Urbitztondo Elementary is a small public school in San Juan, La Union, Philippines. Home to 231 students from the area, approximately 70% are from low-income families working on farms, as fishermen, or simply unemployed. Though the students at this school have excelled in gymnastics and other competitions, their academic performance continues to suffer, in part due to absenteeism. Students, mainly boys, fail to come to school for many reasons, including helping their parents earn money or take care of the house. Some teachers are frequently absent as well. The ones who are whole-heartedly dedicated face overwhelming odds, no matter how hard they work. Textbooks, printing, classroom supplies, and technology are only some of the deficits they must overcome in order to provide quality education. Without a quality education, these children have little chance to escape the cycle of poverty endemic to the region.
Watch the video below to meet one of my future students!