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Trailblazers What Matters To Me: Clarissa Delgado, Founder Of Teach For The Philippines

What Matters To Me: Clarissa Delgado, Founder Of Teach For The Philippines

What Matters To Me: Clarissa Delgado, Founder Of Teach For The Philippines
By Jeanna Therese Lanting
February 13, 2020
A high quality education starts with high quality teachers. Teach for the Philippines co-founder Clarissa Delgado tells Gen.T how she's bringing some of the country's top graduates to teach in its classrooms

In the What Matters To Me series, a Generation T honouree describes what they do, why they do it, and why it matters

Clarissa Delgado is helping to ensure that a broad range of Philippine children receive an education that sets them up for a brighter future. She is the co-founder and CEO of Teach for the Philippines, part of a global network of organisations that recruit graduates of top universities and send them out to teach in schools in socially disadvantaged areas. Here, she describes her work in her own words.

See also: What Matters To Me: Andy Chan

I began my career in 2009 managing a Randomised Control Trial [RCT] for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Poverty Action Lab. The RCT was with Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, a local NGO working on functional literacy. Apart from proving statistically significant positive results, which then led directly to the expansion and transformation of Sa Aklat Sisikat into Teach for the Philippines in 2012, the economists behind the Poverty Action Lab—one of whom helped us set up our relationship and the survey—just won the Nobel Prize in Economics. We could not be more thrilled for Dr [Esther] Duflo; it is so well deserved and we are so thankful that her group continues to be part of our journey.

One of the many exciting things we will be working on over the next few years is to immerse our work deeper into the history and culture of our country

Clarissa Delgado

Though there were too many hurdles building the organisation to count or share in a single sitting, the most significant challenge was the steep learning curve that I was on and continue to be on in pursuit of giving the very best of myself to the organisation and to the people around me. It is a challenge and a practice to understand my own ignorance and even, in fact, to marvel in it, and use this to motivate me to extend myself a little further, apply myself even harder and open my mind just that little bit more.

I am who we are. It has always been the people around me who have made all the difference. I am thankful that I have never felt alone in this work.

Everyone whom I work with and work for keeps me motivated. We have high standards and Teach for the Philippines can be a pretty exacting place to work but, no matter what, we have each other’s backs and are committed to each other. Our students, and the Philippines, deserve the very best we have to offer.

One of the many exciting things we will be working on over the next few years is to immerse our work deeper into the history and culture of our country. We have also made a commitment to wellness and mental health. These strands are something I hope to see us talk about more openly about as a country.


See honourees from the Philanthropy & Charity category of the Gen.T List 2019.

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Trailblazers What Matters To Me Philippines Teach for the Philippines

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