Efren Penaflorida, the CNN hero, who dreams of making Philippines bullying free
Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colours, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry – Efren Penaflorida.
He was a teenager then, and often fell victim to neighbourhood bullying. Getting insulted by local street gangs was like a regular affair for him and his friends. But something in the young boy refused to let him run away. Something forced him to stand on the ground, counter the problem and the boy finally decided to retaliate. No! not the gang’s members, but the burning problem of bullying in Philippines.
Efren Penaflorida was a 16 years old boy, when he started his Dynamic Teen Company with 20 members. Initially it was a friendship club that aimed to empower the students and other poor kids who had joined the street gangs for many reasons.
Later, they collaborated with another community service organization ‘Club 8586’, working in his home town Cavite city, Philippines. It is learnt that Club 8586 is the mother organization of Dynamic Teen Company.
‘We send school dropped out kids back to school’, Efren Penaflorida, the CNN hero award winner said to a news agency in an interview. They organize many talent enhancement programs and self development activities to build the inner confidence of the kids and give them an alternative to gang membership.
They pioneered the idea of Kariton Klasrum (pushcart classroom), send pushcarts to the areas where the children were deprived of education. The pushcarts stocked with materials like books, pens, tables and chairs and visit places to places to provide education. From cemetery to trash dump, any where they get some spaces, they make their classrooms for the day.
Upon receiving the CNN hero award, Efren Penaflorida said :
Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.
Fortunately, around 95 percent of the students have gone back to the school, as per a report published in an online daily. Currently, the Kariton Klasrum serves 800 kids.
Image credit: coetail