Children’s dreams are amazing. They’re like balloons that can rise up in the sky to heights beyond the eye could see. They see adulthood as a world of possibility where they could grow up to have a profession they can’t even pronounce yet. However, dreams could just as easily be popped by a careless barb, reckless negativity, or simply by the reality that not all dreams can come true. But just because they may not all come true doesn’t mean they are not worth dreaming anymore.

This is the challenge and reality many children living in poverty face today. How could they even begin to dream about the future when their parents couldn’t afford to send them to school or even know where their next meal is coming from? One out of 10 Filipinos six to 24 years old doesn’t go to school, often choosing to work and scrape for money to help their families. Dreams, ephemeral as they are, are easy to give up when you need to survive from day to day.

But less-fortunate children still need to dream, perhaps more than most. “A dream is an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it,” as bestselling author John C. Maxwell wrote. Children don’t even have to dream a big dream; it just has to be bigger than they are so they could grow into them. Dreams could help children look beyond their present circumstances and give them the push to pursue their future, to overcome beliefs that limit them to their circumstances, and to discover abilities that would enable them to triumph over challenges along the way.

Bringing The Dreamers Back

Bringing the dreamers back is what drives My Dream in a Shoebox (MDIAS) initiative. MDIAS’s mission is to equip less-fortunate Filipino children with school supplies and to inspire them to dream and reach for a brighter future. This annual education campaign that started in 2009 — and with only 200 boxes — was spearheaded by the integrated marketing experience agency TeamAsia. So far, through the help of individual and corporate partners, MDIAS has collected and distributed 338,647 shoeboxes. On its 10th year, MDIAS leveled up with its educational assistance program and have given scholarships to 110 students in Basilan, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sulu, and Zambales, among others.

This year, MDIAS continues to dream bigger and aims to support 200 more scholars and give 75,000 more shoeboxes to kids nationwide. They are also reaching out to youth organizations and the academe because MDIAS’s goal aligns with these institutions: to empower children to pursue a better future through education. Each box is not just about giving a child school supplies, but it is also planting a seed of hope and assurance that somebody believes in them. A scholarship of Php 3,000 per child provides for their uniform, school supplies, and allowance for a school year, more importantly, it is an investment in a life full of promise and potential.

MDIAS has partnered with organizations that share the same vision like Yellow Boat of Hope, Payatas Orione Foundation, Loc & Stor and National Bookstore for its many initiatives. MDIAS is open to more individuals and corporate partners to join them in giving more underprivileged children the gift of dreaming and to help in making them come true.