaloy, Basilan was remote and far-flung area where teachers are afraid to be assigned in due to the prevailing notion that Amaloy is nothing but a place of guns and bullets which poses a constant threat to the safety and security of its residents. By that time, she often reminded herself that someday she will go back to her hometown and give her utmost best to serve the community as an educator. Year after year her desire to finish her studies and go back to Amaloy remained ever stronger and in 2015 she fulfilled her promise to come back, to be an educator.
Bringing nothing but her story of Hope, she worked relentlessly for the people of Amaloy. She decided to stay for the long haul together with her siblings who are also educators like her. Every day, they motivate the children of Amaloy to pursue their studies and reach for their dreams with a firm belief that every child deserves a brighter and better future. Nuraisa’s encounter with her pupils in her first few weeks was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, she relates. There was a particular instance when she asked her pupils what do they want to become when they grow up, some of the children wish to become a member of ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group-a terrorist group in Southern Philippines) for power, for guns, for prosperity not knowing exactly that it can be at the expense of other people’s lives. Seeing the kids lose their optimism for the future and settle with despair is a painful reality that Nuraisa has to face every day. It even gets more difficult when she realizes that it is not just one child but a generation of children losing optimism altogether. But again, she went on, regardless. Every day she will fight off violence by inspiring the children to dream, to learn how to read, to write, to speak and to engage peacefully.
Nuraisa is beyond thankful to have known the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, according to her, because of the efforts of the YBH Foundation, her pupils who do not attend formal classes now shows up in class and those who were coming to school late are the punctual ones now. This seems a great upshot and impact that shows a developing interest of her pupils to the value of education. Meanwhile, Nuraisa assured that she will serve her community with all of her heart and has no plans to transfer. She has high hopes to improve the community including increasing the interest of the children in attending formal school.
Despite the struggles with inadequate resources such as tables, chairs and a widening gap between the student-teacher, Nuraisa still managed to meet this problem together with her siblings and with the help of the community as well. As a teacher, Nuraisa hopes that her work will encourage the future generation of Amaloy to pursue their dreams, to return to their community, to serve and inspire. This is a story of Nuraisa. On her becoming a teacher with a heart for her community. Her story is a proof that every experience in our life enriches our background and teaches us valuable lessons; hope can be inspiring and pain can breakthrough to a large amount of compassion we cannot even begin to explain until we channel it by doing the good.