Another milestone that Kariton Klasrum has achieved was its pioneering concept was recognized as one of the most effective practices by UNESCO for the Southeast Asian region and which is now being adapted by different countries to bring education in hard to reach areas in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Kenya and soon, in Vietnam and Bangladesh.
“I have been to Indonesia and Kenya, I facilitated the training. We’re happy about their enthusiastic acceptance of the program”,” Penaflorida concludes.
I believe that behind every great man is a great woman. Luckily, Mr. Penaflorida had a strong support system at home in the person of Lucila, his mother, the woman behind his success, who has undyingly encouraged him. As a child, he saw his mother “as a symbol of selflessness, hard work, and love.”
“She doesn’t mind the pain and hard labor to make sure that we have food on the table. She may have very limited resources to send me and my other siblings to school but she has her own way of making both ends meet”,” he said. He had even witnessed his mother crying when she couldn’t provide their basic needs, but he also saw her strength and determination to never give up in the face of difficulties. It may be hard in the beginning, but eventually he had surpassed all those things alongside with his mother.
Behind the honor and popularity Mr. Peñaflorida is enjoying, the reality is that the Philippine government failed to exercise one of the basic responsibilities of providing education to many Filipino children. It may sound so rude, but he just only took advantage of what the government has failed to do. The government’s failure is the key to his success. He has poured so much effort and determination to those kids which are not even related to him but still have that generosity and kindness from within. The major cause of poverty in the Philippines is the rampant growth of corruption; involving billions of pesos which are meant for education are completely wasted. Actually, Mr. Peñaflorida sees no problem if his idea of bringing education through pushcarts is copied or used somewhere else especially in the Philippines. The important thing is the idea of “pushcart classrooms” is expanded in all other areas from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Many of the Filipinos are overwhelmingly happy of CNN’s Hero of the Year award granted to Mr. Peñaflorida for his “pushcart classroom” in the Philippines. For obvious reasons, we Filipinos are normally proud of achievements of our fellow citizen, especially when it comes to the international acknowledgements. Manny Pacquiao’s successful conquest in boxing arena has united the country in praises. When Pia Wurtzbatch won the Miss Universe everyone was celebrating with her victory. These are remarkable individuals who brought pride and honor to my country. And Mr. Penaflorida is one of them. He may not have superpowers or the flashiest of weapons, but he sure knows that a good education can redeem anyone from poverty. He also proved that heroes don’t always wear a cape, they sometimes push a cart.