TACLOBAN City - While other students are preparing for the opening of classes with their new school supplies, two teenage cousins from Leyte are working double time to be able to buy a router and access to the Internet for connectivity and online learning.
Cousins Alexis, 12, and Arjay Malto, 15, of MacArthur, Leyte are working part-time with their fathers in local copra trading to save up for their school needs. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has not only restricted their movement through the lockdown but also made education more challenging for them.
With barely a week left before their classes start on October 5, they work double-time in order to buy their needs for school. They earn P100-P150 per day depending on the amount of copra they remove from the coconut shells. Sometimes, they would help gather coconuts.
MacArthur, Leyte is a 5th class coastal municipality. Its main source of livelihood is agriculture, mainly coconut and rice.
"We are working hard to buy routers and have access to the Internet because we need them for research and to communicate with our teachers and classmates since there will be no face-to-face classes. We hope we can save enough so we will no longer ask from our parents and our siblings can use them, too," Arjay said.
Although their school has adopted the modular distance learning modality, the children said having access to the internet gives them a better opportunity to learn and have access to information.
They thought of helping out while classes have not yet started because their fathers' income as laborers in the copra trader is not enough to sustain the needs of their family. Their expenses for school will be an additional burden to them.
Alexis is an incoming Grade 7, while Arjay is an incoming grade 10 in MacArthur National High School. Both of them are consistent honor students and hope to become seafarers one day. They have high hopes that they will be able to overcome poverty through education.
Alexis' father is a single parent and raises his two children alone.
"We hope that they will be able to achieve their dreams because life is really hard especially if you do not have an education. We can see that they are committed to finish their studies even if we don't have money," Alexis' father shared.
Arjay said he does not mind working to save up for his future. "We volunteered to work here so we will have something to use for our class. Our parents are already working hard to put food on our table. We want to repay them for their sacrifices someday," Arjay said.