HBI is proud to announce that they are one of the participants of the June 2018 Accelerator Program of GlobalGiving – the largest global crowdfunding community connecting nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country.
As part of this program, HBI is seeking support for its first crowdfunding project centered on improving four (4) rural public daycare centers in the mountain communities of Balaoan, Santol, and Sudipen, La Union, Northern Philippines. The project entitled “Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers” plans on implementing identified needed daycare improvements such as infrastructure repairs; providing educational toys and puzzles; creating a small library with story books and picture books; provision of audio-visual equipment such as a television, a sound system, and educational videos; and implementing teacher and volunteer trainings along the areas of children’s rights protection and awareness.
By doing these, at least 200 poor Filipino children age 3 to 5 years old, who hail from families earning less than 2 Dollars a day, will have free access and use of a variety of learning facilities that will ignite their interest and love for knowledge and learning. Apart from this, a potential long-term impact of making this project a reality is the fact that future daycare learners will stand to benefit from improved & sustained daycare facilities which will prepare them for primary schooling.
The project requires a total funding of US$ 5,000. Although there is a variety of giving options ranging from US$10 to US$250 available, any amount from you would contribute towards transforming needy public daycare centers into equipped & integral social institutions for children. If you cannot donate, we will appreciate if you can spread the word about this project.
Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions.
For eight years now, the Filipino Cursillos in Christianity (FCIC), Diocese of Los Angeles (L.A.), has been implementing the Hope in Crumbs Outreach Program. Through this program, FCIC L.A. member donate in cash and in kind to implement a one-day mass feeding program for 300 to 400 children in their chosen depressed and urban poor community.
Apart from sharing delicious meals with the children, the Hope in Crumbs Program also donates 300 to 400 complete school supplies and grocery items to all children-participants and their respective families. As an added service, FCIC L.A. also donates refurbished sewing machines, laptops, and computers to be donated to poor community dressmakers and poor students to increase their income and improve their school grades, respectively.
You might be asking now, what does the name “Hope in Crumbs”mean? The name Hope in Crumbs originated from the idea that if all FCIC L.A. members will be able to donate the “crumbs” in their daily lives – such as their loose change, extra money, unused appliances & computers, spare time, & leftover love – then these crumbs can be pooled together and can be transformed into a program that can help those in need.
The response from the FCIC L.A. members is overwhelming. It turns out that they are willing to give more than just their lives’ crumbs. Through the The FCIC L.A. outreach program has reached eight (8) depressed, deprived, and underserved communities in Navotas and Quezon City. Recently, it was implemented in Payatas, Quezon City for the benefit of 300 children and their families. Check out this newsletter to know more about it:
Despite national legislation supporting early childhood care and development, Philippine public daycare centers are dealing with issues of poor facilities, scant teaching materials, & inadequately trained personnel. This happens because public daycares in the Philippines get their funds from their community governments, which means that poorer communities usually have the most underfunded and under-performing daycare centers. Families who cannot afford private daycare facilities are left with no choice but to either make do with the under-equipped community-operated daycare centers, or not enroll their children in any daycare facility at all.
Such is the case of the daycare centers in Barangay Paratong, Bangar, La Union, and the youth center of Barangay Tanza, Navotas, Metro Manila. The Paratong Community, a low-income and disaster-prone fishing village home to approximately 3,400 people, had two daycare centers that needed material support that the community government and the children’s parents cannot afford to provide.
To overhaul their learning activities and make it more fun and engaging for children, the Paratong daycare centers, which caters to 112 children between the ages of 3 to 5 years old, needed educational toys, story books, classroom materials like coloring pens and other school supplies, and audio-visual equipment.
Through the support of the concluded Heed and Thrive Development Project, these materials and equipment were provided and are now being used by all enrolled students. Through these, the daycare centers in Paratong were able to extend their teaching hours because they have more activities in store for the learners. The local elementary school, the Paratong Elementary School also noted that there has been an improvement in the reading, writing, drawing, and social skills of incoming Grade 1 students who were products of the Paratong Daycare Centers. On their part, the daycare centers hope that more children will be reached so that they can also use their improved materials and facilities.
In the urban village of Tanza in Navotas, Metro Manila, the Heed and Thrive Development Project also improved the materials and infrastructure of the Tanza Youth Library. Although not a full-fledged daycare center, the Tanza Youth Library provides after-school and tutorial services to all interested community children – and for a community with over 30,000 residents, such services are considered very important.
According to the Tanza Youth Librarian, “some parents leave their children here as if we are a daycare center. Of course, I cannot turn them away so we have activities for them such as spelling, reading hour, English lessons, and Values Education.” The children who regularly go to the Youth Center were very excited to have new toys to play with and learn from. “This is where I learned how to play chess,” said 8-year-old Joshua who attends the local elementary school as a 2nd Grader. “We play scrabble so we can practice spelling and math at the same time,” said Althea who is a special-needs person and who volunteers as a library assistant.
Although small in scope and in budget, the effects and support made possible by improving these under-equipped daycare centers and youth libraries are immense. By empowering and improving these humble establishments, the most indigent and needy children now have free access and use of a variety of learning facilities that ignite their interest and love for knowledge and learning, which would go a long way in their quest to break free from the shackles of debilitating poverty.
Education statistics in the Philippines show that for every 100 Filipino children enrolling in elementary school, only 69 will reach Grade 6. From the 69 kids who continue their elementary schooling, only 48 will complete their high school education. And from the 48 who will finish high school, only 18 will finish their education.
There are varied reasons why such dire statistics have become realities in the Philippines: some children live in far-flung areas where public schools remain inaccessible; some children are not healthy enough for school; some children grow up in households that do not give an importance or value to schooling.
The reasons may be plenty, but if you look closely, what fuels all the possible reasons why children stop schooling is poverty. Poverty dictates whether a child will have complete school supplies once the school year starts. It dictates whether a student would have food for school. Poverty dictates whether a student can join extracurricular activities that they are interested in. It dictates whether or not a student can submit their assignments or projects on time. Poverty continues to play a strong role in quashing whatever enthusiasm a poor child has for continued education and schooling.
Let us help in fostering the poor Filipino children dreams’ of having a better and more productive life through education. Let us help them break free from the debilitating shackles of poverty. It only takes 30 pesos a day to transform a child from a potential school drop-out to a successful person who has beaten the odds dealt by being poor. Fill out the form below to sponsor a poor child today:
One of the most painful problems that an impoverished and marginalized child has to face is the huge possibility that he or she will never reach their full potential. A poor girl who is good at mathematics will find it difficult to become an engineer or an accountant if she doesn’t have the means to go to college. A child living a hand-to-mouth existence with her family may never know that she has a talent in music because her parents cannot afford to provide their daily family meals, how much more music or singing lessons? These heartbreaking stories of unfulfilled dreams and potentials are a dime a dozen in the poor communities where Sponsor a Child through HBI today.
One of the Child Sponsorship Program’s unspoken objectives is to provide the means for poor children to reach their full potential. This is the case for Mary Joy Otilla, a 15 year old IH-sponsored child from the slums of Bagong Silangan Community (New East Community) in Quezon City, Metro Manila. Mary Joy cites that being a sponsored child enables her to not only do well in school but also join in school clubs and extracurricular activities. “Since our family gets to save money on school supplies and needs, my parents have allowed me to join my school’s Drum and Lyre Music Group among other school organizations,” Mary Joy said.
Enrolled as a 10th Grade student at the Bagong Silangan Public High School, Mary Joy is described by her family and friends as a kind, responsible, and industrious girl. Her mom, Mary Ann – a plain housewife, shares that “MaryJoy is a good daughter. I know she has a good future ahead of her because she is intelligent and she works hard. She studies every night.” The child’s father is the family’s sole breadwinner and he works as a taxi driver. “My dad is almost always away,” Mary Joy said. “That’s why I make it a point to help my Mama at home in doing chores and taking care of my siblings.”
In school, Mary Joy is not only one of Bagong Silangan High School’s most active students – she is also one of the brightest. Her class teacher notes that, “Mary Joy posted one of the highest grades in her class last school year. She ended up as the Top 2 student of her batch. She is dedicated in her studies and she has many friends in school.” When asked about her favorite subject, she said that Science is her favorite because “I like learning about the solar system.”
Based on her preferences and interests, you might think that Mary Joy’s dream in life is to either be a musician or a scientist. But because she is able to experience and learn so much more as a student, Mary Joy has a different ambition in life. “I want to become a chef,” said Mary Joy. “At home when I cook with my mom and at school in my Home Economics subject, I really enjoy the process of making something out of all kinds of ingredients and food.” Apart from being a chef, Mary Joy also dreams of becoming a teacher. She shares that “maybe, I can even be a cooking instructor.”
The future looks bright and promising for Mary Joy. Through the support of her sponsor, she is able to soak up all the experiences of being a student, while figuring out what she really wants to be when she’s older. Through the Child Sponsorship Program, Mary Joy and all the other supported children now have a chance at reaching their full potential.
Oftentimes in the implementation of any development project, we focus too much on writing voluminous project reports riddled with grandiose terms that we sometimes forget to see the project in its simplest and purest form – through the eyes of a child.
8-year-old Michael Anthony Valdez is an incoming Grade 3 student of the Sucoc Elementary School. Fondly called Anthony by his family and friends, the child was a first grader when ICARE Australia’s Adopt-a-School Project started last January 2015. Unlike most of his classmates who have complete sets of parents at home, Anthony – an only child – is being raised by his grandparents –Fe and Epifanio, and his father, Michael who works as a dumpsite sweeper. Anthony’s Grandma Fe shares that “Anthony’s mom left him to our care when he was still a baby because she said she found work in Manila. The last time we spoke to her was 7 years ago and last we heard, she already has her own family.” The child’s father, who has not remarried, works nights so Anthony is usually looked after by his grandmother.
Anthony admits that his unusual family set-up had an effect on his early years as a student. “When I started elementary school, I was wary of other children. I preferred to be alone during recess.” When asked about this, Anthony said that he was a bit scared to mingle with other kids because “they might ask where my mom is. I don’t know what to say to that question.” His grades as a first grader were in the low 80s and mid 70s much to the disappointment of his teacher who can see that Anthony can do better if he participated more in class. Noticing the child’s delayed social development, his teachers and his grandmother urged Anthony to join other school activities. “I asked his teacher if I can enrol Anthony in the adopt-a-school project’s tutorial classes and if he can join the school’s sports and health classes,” Grandma Fe said. Normally, a poor public elementary school like Sucoc Norte would not have these kinds of services. But through the support of the Adopt-a-School Project, the school was able to start and include Anthony in these activities.
A few months after joining the tutorial class and the school’s athletics team, Anthony said that he made his first friend in school – Vince, one of his classmates. Anthony recalls how happy his grandmom was the first time he went home from school walking with a friend. “She was asking me all about Vince and how we became friends. I think she was equally as happy as I am that I have made a friend.” As it turns out, Vince is just the first of many friends that Anthony will gain by participating in school tutorials and playing sports. He enthusiastically shares that apart from Vince, his friends include “Brix, Joshua, Althea, Stephanie, Marian, and Carla” and that they enjoy “playing tag, climbing trees, and eating freshly-picked fruits.”
Anthony also shares how high his grades have risen because of the Adopt-a-School Project. “I am proud that my highest grade is 93% which I got from my Language subjects and from my Physical Education subject. I got a 92% in Math while my lowest grade is 88% in History. My family is so happy.” His teacher, Teacher Jennifer Morla adds that “Anthony is the best student in my class, which is something I couldn’t have imagined given his middling grades in the Grade 1 level.”
When asked how the Adopt-a-School Project can further improve his school, Anthony said that if he can recommend an activity, it would be to create a school perimeter fence because it would improve their safety in school. Anthony shares that “because the school has no fence, some of the younger students often run towards open streets during recess or class dismissals. Sometimes, there are motorcycles or cars passing the streets and if kids just run out, there could be an accident.”
The changes of the Adopt-a-School Project in Anthony’s life go beyond the four walls of his classroom as his home life has also changed. Anthony shares that his grandmother has become more active in the Sucoc Elementary School and has volunteered to be the leader of the school’s Livelihood Committee. “Before, I only see my grandmom in my school when she needs to sign my report card, but now, I always see her in school talking with other parents and with our teachers.” For her part, Grandma Fe is quite proud of herself as well – “I never could have thought that I can help the school and my neighbours simply because I have experience in taking care of goats and hogs. But after what the project has done for my Anthony, I am willing to contribute my time and whatever I know so that we can have a successful project.”
Anthony also shares that his family is one of the recipients of the adopt-a-school project’s livestock raising program and that he and his grandmom now has a new pet piglet which he has named “Oinky”. Anthony is rather fond of his new pet even if it means he gets to have additional house chores because “Oinky is cute and is not as noisy as the other pigs in the community. I like visiting him and cleaning his pen with my grandmother.” His wish is that Oinky gets to have more piglet friends which can help his family and his neighbours.
Even after all these changes, there is still a part of Anthony that yearns for his mother. “When I asked my grandmother where my mom is and why she left me, I always wonder if she still would have left if there were businesses in the community like hog raising. Maybe if something like this was already here in the community, she wouldn’t need to go to the city to look for a job since she can earn here already.”
As Anthony looks on, Grandma Fe said that after many years, they have finally accepted the fact that Anthony’s mom is no longer coming back. However, they hope other families in Sucoc would not have to suffer their fate. Anthony wishes that “the adopt-a-school project is successful and will continue helping children like him who may not have a complete family” but through the project now has a support system both in school and at home. Grandma Fe said that “a child needs a mother, so we are trying our best to make the livestock raising project successful so that mothers would not have to leave their young children behind to work in the city or overseas. There is so much to be done to make our livelihood projects stronger and more sustainable for the benefit of the children and their families.”
On June 2014, the Haligi ng Bata, Inc. (HBI) and the Trafigura Foundation jointly visited – for the first time – the San Agustin Elementary School and the San Agustin community in San Fernando, La Union – the sites of the 3-Year School and Community Development Project locally implemented by HBI and funded by Trafigura.
Joining them in this field visit is Peter and Geraldine Carney – the husband and wife team behind Exposure Media Productions Philippines. Working with Trafigura, Exposure PH gave a face and portrayed the story of the project’s aims, its stakeholders, and what the project has done and will do for the improvement of the lives of the San Agustin students.
Aside from documenting the San Agustin School and Community Development Project, Exposure PH and Trafigura also told the story of another development project in Cebu with another development organization Eau et Vie. Take a gander at their story here:
To know more about Exposure Media Productions Philippines, please visit their website – http://exposure.ph/. To get in touch with them, shoot them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Exposure PH is also on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
HBI would like to thank Exposure PH for sharing with us the finished videos and for bearing with our bare land trip accommodation during their visit.
The project which started last January 2014 aims to improve the health, education, and livelihood status of 600 marginalized and underserved community members and 805 schooling children in San Agustin. To achieve this aim, the project will improve access to functional & clean toilets, increase health & hygiene awareness, implement school improvement programs, improve the parents’ skills and capacity to earn income, and empower and unite the school (its teachers and volunteers) and community (its members and leaders).
Nine months in and these are just some of what has been achieved by the project:
As of September 2014, the project continues to be of service to 812 enrolled elementary students and at least 200 community members and parents. Future projects include school improvement projects (school canteen construction, school clinic development, major school repairs), capacity building activities (seminars on carpentry, plumbing and basic electricity for community parents so they can repair created toilets), and livelihood training for mothers.
Like most local non-profits, the Haligi ng Bata, Inc. (HBI) believes that little girls with dreams become women with vision. This fervent belief is one of the many reasons why HBI with the help of IH-Germany and its donors make sure that little girls with dreams are being supported by the Child Sponsorship Program so that in the future, they can transform their dreams into their realities.
Irish Erika Madera, 10 years old, is one of the little girls who are sponsored children of HBI and IH-Germany. She may be one of the many girls who are HBI sponsored children, but in her family she is the only daughter. The child, fondly called Kikay by family and friends, has six brothers: four are older and two are younger than her. They live in a small makeshift house in the PRIDAKAS community located in Quezon City, Metro Manila. Kikay’s father works as a maintenance man while her mother is a full-time housewife who tends to Kikay and her brothers’ needs.
When asked by HBI how it is growing up with six brothers, Kikay said that “it’s very okay, because I get along well with them. Plus I have instant friends with my siblings and instant playmates with my younger brothers. Also, my mother and I are very close because we are the only girls in the family.” Her mother said that she is thankful to have Irish as her only daughter because “even if she is still young, I have someone who helps me at home and someone I can talk to about dresses and keeping the house clean.” Kikay’s father also said that he feels blessed to have at least one daughter because “she is more showy and affectionate than her brothers. When I go home from work, she always gives me a hug which makes all the hard work worth it.”
Indeed, her parents are working hard to provide them with a better future. But with only one income, the Madera Family finds it difficult to provide all the needs of their children. “That is why we are thankful to HBI, IH-Germany and Kikay’s sponsor because the support provided to her ensures that she continues getting an education which we hope will give her a better life,” her parents said. Kikay is now a Grade 4 student of the Holy Spirit Elementary School – a public school in the community – and considers English as her favorite subject because “I like pronouncing English words correctly and I like writing in English.” Her grade average is a steady 82% out of 100% but she makes sure that she studies all her lessons so that she can get higher grades. As a way of giving back to HBI, the child’s mom is also an active HBI Area Volunteer who assists HBI during project activities like distribution of school supplies, health kits, and conduct of livelihood seminars.
Irish Madera dreams of being a school teacher when she grows up. When asked why, she said “because I want to be a good example to children – I want them to know that even if you are poor, you can dream and you can work hard to reach that dream.” With that said, HBI through the support of IH-Germany and their donors will continue fostering the dreams of Filipino girls through the Child Sponsorship Program so that they can become women who overcame poverty in their pursuit of a better and more fulfilling life.donors will continue fostering the dreams of Filipino girls through the Child Sponsorship Program so that they can become women who overcame poverty in their pursuit of a better and more fulfilling life.
On January 17, 2014, the partnership between Switzerland’s Trafigura Foundation and Philippine non-government organization Haligi ng Bata, Inc. (HBI) became official. Through this newly-forged partnership, a 3-Year Development Project, dubbed The San Agustin School and Community Development Project, will soon become a reality in the San Agustin Poro Point area in San Fernando, La Union, Northern Philippines.
The aforementioned project, which will begin on January 2014, aims to improve the health, sanitation, education, and livelihood status of 805 schooling children and 600 coastal residents. The project sites would be the San Agustin Elementary School and the San Agustin coastal community. The project was planned and designed to have a school & community-based approach. It will help the school improve their infrastructure and school services, while helping the community with their sanitation and livelihood problems. This will be different from dole-out projects because sustainability will be ensured by school-community livelihood projects that would provide additional income to community participants, and a source of improvement funds for the school.
The San Agustin School and Community Development Project marks HBI’s first foray into implementing a sustainable development project in La Union’s capital city. Haligi ng Bata, Inc. or HBI is a non-stock, non-profit, non-sectarian, and non-government organization in the Philippines. HBI is a duly-registered non-profit entity with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is licensed, registered, and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Established in the year 1984, HBI operates their various development projects in Metro Manila, La Union, and Negros Occidental where over 2,500 children, families, and schools benefit.
Mrs. Leticia L. Magaan, HBI’s Executive Director, is leading the HBI Team in the implementation of the San Agustin School and Community Development Project. “It is a great honor and privilege to be partners-in-service with The Trafigura Foundation. Rest assured that we will give our very best work for the project so that together we can help improve the state of the San Agustin School – its students and teachers, and the San Agustin Community.”
On the other hand, project funding partner Trafigura Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of global commodities trader Trafigura. The Trafigura Foundation was launched in November 2007 in response to a widely held desire amongst those who work for Trafigura to make a real and lasting difference in the world. The Foundation supports sustainable development programs along the lines of sustainable development, education & integration, and health in more than 30 different countries and has funded 35 programs in 2013 alone while granting US$ 32 Million in program funds between November 2007 and December 2013.
At the core of the Trafigura Foundation is an indefatigable desire to make the world a better place by having a genuine impact on the projects they support. Certainly, Trafigura Foundation has found another partner in HBI, geared toward achieving their goals.
*Know more about the San Agustin School and Community Development Project in our future posts.
“The ability to triumph and have a better life always begins with you – it doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, or what college course you finished.” Perhaps this was what the participants of the 2013 HBI Livelihood Projects were thinking when they chose to take the first step of making their lives better by trying to learn livelihood skills.
During the period of October to November 2013, a total of 72 women, out-of-school youths, and interested schooling children attended the Livelihood Skills Training Seminars on Chinese Dimsum-making, Pedicure, Manicure, and Nail Art, and Hair Culture. The seminars were facilitated by the EntrePinay Mothers’ Group – a local cooperative composed of women who were trained in livelihood skills by the Technical Skills and Development Authority of the Philippines.
The Chinese Dimsum-making seminar was held at the HBI project area of Adelfa – a fishing community in urban Navotas, Metro Manila. A total of 27 parents attended the seminar wherein they were taught the basics of making yummy Chinese food like siomai/shumai (steamed or fried pork dumplings), siopao (steamed buns which may use pork, beef, chicken or shrimp), and puto pao (rice cake with meat). The mothers had a wonderful learning experience in the easy and affordable ways to make these Chinese dumplings and have expressed their interest in making them for their families’ daily consumption or for additional income.
The Cosmetology Livelihood Skills Training Seminars were divided into two parts to accommodate more interested participants: the Pedicure, Manicure, and Nail Art Seminars, and the Hair Culture Seminars. The Pedicure, Manicure, and Nair Art Seminars was held inside the Navotas Public High School again in Navotas, Metro Manila. 22 parents and students learned the complicated but fun art of Nail Artistry, Manicure, and Pedicure. Participating school teachers and students took part in the seminar as test-customers that the seminar participants gave pedicure, manicure, and nail art services.
Lastly, the Hair Culture Seminar was held for 23 parents and students in the HBI Training Room located in the HBI Building. In this seminar the participants were able to know the basics of popular hair treatments like Hot Oil treatments, Hair Spa, and Perming.
During the October 2013 school-based medical missions in the HBI and I-CARE project areas in La Union, two former sponsored children who have went on to become registered nurses volunteered their medical services to more than 300 children and parents. Vanessa Joy Sagayo and Beda Ann Baoas shared their stories in between medical mission breaks to the HBI Technical Team who oversaw the implementation of the medical mission.
Vanessa Joy, 23 years old, said that “when I was being oriented by the HBI Community Worker about the Medical Mission activity, I told her that I already know the procedure because I was an HBI sponsored child – I used to fall in line with my classmates in Seng-ngat Elementary School so that we can get our medical and dental check-ups. It’s funny how time flies and how destiny works – now here I am implementing the actual check-ups.” Vanessa is the daughter of local farmers and her mom, Jackie, is one of the most active HBI and I-CARE Australia Area Leaders in the Seng-ngat, Sudipen, La Union community. “I became a sponsored child when I was in Grade 2 in the year 1999. Like the current sponsored children, I also enjoyed writing letters and Christmas cards to my sponsor. Of course, I also received school supplies, uniforms, medicines, and gifts every year. My sponsor even wrote me a simple letter twice which I received with such excitement.”
Vanessa was withdrawn from the Child Sponsorship Program when she was in first year high school. “According to my HBI social worker back then, my sponsor stopped donating and that’s why I was withdrawn from the sponsorship. Still, me and my family continue to be thankful for my sponsor’s support because these support made my elementary schooling very fun and enjoyable. My experience as a sponsored child inculcated in me that I should love school, value my education, and try to give back and share my blessings to others.”
Her mother said that Vanessa is a smart and studious girl even when she was in grade school. “Me and her father worried that we wouldn’t be able to send Vanessa to college when she graduated from high school. Thankfully, my sister who has a stable job said that she will help us in sending her to school,” Mother Jackie narrates. Vanessa then enrolled for a Nursing degree in the LORMA College in San Fernando, La Union. She persevered and endured an almost three-hour commute from school to home, little financial resources, and a backbreaking class schedule which involved class lectures and actual hospital work. Finally, she graduated on March 2010 and passed the Nursing Licensure Exam on December 2010. She is the first in her family to finish college.
Beda Ann Baoas, also 23 years old, has a different child sponsorship story. “I was identified to be a sponsored child when I was a Grade 3 student of Seng-ngat Elementary School in the year 2000.” She recalls receiving educational supplies, health kits, and Christmas groceries. Like Vanessa, Beda Ann enjoyed her time as a sponsored child. “We have Christmas parties and sports festivals annually – those were some of the highligths of my childhood. It was fun interacting with other sponsored children and with the HBI employees.”
Unlike Vanessa who was withdrawn from the program because her sponsor became inactive, Beda Ann was withdrawn from the program upon her graduation from elementary school because her family’s financial life has improved. “One of my siblings was able to find work overseas and he helped my parents in supporting our family. Because of this, my older siblings were able to finish their schooling and obtained good jobs. They worked hand-in-hand so that I could finish my college studies.”
Beda Ann who wanted to be a nurse ever since she was a little girl then enrolled in Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) in Quezon City, Metro Manila – ten hours away from her Seng-ngat, Sudipen, La Union hometown. When asked about her experience as a student from a small rural town in a big city university, Beda said “it was difficult at first – I had to adjust. I had to fit in with my classmates and I had to re-learn school lessons I thought I’ve already mastered. My first 6 months in the city was hard, but thankfully, I was living with my sister and she helped me adjust and get used to the fast-paced city life.” Like Vanessa, Beda Ann graduated on March 2010 and successfully passed the Nursing Licensure Exam on December 2010.
Both former sponsored children are now working in the Sudipen Municipal Health Center and the Tagudin Municipal Health Center as rural nurses. Vanessa and Beda waxed emotional when they said that “we are working in these health centers not only because we want to get medical experience but also because we want to pay it forward. We want to help poor children and families the best way we know how – through medicine. We owe it to our community and to our sponsors who kindly and generously shared what they have with poor children like us.”
Both intend to stay on as rural nurses for a considerable amount of time. “While I still can,” Beda said, “I want to help treat poor families living on the mountains who have never seen a doctor before.” Vanessa added that “hospital work or overseas work may have more monetary rewards than being a rural nurse, but being able to alleviate the pain of poor children with a wound or a toothache – seeing their smiles when the pain is gone – that is priceless.”