Meet Hearty, a child from Bohol with big dreams.

While other children her age play together as pretend doctors, teachers, or policemen, seven-year-old Hearty, a first grader in a public school in Calape, Bohol, can only muster up a simple fantasy of having a job that will free her family from poverty — and what that job would be, she cannot even imagine.

With only her fisherman father to provide for her, her two siblings, and her grandmother, Hearty often goes to school with an empty bag and even emptier stomach.

Hearty’s story mirrors the reality of many children’s lives in marginalized and poverty-stricken communities. Despite their desire to continue schooling, children from disadvantaged areas are forced to forsake their education because they do not have the simple tools to continue to do so.

Hearty, along with 99 other schoolchildren from ten impoverished barangays across the country, will be the pilot batch to receive a scholarship grant from integrated marketing communications firm TeamAsia’s My Dream Scholarship Program, an additional initiative under its decade-long advocacy My Dream in a Shoebox.

“Hearty’s story, a tale of perseverance despite poverty, inspired us at TeamAsia to push our initiative further by not only targeting to provide 75,000 shoeboxes with school supplies, but by also providing scholarships for 100 deserving children. We are dreaming big so that our kids also find the inspiration to have bigger dreams,” said Bea Lim, TeamAsia’s managing director.

Started in 2009 with a humble contribution of 200 shoeboxes distributed in urban poor communities in Metro Manila, My Dream in a Shoebox has grown exponentially through the years and has already provided 266,013 boxes filled with school supplies all over the country. Through TeamAsia’s industry partners and friends, the advocacy has also helped provide beneficiary communities with access to technology by giving out computers, and financial aid to rehabilitate educational facilities.

“We believe that no child should be out of school just because they are disadvantaged. As we embark on a bigger challenge this year, we also need groups and individuals to contribute in any capacity to help realize our goals. We believe that it is through partnerships and collaborations that we will make every child’s dream possible,” Lim said.

My Dream in a Shoebox continues to accept donations from individuals and institutions. To know more about how you can enable #BiggerDreams, visit http://bit.ly/my-dream-in-a-shoebox-blogs and be part of the movement.

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