In the province of the North Cotabato, Philippines where I grew up, there is no transportation, no electricity and it is far away from any school. Life there is not easy. My parents sustain our needs through farming; we are a family of five. With our family's status, it's impossible for any of us can finish our studies.
When I was in elementary school, I walked 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) to reach my school. Some might be dismayed if they are in my situation, but my compassion and determination to deliver my family from poverty drove me to pursue my dream of success.
I have reached my high school level with gladness in my heart and filled with gratitude knowing that my dreams are slowly becoming fulfilled. Somehow I thought that fulfilling my dreams would be easy as the wink of an eye, but it seems a long, hard battle. My parents have both passed away, and sometimes this brings me down.
"How can I survive?" This question lingers in my mind when I think about my fellow countrymen in our province and the numerous children who are not able to reach my level of education. The answer is education. I believe that education is something that cannot be taken from you -- a key to success. A woman that gains education gains the ability and skills that can stir up creativity. The learning from school is essential to survival. That is why I stand up for education.
LitWorld's Stand Up for Girls campaign advocates for every girl's right to a quality education. By learning to read and write, all girls in the world can protect themselves against poverty, poor health outcomes and lifelong struggle. Literacy is a skill that once learned, is hers forever. Let us stand together to champion the right of all girls to be Fierce, Fearless and Free.
Stand with us on 10.11.12. Visit our website to learn more and join the movement.