Independent Senator Richard Gordon today commended Efren "Kuya Ef" Peñaflorida Jr. and the Dynamic Teen Company (DTC) for their sincere and honest efforts of providing basic education to street children in their locality.
Gordon, a staunch advocate of Filipino volunteerism, made the commendation as he filed Senate Resolution 988 commending them "for championing the unschooled, labor-exploited, and neglected street children by providing access to basic education."
"It is in Efren and the DTC's work that we see a prime example of how ordinary citizens can band together and bring change to their lives. We admire their work and support them in their endeavor," he said.
The DTC was founded by Peñaflorida with three other teenagers from Cavite National High school in August 1997. The other founders are Jefferson Bernal, Mary Jane Causarin, and Rezcel Fajardo.
The group started as a friendship club which aimed to divert the attention of students from joining violent gangs and notorious fraternities that were thriving on the campus.
In 2004, the group came out with project Kariton, Klasrum, at Klinik (K3). Pushcarts (kariton) were converted into a classroom with a library, chairs, tables, chalkboards, packed with school supplies and educational toys to be used in teaching.
"The fruits of the volunteers' labor are slowly being reaped, as former drug users, petty thieves and gang members who were reformed through their projects are now also serving as volunteers," Gordon said.
"Former scavengers are now in school and are helping to raise funds, and those who remained unschooled are now able to read and write," he added.
The group's K3 Outreach Program enabled them to grab a spot in the 2008 Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations.
More importantly, it has caught the attention of local and international media, including the Cable News Network (CNN) which named Peñaflorida among those nominated for the "CNN Heroes for 2009".
Apart from the K3, the DTC also implemented the "We are the Change" campaign to inspire people to be catalysts for change, believing that "real change happens when one begins to touch one soul and change one heart at a time."
Other projects established by the DTC includes Balik Skwela, Hygiene and Medican Mission, Interactive Support Group, LAKBAYAN (Likhang Awit Kabataan Para sa Bayan), Pangarap Na Pasko and Treat D'Street Kids. (30/prf)