Have you heard about the kids who have to swim to school?
This was the reality for a whole community of children in the mangrove village of Layag-Layag in the Philippines.
With no road access to get to the school 2km away, children of Layag-Layag community have to swim every day to get access to education.
“Our clothes get wet and we usually get wounded. The water is deep,” said Nadzra Mutalib, one of the children of Layag-Layag to Our Better World, a storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation.
Her friend, Sherlene Amirul, also shared how she had to face the hurdles every day. “We wear old clothes when swimming to school and after we reach the city, that’s the time we’ll change our clothes to uniforms.”
The body of water becomes a hindrance for them to purse their own dreams like going to school.
After witnessing such conditions for kids just to be able to attend school, Jay Jaboneta and Dr. Anton Mari H. Lim founded the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation.
“Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation is all about providing children from disadvantaged community, an ensured access to education,” said Dr. Anton Mari Lim, Co-Founder of Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation to Our Better World.
Starting with one boat to bring 25-30 kids to school, they soon realised it wasn't going to be enough for all the children.
“Giving them physical access to go to school is not a guarantee that they stay in school. That’s where our advocacy expanded,” said Dr. Lim.
What started as an attempt to get kids to reach the school safe and dry, has now developed. The foundation now provides medical help, school supplies, even livelihood for the parents to help the communities.
The same boats that send the children to school also help fishermen in the community to earn a living.
It's amazing how one idea for a simple boat has grown to engage 40 communities and help 8,000 children, and counting.
“We don’t have to swim and get hurt anymore,” beamed Mutalib.
Nowadays, when it's time for school, the kids grab their bags, get out the front door, and instead of a yellow bus, they board a cheerful yellow boat.
Keen to jump in and help give kids a chance to get to school dry? Find out how.
A story by Our Better World – telling stories of good to inspire action.