She colors our world with all shades of purple, royally fun and meaningful.
Laksmi Maluya is one of the board members of Abot Tala and has been in the local homeschool circle for more than 30 years. Independently homeschooled from pre-school to high school along with her five siblings, Laksmi has also homeschooled her three daughters. In 2008, Laksmi founded Gopala Learning Haven, a homeschool support center located in a lush and beautiful farm in Silang, Cavite. She has been offering alternative education options to families from all walks of life. She is currently the President of the Homeschoolers Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), practices yoga and promotes plant-based nutrition. A lover of life, nature and the color purple, Teacher Laksmi is one amazing and inspiring mentor to young and old alike. Children and parents learn so much from her example of purposeful living.
As board member of Abot Tala, Laksmi helps in setting the organization’s direction. A few weeks ago, she attended the mentors meeting where experiences were shared on how mentors help each and every teenager in Abot Tala based on each teen’s unique situation and personality. Seeing the detailed process herself gave Laksmi even more confidence in being part of such an extraordinary place for teens. Laksmi said, “Like everything in this world, it may not be for every teen but if your teen is looking for a safe place to find their passion, interest or gift, I highly recommend Abot Tala, not because I am a part of it but because I found like minded mentors who nurture the heart before the head.”
Laksmi was impressed by how the mentors find ways and means to give a teen a little push, encouragement or whatever they need in order to help the teen find their way and find their own voice. They need to grow in confidence in themselves because it’s only a matter of time and they’ll be young adults. Gopala Learning Haven’s set up may be different from Abot Tala but the heart is the same – life-long learning, self-directed learning, interest-led learning, personalized learning and all within the context of shared family and community effort.
Aside from Abot Tala, Laksmi is working with a group of friends from different countries coming up with an international project in homeschooling. Laksmi is a part of many circles of homeschoolers in the Philippines and globally. She weaves through them and connects all gracefully and graciously, creating a rich tapestry celebrating each and every person’s individuality and the beauty of community.
“One of the things I am grateful for is that, although I am with different families or have a lot of projects, the goals are all quite aligned. Abot Tala is a part of my advocacy because it offers an alternative education for teens – those who cannot fit in a conventional setting or a full-time homeschool setting. Abot Tala gives a taste of both worlds – the conventional side because they have mentors or teachers and the homeschooling side because the mentors act as guardians or second parents who guide and assist the teens with setting their learning goals. They provide a safe space for them to grow to become more self-directed with proper guidance.
Laksmi was homeschooled by a loving and caring community who showed her how much they cared for her so it was more than enough for Laksmi to be motivated to be a better learner.
Laksmi suggests that “If you are a parent who is undecided whether you want to go homeschooling or not, Abot Tala can be your trial phase or you can go all the way.” In homeschooling, parents have a greater responsibility but within a community, you build on shared responsibility with like-minded people and this is what Abot Tala can offer families.