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Mary Joy Otilla is trying to reach her full potential

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.

Mary Joy, an HBI sponsored child, with her father & siblings
Mary Joy, an HBI sponsored child, with her father & siblings.

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.

Mary Joy with her favorite teacher
Mary Joy with her favorite teacher

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 “Mary Joy 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.

Mary Joy doing her assignments at home
Mary Joy doing her assignments at home

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.

Mary Joy with her mother
Mary Joy with her mother

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.

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