Staying in school was difficult for 17-year-old Rajiskan, “Nawalan na talaga ako ng gana sa pag-aaral (I just lost all interest in going to school).”

For three years, Rajiskhan Hadjula from Barangay Mariki, Zamboanga City was out-of-school. During those three long years, he considered himself as “tambay” (from the word standby, meaning being idle).

When a friend insisted him to apply for an opportunity to be one of the fellows of the pioneer batch of SUGPAT Alternative School for Peacebuilding and the Arts (ALSPA), he decided to give it a try.

“Nagbago ako, yung dating madilim kong buhay, naging maliwanag na (I changed, the dark life that I had before, became full of light),” was all he could say about his life after the program.  

“Bago ako pumasok ng SUGPAT, nawala talaga sa isip ko yung magaral. Nawalan na talaga ako ng gana. Pero nung nakapasok na ako sa SUGPAT, naganahan talaga akong bumalik sa pagaaral, ayoko nang maging tambay.”

(Before I became a fellow of SUGPAT, studying was not on my mind. I just lost all interest. But when I entered SUGPAT, I regained the interest to go back to school, I do not want to be a bystander anymore.)

Out of all his learnings in the alternative school, the one that he will never forget are those values that were taught to him while he was still a fellow. “Ang pinakatumatak sa kanila na tinuro sa SUGPAT, ay maging mabuti. Dahil yung ang palaging tinuturo ng mga naging mentor namin sa SUGPAT (The lesson that stuck to me the most was to be a good person. Because that was what our mentors taught us all the time),” Rajiskhan said.

After completing the program, Rajiskan continued his studies as a Junior High School student. He says he does not want to waste the opportunity that SUGPAT gave him. For him, it was his act of giving back to the people who gave and showed so much effort in him when he was a fellow. 

As a student, Rajiskan became an achiever in his class; he was consistent in being part of the top-performing students of his class for all four quarters of the school year.

Rajiskan was also awarded with the “Character Award” for his batch. He received a medal for this award.

This was unexpected for him, he says. “Hindi ko po in-expect na mataas ang makukuha kong grado. Simula first grading hanggang fourth grading, hindi po ako nawala sa Top 10. Ngayon ko lang din nakita na ganoon kasaya at umiyak sa saya ang nanay ko lalo na nung malaman niya na makakakuha pa ako ng medal galing sa school. Wala naman ako ibang ninais kundi makitang masaya ang nanay ko para sa akin. Nagawa ko na! Salamat po sa SUGPAT!”

(I did not expect that I will get high grades. Since our first to fourth grading, I was always in the Top 10 of the class. It was just now that I saw my mother happy to the point that she cried when she found out that I will get a medal from school. To see my mother happy and proud of me was all I wanted. I made it! Thank you SUGPAT!)

Last April 2019, together with 1,444 students, Rajiskan completed his Junior High School education at Zamboanga National High School West.

Now, he is a Senior High School student at Zamboanga National High School West, working his way on becoming a policeman.

With bigger dreams and aspirations, Rajiskhan is ready to take on his new journey, “Nagpapasalamat ako sa SUGPAT kasi sila yung naging inspiration ko para magaral (I thank SUGPAT for being my inspiration to go back to school).” ##

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