By: Kendra Ivana S. Sy
There is no doubt that children today are heavily influenced by the internet. According to statistics, there are 5.4 million Filipino teenagers that go on Facebook, and that includes me. Although social networking sites are commonly used to keep us connected with our friends and family, it has also been a place of information sharing. In fact, it was in Facebook where I first read about KRIS Library.
Arizza, the daughter of the founder of KRIS Library, is an alumnus of my high school’s sister school in Diliman, Quezon City. One of my friends from that school mentioned that she was one of the people who made their alma mater very proud. My curiosity then led me to find out what she was most known for. Initially, I expected her to be one of those international competition winners since schools love to boast about their students’ awards. But when I found out that she was a big part of a volunteering group, I realized that life isn’t supposed to be all about superficial recognition or topping examinations. Although we should always study hard because education is a big determiner of what we can become in the future, it only made more sense to me as to why we should engage ourselves in such helpful organizations.
There are a lot of children who want to study and learn, but they can’t because their parents can’t afford to give them an education. It’s saddening because they’re being deprived of a future for reasons that they cannot even comprehend since poverty is usually a problem that has long been there, just being passed on from generation to generation, and they are just helpless human beings that were bore into the harsher side of the world. If there’s a way to stop such pattern and turn it around, why not?
My family is also very keen when it comes to helping others back in my home region, Bicol. I grew up to my parents’ stories about the sad reality outside my air conditioned room with Wi-Fi internet. Both of them have experienced a hard way of living back then and they have opened my eyes to why we should share and give to others when we have a little more than what we need. Even if you look outside, you can see the despair on a lot of children’s faces and it’s inevitable to frown when you imagine the kind of life they will have in twenty years. But it shouldn’t always be a nightmare for them. That’s why there are people who help them such as KRIS Library.
What’s great about this organization is that after a decade of service, they managed to put up six KRIS Libraries already scattered all over the country. Each library provides free access to a lot of books and computers for those who didn’t even think they’d be able to read and learn again. They also offer scholarships to bright and inspiring children who may grow up to tell their own story of how they conquered poverty through education. Since health plays a big part in how children grow and develop, they also do medical missions in partnership with other foundations to benefit the needy frequenters of their libraries.
Aside from the usual donations, you can help by a lending a hand during their programs. They accept volunteers of any age in their website and they’d be glad to welcome you into their group. Speaking of age, the mere fact that this is all co-headed by a young woman is striking because it shows that you don’t have to wait until you’re forty before you start helping people. It proves that even if you’re a teenager, struggling between your adolescent love life and fast-paced studies, you can still do something to make a change.
The whole point of this article is that these children are the people who will be leading our nation come ten or twenty years. Do we want our countrymen to be illiterate, jobless and homeless? Are we really going to let that happen? If you were born into a family that could feed you at least thrice a day and send you to school along with your day’s allowance, you’re already living a life better than a quarter of the whole population of the Philippines. If only a small portion of the millions who go on Facebook everyday try to reach out to the less fortunate, then they would have made more progress in a few minutes compared to what they’ve done after playing all day. All we need to do is show our care for the people who are walking with us right now on this archipelago because we have nothing to lose and there’s no limit to what we can achieve together.