Filipino who teaches street children at Manila cemetery gets London nod

November 22, 2019 - 1:52 PM
Children in poverty
Manila's streets serve as dangerous playground for children from impoverished urban communities. (The STAR/File photo)

A Filipino who educates children at the Manila North Cemetery was nominated for an international award in London.

Reymond “Rey” de Jesus was among the nominees for the Community Employee of the Year award at the Investors in People Awards or IIP for this 2019.

The awarding ceremony happened in London last November 19.

De Jesus teaches street children who live in the Manila North Cemetery in Sta. Cruz, Manila every Saturday as part of his volunteer work for the “Ang Galing” literacy program of the ATD Fourth World Philippines, a non-government organization that advocates education and human rights.

With De Jesus’ dedication, one of the largest cemeteries in the country became an alternative learning venue for children from poor communities in the capital.

“When you start to notice that there is already change from the children, after weeks, months, or years that you are with them, it will put a smile on your face. You will notice a change in terms of how they read, how they write, and even how they interact with people,” De Jesus said.

The IIP is a UK-owned agency that helps other organizations and people improve their work performance.

Aside from De Jesus, other nominees of the Community of the Year award are Jocelyn D. Lasmarias (South Cotabato Integrated Port Services, Inc.), Rose Price (Hays Travel), Aldwin Perez (Al Zahra Hospital Dubai) and Becky Gustard (Pioneering Care Partnership), who won the title for the year.

The ATD Fourth World Philippines which was established in 1987 closely interacts with homeless families who live in public cemeteries, under bridges, beside water canals and other dangerous places in Metro Manila.

They conduct different activities or community projects to help uplift their way of living which include the “Ang Galing” literacy program, street libraries, art and craft workshops and livelihood training.