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The Fight for Education and a Better Life: The Story of Ecko and the Balagtas Community

In a world where dreams seem out of reach, Ecko, a 16-year-old aspiring to become a pastor and a businessman, faced immense challenges.  Ecko’s family belongs to the marginalized sector of society in the Philippines. Their financial struggles, triggered by the loss of his father’s construction job, plunged them into abject poverty. For mere survival and daily food, Ecko resorted to rummaging for junk in trash heaps and sold his finds at the local shops. Despite the fear and daily challenges he and his family faced, Ecko’s spirit remained optimistic and strong. 

Empowering the Parents

Pure Bayanihan first partnered with Ecko’s parents, fostering a strong alliance with them and the community leaders. Together, they embarked on a journey to forge new livelihood opportunities. The initial venture, a vegetable business for Ecko’s mother, faced setbacks when a flood decimated her produce. Undeterred, the volunteers and Pure Bayanihan rallied around them, guiding them towards a new path – chicken raising. Through this venture, the family found financial stability, paving the way for Ecko to pursue his education.

Support the Education of Children

Understanding the vital role education plays in shaping Ecko’s future, Pure Bayanihan worked with the community volunteers to eliminate barriers to his learning journey, paying off his phone bill so he could attend online classes and meet his basic needs. Now,  equipped with a school uniform, supplies, and solar lights to illuminate his evenings of study, Ecko’s path was clear to push forward and pursue his dreams

Providing Hope and Vision

To further support the long-term success of Ecko, the volunteers knew his parents would need hope and vision from someone who had pursued education and broken free from this painful cycle. They came up with a great idea:  to host a seminar at the local church with a speaker who broke free from poverty through education. His heartfelt and inspiring words deeply resonated with the young students and their families, breathing life into dreams that had long been dormant. Families who never believed education was possible for their children vowed to do whatever it would take to ensure their children were not left behind.

Community Expansion

When we asked Ecko what else we could do to support him, he humbly answered “Please, just help more people. Not only me but the rest here in my community.”

So, after seeing the success of this original project, Pure Bayanihan and its partners now felt they were ready to expand and embrace fifteen new families in need. Through an upcoming comprehensive program in financial literacy and personalized business startup mentorship by local partners, these fifteen families will have similar opportunities to grow their livelihoods and ensure their children can also get an education. All in the spirit of Bayanihan. 

Ecko, once burdened by hardships, now shines as a beacon of resilience for others. Each day, he is determined to walk the halls of his school, earn accolades, and bask in the knowledge he will never take for granted.

Ecko’s family, whose chicken business offered them a way forward, has embraced a new beginning. With determination, they set out to establish a new vegetable enterprise, aiming to generate even more value for their local community. The mother’s remarkable journey of resilience and persistence has attracted the attention of a local store, securing her as the primary supplier of their beloved “turon” banana fritters.

The journey is long, and there may be many more obstacles along the way for Ecko, but with each triumph, the rays of hope shine brighter, igniting the spirit of an entire community.

Pure Bayanihan helps eradicate the cycle of poverty in the Philippines by partnering with local communities to craft unique solutions that work best for them while doing so in the most financially responsible way possible.

Pure Bayanihan is the flagship initiative of the Pure Incubation Foundation.

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