Young Leader

“As a millenial leader, ang pangarap ko talaga sa community, especially sa mga bata dito, ay magkaroon ng magandang buhay pag dating ng panahon. Lumaki rin po ako na mahirap, ngunit nakapagtapos ako. Ako ay isang living example na basta may matatapos ka [referring to education], masasabi mo sa sarili mo na magiging successful ka.”


This is Sweetly Mae Galang, elected barangay captain of B’laan Balunan, Sarangani Province where Fya Falel Integrated School is located. Sweetly has always believed that education should be prioritized as it is the reason for success and growth - something she experienced first hand.


Bilang isang IP (Indigenous Person), yun po talaga nakikita ko isa sa mga dahilan para hindi masyadong tinatapakan yung tribo ay kung may natatapos kami. Kung wala akong lakas na loob, hindi ako makakatapos kasi nga grabe sila makadescriminate sa mga B’laan. Sa nakikita ko, ang main purpose ng education - hindi lang po sa mga katutubo, hindi lang po sa mga katritribo, pero kung di para sa pangkahalatan - ay yung maibabangon po nila yung sarili nila.”



However, Sweetly has always found it difficult to convince children the importance of studying because schools were always so far away. Fye Falel is the farthest sitio in the barangay. In order for children from this sitio to get to the one school in the whole barangay, they would have to walk a total of six hours back and forth. With a new school that is much closer to these children, Sweetly sees that it has a huge impact.


“Malaki po ang impact na ito sa komunidad. Hindi ako mahihirapan magsabi sa mga estudayante na kailangan natin mag aral. Before, mahihirapan ka talaga mag sabi na mag aral. Lalakarin pa nila ng six hours back and fourth [to get to the school]. Yung iba naman, makauwi na dito, ayaw nang bumaba. Ngayon, wala na po talaga akong rason para sabihin sa mga bata na ayaw mag aral, kasi nga nandito na mismo sa community yung school.”



It goes to show that a proper foundation is not the only aspect of building a school - but the right location as well. As one of the few graduates of her tribe, Sweetly hopes and dreams that there will come a day when more people in her sitio become truly successful. “Wala pa po kaming graduates dito kahit isa. Ni wala kaming highschool o college graduate, wala kaming senior high school graduate na galing dito sa sitio. Ako yung first graduate ng barangay na ito. Nakikita ko naman dito sa sitio na balang araw, four or five, years from now, may mga graduate na galing dito.”


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