If anyone deserves the Nobel Peace Prize it is Kuya Pultak, the Philippines corporate lawyer who, in 2011, started a community effort known in that country as a bayanihan to build school houses and classrooms in the remotest areas of the country. Kuya Pultak in Filipino means “bald older brother” and lawyer Angelo Valencia takes it in the context of Philippine culture, an honor to be so named.
Angelo Valencia’s campaign is called “Klassroom Ng Pagasa” (Classroom of Hope) and to this date – less than three years since it started – has built 34 classrooms throughout the archipelago. What makes it noteworthy is that all the classrooms are built in areas where there are no schools and where children would be sitting behind desks for the first time in their lives.
Because of the popularity of his efforts, Valencia’s movement has now drawn hundreds of volunteer workers and, more importantly, corporate sponsors. Some civic organizations and government agencies have likewise pitched in.
As it is in the old Philippine bayanihan, there is no organizational “hierarchy” – Klassroom Ng Pagasa is made up of hundreds of people working together to help provide an education to the nation’s hope of the future. Except for Kuya Pultak, who leads them on.