Name: Efren Peñaflorida
Project: Dynamic Teen Company
Position: Team Leader
Location: Manila, Phillipines
What inspired you to take this initiative?
In high school, I faced a set of challenges. Gang activity was rampant; they terrorized the student body, vandalized the school and inducted members by forcing them to rape young girls, he says."I felt the social discrimination. I was afraid to walk down the street." I remember standing up to a gang leader, refusing to join his gang. That confrontation proved fateful. At 16, together with some friends we got the idea to divert teenagers like us to be productive. We created the Dynamic Teen Company to offer classmates an outlet to lift up themselves and their community. For me, that meant returning to the slums of my childhood to give kids the education they deserve. They need education to be successful in life. It's just giving them what others gave to me.
What is your (future) dream regarding this project?
Let our hearts be willing to accommodate the needy, the desperate and the hopeless simply by extending our hand to them, and there you will unfold the hero that is in you. The pushcart school is now a ten thousand-strong volunteer force that has tutored over one thousand 500 children from the slums. And all because of one slum child who was, and still is full of hope.
What would you like to say to future participants in your project?
Please get involved, we need you.