On June 15, 2019, ABS-CBN’s Saturday prime time show Maalaala Mo Kaya featured Ryan Habitan Homan, a school principal from San Jose Elementary School in Donsol, Sorsogon for his award-winning reading crusade program called ‘Balsa-Basa’. Homan’s initiative rooted from his advocacy of addressing school dropouts and to improve the children’s literacy by delivering education to them with the use of a floating library in a form of a raft (balsa).
According to Homan, at his school at San Jose ES that is located on a mountainous place, only three teachers were assigned that’s why they have to handle multi-grade classes.
Most of the students at Donsol reside at remote areas where they have to walk an hour or two just to get to school. Some of them even have to stop from schooling after graduating from elementary because they have to earn money for their families despite their young ages.
Reposted from @charosantos – Hindi matatawaran ang kasipagan at sakripisyo ng mga ama sa pagtatrabaho para mabuhay lamang ang kanilang mga pamilya. Pero mas kahanga-hanga ang mga ama na nagpupursige rin sa paghulma sa kanilang mga anak upang maging mabubuting mabubuting tao. Tunghayan kung paano naging patunay nito ang kwento ng Balsa Teacher na si Ryan Homan. #MMKPAGASAsaBALSA @mmkofficial #MMK28Years #CharoSantos – #regrann
Posted by MMK (The Official) on Saturday, 15 June 2019
This pushes Sir Ryan to think of ways on how he can help in improving the children’s literacy and education and to encourage them to go back to school.
Homan taught of the advocacy of reaching out to the underserved youth in ways no one would’ve imagined. While riding on a raft, he taught of combining the two words that would spell the difference in his incredible journey – balsa and basa. This is when the Balsa-Basa program was born.
Through this outreach program, Sir Ryan goes house to house to fetch the children that are not enrolled in regular classes. He then gathers them in a raft where he reads them stories and teaches them how to read. He also brings food for them to eat.
Homan added that he used to make books out of old calendars and manila papers. But ever since their program got attention, people donated books to them and they now have a larger number of students.
In the past few years, the Balsa-Basa program was able to encourage students to go back to school to continue learning. He also sought help from the parents by training them to teach the young ones how to read.
MMK host Ms. Charo Santos also expressed her gratitude to Sir Ryan by donating books that he can use to further educate his students. Sir Ryan Homan’s story was portrayed by the versatile Kapamilya Actor Zanjoe Marudo.
From Balsa-Basa to a Global Teacher Prize Finalist
Even before he got featured in TV, Sir Ryan Homan’s journey has already been acknowledged globally.
In 2018, Sir Ryan Homan has been included in the Top 40 Finalists of the Global Teacher Prize of the Varkey Foundation for the same program that he initiated all for the education of children living in remote rural communities in Donsol, Sorsogon.
After college he returned to his village to teach children to read on his boat called the Balsa Basa! 🙏📚