First in a series
ONE is never too young to make a difference and no deed is ever too small to spark change. Education is one of the keys to achieving sustainable development; it unlocks the potential not only of communities,
but of young individuals as well.These students have made remarkable efforts in providing alternative means of learning for young Filipinos everywhere.
Michelle Denise Ferreol, 22
Graduated May 2015, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Harvard University; cofounder of
College Admissions Mentors for Peers in the Philippines (CAMP)
Tell us more about what you do.
Two of my best friends and I founded CAMP after our freshman year to provide more resources and assistance to young Filipinos who want to apply in colleges abroad. What was initially just a Facebook forum turned into a full-fledged organization that runs a mentorship program, an internship program and a yearly conference.
Beyond these formalized programs, though, I see our core purpose as inspiring Filipino youth to dream
big about their future by weaving together communities of students who are eager to do something different.
Why is it important?
First, we level the playing field between international school students and local school students by providing (the latter) with free support and mentorship, which ensures that not only the most affluent or well connected individuals have a shot at attending schools abroad.
Second, we create bridges between communities. Most students who study abroad end up losing touch
with the Philippines, but CAMP gives them an opportunity to give back even while being away.
Third, we show Filipino students that, if we can do it, they can do it. More than anything, seeing and hearing the experiences of other Filipinos embolden our CAMPers and show them that they, too, have the ability to succeed if they work hard.
What made you want to do this?
I went to college as a pre-medical student. In the summer of my freshman year, I went on a trip to Tanzania
to work for a health nonprofit, and realized that the aspect of health I was more interested in had to do with educating populations on proper nutrition and hygiene.
Soon after, I realized that my favorite part of the week was when I could visit a kindergarten class and
teach science to kids. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with everything and anything related to education.
I am particularly invested in making sure as many students receive the same opportunities as I did, because
I have been blessed. Experiences such as working with KIPP, a system of charter schools in the US, and
student-teaching as part of Harvard’s Undergraduate Teacher Education Program, have shown that this is
what I want to do!
What for you is the future of learning?
In the future, technology and innovation will be integrated in every aspect of learning. Each student will
have instructions and assessments designed to specifically suit his/her needs and highlight the strengths.
Opportunities in education will be granted to individuals not based on their socioeconomic status or
home location, but on their genuine ability to succeed.
Schools will focus on helping students become active, socially conscious citizens through a curriculum that
focuses on practical and applicable 21st century skills.
You learn best when…
When I have a dedicated and caring teacher who is invested in learning, wants to see me succeed, and is
committed to making sure that I reach my potential.
What is your dream for Filipino students?
My dream is for Filipino students to be supported and enabled in whatever academic path they choose to
pursue, and to never let lack of resources be a reason to not have opportunities.
Why should young people be more involved in community building and helping others reach their potential?
We should give back because we are in a more privileged position than someone else. So we should do everything in our power to correct the inequality.