Eighteen-year-old Cecilia was very sad when her parents told her in 2012 that she had to drop out of school. She was in the sixth grade at a rural government run school when her parents told her she had to stop pursuing her education due to the economic hardships that her family was facing. Cecilia was a smart student and had always wished to get full education.
Ever since she left school at the age of 12, she never thought her dream would come alive again. At the beginning of 2016, she started working as a teaching assistant at Saint Joseph’s church-based early childhood development centre in Loilin Lay village. With this job she was able to at least help support her family. It helped that she loves teaching and playing with the children. Cecilia sincerely hopes that all her pupils will be able to study to their fullest potential and will not have to face the same fate as she did.
Then, one day in May 2016, Cecilia had a pleasant surprise. A teacher at the Loilin Lay High School together with the village administrator asked her if she would like to join the “Non-Formal Middle School Education” (NFMSE) class, which was set up specifically for middle school students, like Cecilia, who had not completed their studies. Conveniently, the NFMSE centre was run from the basic education high school near her home. Classes would take place six afternoons a week for two and a half hours each. When she heard about the programme, she jumped at the chance and immediately enrolled.
Cecilia never misses a class and encourages her friends to keep attending as well. “I find all the lessons very interesting. I don’t want to miss a thing,” she said. The others listen to her as she is the oldest as well as being very grounded due to her work as a nursery school teacher.
Cecilia will re-join the government high school after completing her NFMSE classes in mid-2019 and she has big plans for the future:
“One day I want to attend nursing school. I feel like a shining star with such a bright future to come.”