A Story to Tell

My life in the Philippines
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about the year 2000? Millennium? Love bug virus? Year of the Dragon? Whatever you think about, isn’t it like yesterday, where in fact it’s nearly two decades ago? Time flies, I cannot forget how this year started changing my life, when I was 10 years old and still in fourth grade at Garita Elementary School.
It’s all the beginning of hope in every girl’s dream. I have a dream and I wanted to be a student. It was a very special day in school, I wasn’t sure if it is because there were tall and white Dutch men coming to visit our school that day. They asked our teachers who were present to help them in the search for 50 students who couldn’t afford the school fees, transport and food. In short unfortunate students, financially incapable but who have the potential to continue their studies and change their lives.
This foundation supported students in the slums from June 2000 until March 2010. Luckily, I was chosen to be one of them, the organisation called JOANA Foundation.
After that, I continued my High School for four years at Cavite National High School and graduated as First Honorable Mention among 1,500 students. I was still in the foundation at that time. I am always sincerely thankful that I was part of it. However, this was also the moment when I almost lost hope to pursue higher studies in college because of the contract. The JOANA Foundation will only support until High School.
I wanted to study, but my parents and I couldn’t afford to pay the high fees in college because of the lack of financial means. I was born and brought up from a squatter neighbourhood, I had no bed, but I slept on the tiny carton sheet, covering the floor from its coldness, in a very smelly and one of the dirtiest places on earth, where the blood and waste from the slaughter house is going through our drainage where the floor of our house is attached.
Imagine, when there’s a high tide, which is more or less 5 times per month, all the blood and waste are floating inside our house. Where the life is always about the question: “do we have some food to eat for today?” No future vision, no big dream. With that 18-year experience, I started to  think : “this place is too small for me”. I strongly believe that education is the key to change someone’s life, specifically, My Life.