Disrupting the Pattern of Early Marriage

Welcome to Colot S. Aligado Indigenous People High School in General Santos, Sarangani. A location so far from the town, that the students had to trek for hours with their teacher to get to school every Monday morning, sleep in the hut they called their classroom all week and go home on Friday after their last class.

The land was so barren that it was difficult for them to grow any vegetables to eat. One time, during class, a student was so distracted from hunger that he longingly stared at the little bird flying outside, wishing he could catch it to eat.

But despite these conditions, their students had hope.

Meet Nicey - a 7th grade student who is passionate about education. She is proud of her tribe and believes that education is the key to a future different from the ones her parents experienced.

Ang edukasyon ay pinakaimportante base sa kasabihan na ang kabataan ang pagasa ng bayan. Naniniwala ako doon kasi dapat, habang may buhay, may pagasa. Kailangan po natin mag-aral ng mabuti kahit na gaano kahirap ang buhay. Kailangan talaga natin magtiyaga.

(“Education is the most important thing, based on the saying that children are the hope of the nation. I believe in that because as long as we have life, there is hope. We need to study hard no matter how difficult life can be. We just have to persevere.)

Today, their classroom looks different.

Equipped with solar panels to bring electricity, a functioning toilet, and a spacious area that's conducive for learning, the classroom has inspired the community to pursue education and build a future for their youth. Where young girls once thought early marriage was the only direction for them, the idea of finishing their studies has now become a reality.

To grow a steady supply food for the students, 24 chickens were also donated to the school!

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