Cebu street child story gets UN education envoy’s attention

Voltaire Tupaz
Cebu street child story gets UN education envoy’s attention
Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown says the story of Daniel highlights the 'great paradox of global education' today: more young people want to learn but adults aren't making this possible

MANILA, Philippines – The inspiring story of 9-year old Daniel Cabrera, the boy who was pictured studying along the sidewalk beside a fast food restaurant in Cebu, has reached millions across the globe after gaining international media attention. (WATCH: This young boy studies hard even with no desk or light)

It has particularly caught the eye of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown, now the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.

The image “encapsulates the great paradox of global education today: more young people than ever before realize the importance of the right to education but too few adults are making that right into a reality,” Brown said in a statement.

“Against the odds, Daniel is fighting hard to get an education. At school he is considered a lively, studious and inquiring pupil and is clearly driven to continue learning outside the classroom, no matter what the conditions. But are we doing enough to help him and millions like him?” Brown added.

The image first made its rounds on social media after a student posted it on her Facebook page on June 23.  (READ: Kid studying on Cebu sidewalk inspires netizens)

When MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, found Cabrera and his family, it linked them up with local groups helping street children in Cebu. (READ: Can you help this kid studying on Cebu sidewalk?).

The call for help inspired many netizens to help Cabrera and other street children.

On Monday, July 13, a crowdfunding effort initiated by MovePH partner Bayanihan Project has breached its target amount more than 4 times. 

‘Daniel is not alone’

However, Gordon Brown pointed out that “Daniel is not alone.” He noted that at least 1.3 billion people – or nearly one in 5 – do not have access to electricity, depriving them of quality time to read or study. 

He also presented alarming figures that reflect the state of global education. 

  • 59 million primary-age children are not at school and may never even enter a classroom
  • Annual aid for basic education has fallen 22% in the past 4 years from $4.5 billion to $3.5 billion 
  • 90% of all children in sub-Saharan Africa are in primary schools without electricity

Watch this video of a Global Youth Ambassador speaking about the Global Education Challenge


Brown urged the public to support the campaign for universal education, urging netizens to sign the #UpForSchool Petition, which has already generated about 8 million signatures to date and has gotten the endorsement of celebrities like Justin Bieber. 

According to Brown, the petition will be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. –




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