Kiki & Lala

A Teacher Without A Classroom

Posted on: November 19, 2009

This is Efren Penaflorida.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him but he’s huge news around here these days.

Efren is a teacher. A teacher without a classroom. Or to be more precise, he’s a teacher with (a classroom in) a pushcart.

He goes around Manila’s slums teaching kids wherever they’ll sit still and listen – dump sites, cemeteries, under busy overpasses.

You see, Efren was once a kid like his students. He lived in a slum area and was harassed by gang members. But like many of the heroes we talk about, he refused to let his circumstance be his fate. He was determined to get an education and make the best of his life.

At 16, Efren started teaching high risk kids in poor urban areas how to read and write. He also taught them Math and English.

That was 12 years ago. Now, at 28, Efren and his group known as the Dynamic Teen Company have changed the lives of over 1,500 kids. They have also expanded with their feeding and first aid programs, treating scabies and wounds. Today, former drug users and scavengers have become literate under his wing and several are now volunteers who teach or help raise funds.

His approach just makes me think how simple helping others can be. He just went out there and shared. It wasn’t always easy getting support but he found ways. The group sold recyclable materials. They even staged and performed in their own little concerts to raise funds.

I’m proud to say, the man the kids call Kuya Ef is now on the world stage. He has been nominated as one of CNN’s Heroes for 2009.

In fact, he leaves for LA today to attend the star-studded CNN Heroes Gala Night.

As a nominee he gets $25,000. If he is voted Hero Of The Year, he will get an additional $100,000.

You can vote for him here… as many times as you like.

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2 Responses to "A Teacher Without A Classroom"

Wow! I’m going to vote right now. It’s people like these that we should also declare national treasures.

i know right? please vote for him like 5 times hahaha 🙂

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