I wish to bring this personal reflection to the street. The
place where I really feel moved with compassion and generosity
towards our less fortunate brothers and sisters is in my car. In
the Philippines, especially in the major cities, street children
and beggars will more often than not come up to your window and
beg for alms. They will knock on the glass or press their entire
torso up against it in the hope that you will hand them a peso or
two. If they see coins in your car, they will point to them and
make faces. If you or your companion happens to be eating or
drinking something, they will make attempts to ask you for your
food. Whats even worse is that with some kids, if you refuse
them alms, they will scratch the side of your car or hit your
In spite of all of this, I no longer give alms. Ever since I was
fortunate enough to have my own car, I cannot remember an instance
where I gave a kid coins or food. Although I do feel compassion and
pity for these people, I always turn them away. The reason is that some, if not a
large number of these kids, use money for all the wrong reasons.
Some of them use it to get their hands on illegal drugs. Others
gamble. Aside from these, a number of other wrongdoings abound,
such as excessive drinking, which can lead to crime.
What these kids need is not money or pieces of food. What they
need is love, compassion, and education. They need to be taught how
to fend for themselves in the future. They cannot depend on begging
for alms from others to sustain themselves for the rest of their
It is through moments like these where my personal view on TD
arises. I see Tulong Dunong not merely as a scholarship program. To
me, it is my own little contribution to giving these kids a chance.
I dont want to give them money or a free way to high school.
I want to teach them the importance of hard work, diligence, and
discipline. I want to teach them faith in God. I want them to learn
things money cannot buy. These are the things I want to give out of
my car window.
Our national hero, Dr. Rizal, once said that the youth is the
future of the country. He was right. Help them in their education
today. Show them love and compassion now. In the future, they will
no longer be the children we see on the streets today.
Its about giving them a chance for a brighter future.
- by Robbie Reyes,
TD Tutor 1998-1999 (Robbie Reyes was a senior in the Ateneo de
Manila High School, batch 1998-1999. He served as a tutor for
English at Old Balara Elementary School)
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