WVDF Board Chair, Chief Justice Puno (Ret.) finds inspiration from a child in Malabon area programme
Under the scorching afternoon sun, our current Board Chair and Honorable Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno (Ret.) trekked the muddy and dusty path to visit Christina, a former World Vision-assisted child.
Christina lives in a makeshift house made of wood, recycled tarpaulins and galvanized iron sheets. The family uses the floor upstairs for sleeping while the space downstairs is used for dining, watching television, and raising livestock and poultry. Sacks of charcoal and a mountain of wooden planks are stationed outside their home.
Christina’s parents are wood charcoal makers, a livelihood that requires them to cook used woods for at least two days. Wood charcoal-making, considered prohibited and hazardous to health and the environment, still remains a source of income for some residents in Christina’s community. Over a hundred families thrive and earn about 1,500 pesos a month from charcoal-making in the area. However, the local government hopes to put an end to charcoal-making.
Meanwhile, World Vision advocates for a safer place to transfer the families, especially the children, who constantly breathe toxic smoke from the burning woods.
Christina’s mother Natividad, 54, unfazed by the challenges of charcoal-making, is determined to make ends meet and to send all her four children to school. Christina’s older sister recently graduated from college. Natividad proudly shares how she always tells her children that poverty is not a hindrance to success. “Basta makatapos sila. Sabi ko, ‘kahit minsan wala tayong ulam basta kumain kayo, mag-aral kayo nang mabuti.’”
Christina, a consistent top ten achiever, continues to excel in class, as she makes the most out of the support and opportunity provided by her parents and World Vision. Recently, Christina received a Best in Science Award.
“I am thankful for all the support World Vision gave me and other children,” Christina said. “Most importantly, I am thankful to my parents. Because of their hard work, we can go to school, eat, and find a way out of poverty.”
Inspired by Christina’s testimony of hope and perseverance, Chief Justice Puno (Ret.) promised to share her story to more people. “Natutuwa kami na ang ginagawang pagtulong ng World Vision ay nagkakaroon naman ng kabuluhan at nagbigay sa inyo ng pag-asa,” he told Christina and Natividad. “Kami ay naniniwala na dahil sa pinakita niyo, lalong magkakaroon ng inspirasyon ang World Vision na palawakin pa ang pagtulong nila sa mga pamilya at sa mga kabataan natin dito sa ating bansa.”
“It is a truism that education is the greatest equalizer in life,” he added. “We are inspired by the story of Christina’s family, where in spite of their poverty in life, they are able to not only survive but also send their children to school and even to college. This is a very inspiring story. These are the stories that drive the vision and the mission of World Vision.”