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Stories of Change

PHILIPPINES

- BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: HOW A MOTHER PURSUED HER DREAM TO GRADUATE -

Jain (name changed) is 25 years old and lives in the Parola slum in Manila. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl. As a young mom, she is often discriminated against by people who judge others easily without even knowing her story. Jain wants to go to college not just for herself, but also for her daughter’s future. She believes that through education, she can rebut prejudice and someday have a successful career. When she was in the fourth year of high school, her father was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Thus, he had to stop working on account of his poor health. Her mother, in consequence, decided to work to provide at least some income. At that time, Jain decided to stop schooling and look for a job as well, to help her family. At first her father disagreed, because she was expected to graduate that very year. However, at the end of the day he had no choice but to respect her decision: it became clear that without her contribution the family would not be able to afford his medicine. Luckily, a friend offered Jain a job as a saleslady. Although her salary was low, it made up an important part of her family’s income.

Having been working there for a year and a half, another friend asked her if she was interested to study again. Of course she was! She asked for more details and the friend accompanied her to an ALSA BUHAY learning centre run by Puso sa Puso Edukasyon Inc., the Filipino organization set up in Manila by the Salvatorians of the East Asia Vicariate. Jain enrolled in the secondary school program and studied there from June throughout November 2013. She appreciated the pleasant and peaceful environment in the learning centre and was very happy with the friendly, patient and professional teachers: “They always gave their best to teach us even though sometimes we were stubborn and naughty…. I’m so grateful to them because they worked very hard to teach and review us. I’ve learned so many things from them and I really love them so much.”

After five months of studying there, Jain and her classmates (friends?) spent two weeks preparing themselves for the upcoming A&E Exam, the so-called public Accreditation and Equivalency Examination. She studied hard, and focused in particular on mathematics. Now, math is her favorite subject! She had to wait three months for the results: she passed! Jain’s education does not stop here. SOFIA managed to organize an individual sponsorship for her so that she could go to college, the next step towards the realization of her dream: “I am so blessed and thankful that a sponsor supports me through college. I promise that I will do everything not to disappoint my sponsor and I will never waste the time and money that he is going to spend for my studies.”