A Personal Experience:
It was early morning and I was at a convenience store, waiting in line to purchase some snacks and personals before heading to work. There was a mother and her son in front of me with a basket of school supplies. The boy was wearing a school uniform and judging from his appearance, I’d say he was around third grade. I’m really not good with judging faces and age but I figured the mom was on her late 30’s. She’s got this sunburned skin which made her look older than she really is and which is typical among those who are regularly exposed to the sun for long periods. It didn’t take much for me to conceive that she probably does menial labor during the day.
After looking at her hands with clean nails and unnaturally light skin, I came to the conclusion that she probably does a lot of work doing laundry. I was secretly smiling inside as I thought of a mother’s love for her child and the hardship she’s willing to go through for her special one. Then there’s the sight that almost moved me to tears. As the line moved slowly to the cashier, the mom who was gazing around saw a sign at the liquor section saying “no selling liquor to minors.”
With some curiosity sparkling in her eyes, she bent down to her son, pointed at the sign and whispered something she didn’t want the people around to hear. The son, in his low-toned voice, told her the Visayan translation of the sign. The mom was illiterate in English and had asked his son to translate the sign for her and she didn’t want the other people around to know that she couldn’t understand the language that for many is almost as natural as the native tongue.
In that short sequence, I saw the plight of many Filipino families. There are many parents these days who were unable to go through proper education and are stuck struggling below the poverty line. The hope for a comfortable life for them might have ended, but not for their children. That is why they willingly toil away to put their kids at school with the hope of making their future brighter, even just a little. There is no certainty that their effort won’t go to waste, but it doesn’t matter. What is important for them is to at least create an opportunity through education.
It was this mother and son that inspired and guided me when I set out to participate in Globe’s #GLOBEProjectWonderful2014 contest. A blog entry answering this question“If there is one thing you can give to the Philippines, what is that gift?” This contest offers the possibility to make something happen in the community and at the same time taking home an Ipad Air. It will allow me to help other people and also giving myself a chance to win. So after giving it some thought this is what I came up with.
Free Internet Access in Public Libraries
To many, public libraries have somehow become outdated as the pervasiveness of the internet continues to grow. Why search the pages of a 20-year old book when the latest information are available with a just a stroke of a keyboard and a click of a mouse?
I myself haven’t been a public library for almost ten years now and it is for a good reason. The last time I went was during my high school days for an investigatory project. I was looking for resources to back my project at that time and I didn’t have a computer at home. I figured the library would help me save some of my research budget which I could then spend on the much more needed lab materials. However, my search was futile. There were too few materials and those that are somewhat related to the field of my project dated back to when Marcos was still the president. In the end, I had to pony up cash at an internet cafe despite being in a tight budget.
My impression was that our local library was pretty useless. This impression is further supported by the fact that in several days that I was there, there was no one except the librarian and me.
Now, what if the library was more useful? Simply offering a free-internet access in it would give it back its purpose as a hub of information. Students like those from my personal experience won’t need to have money to access important information which could go a long way in helping with their education.
This is not only useful to students. With so many companies opting to post job vacancies online instead of the classifieds on the newspapers, a free internet access in libraries will also be of great help for jobseekers.
Aside from its practical purpose as a viable source of information, the allure of a free internet in libraries will also encourage visitors to check out other interesting and important materials that could inspire people to learn more and improve themselves.
With Globe’s unbelievably wide service coverage, the concept of giving a free internet to every public library shouldn’t be impossible.
The idea is nothing mind-blowing but I honestly think that it is very realistic, achievable and can have a massive impact. Since every local government has a public library, there’s already a structure in place.
That’s it for me. How about you? If there’s one gift you can give to our country, what would it
be and why?
If this blog entry will be chosen to be the winner of this contest, one commenter will also get the chance to take home a brand new iPad 2. Now, isn’t that amazing? 🙂 Please drop your comments below. Thank you and may the odds be in our favor!!! 🙂