Efren Peñaflorida Jr.

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Efren Peñaflorida Jr. CNN
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Efren Peñaflorida, Jr. sports no cape. He has no superpowers. You would neither throw him a second glance nor even notice him in a big crowd. There is really nothing special about Efren except his unparalleled dedication to reforming kids in their poverty-stricken community in Cavite, Philippines.


Why Efren Peñaflorida Jr. is Extraordinary

Efren Peñaflorida, Jr.’s sanity was questioned when people first saw him going around the neighborhood pushing his improvised cart loaded with food, books, paper, pencils, and other things you would commonly see in a classroom. Why, Efren goes around the neighborhood pushing a mobile classroom to peddle the love for education. He left his well-paying job as a private school teacher to devote all of his time and effort to his Kariton Klasrum project while his neighbors mock him.

To make matters worse, his parents and brother did not see the point in his earnestness to get out-of-school youths interested in going back to school. For a family struggling with their own issues, they felt that Efren should be focusing on making their lives better rather than bothering to solve bigger issues that should be left to those who are in a better position to help.

Kariton Klasrum Revives Interest in School

But Efren wouldn’t have any of their “practical reasons” and kept his eyes on his goal—giving the youth hope and enabling them to achieve a better future.

When Asia Society Philippines asked him how his initiative has delivered in its mission to help revive the youth’s interest in education, the young teacher answered:

“I think our volunteers have learned to value their education more, now that they’ve encountered children whose families cannot afford to send them to a formal school. They are motivated to learn and do well, so that they can impart what they’ve learned to the kids. Also, there are fewer gang-related incidents in these areas, so I think gang membership has decreased. Unlike when I was a student, I’d go out of our house and walk into a gang fight, or see gang members congregate under the bleachers in school.” (Source: Asiasociety.org)

Named CNN Hero of the Year in 2009

Efren’s fame went beyond Cavite, Philippines—his hometown—when he was nominated as CNN Hero of the Year. He made it to Top 28. It was only then that the people in his neighborhood began to take pride in having Efren as a homegrown Philanthropist. He was furthermore launched to global recognition when he took home the 100,000–dollar prize money after being named CNN Hero of the Year. His organization has tutored 150,000 children and has about 10,000 youth volunteers.

Ways to Help

When asked by FHM Philippines how we can all contribute to his cause, he only has this to say:

“Everything given to us, we find ways to make use of them. You may help us build our dream sanctuary for the children. You may send toys, food, supplies or share your time and talent.

Whatever you want to share, we appreciate. On our part, we want to share everything we know to help make positive change a reality in the near future. Our programs are duplicable and our pushcart is very replicable with no patent nor franchise.

Just help us fulfill the dream of an equal chance for all children to experience learning the fun way. You can help us in a million ways, only your imagination can limit you. Help by adapting the system, tell our story, be inspired and inspire others too. Put up your own cart of learning, send us stuff we can use, help us build our dream center, and many more ways. Remember that “you are the change that you dream and together, we are the change that this world needs to be.” (Source: FHM)

Efren proved that heroes don’t always wear a cape, they sometimes push a cart.

Top Reasons why Efren Peñaflorida Jr. is Extraordinary

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