Dreaming of becoming the first pilot in town

 

In a small town where most children dream of becoming a teacher or office worker, one boy wants to be different.

“I want to be a pilot someday!” Jay, 10, exclaims.

“You want to be a pilot?” his mother, Melojane, teases her son. “You cannot even ride a jeep without vomiting.”

“But I can ride a tricycle with ease,” Jay counters. Both mother and son laugh.

Jay lives in a fishing village in the province of Batangas, south of Manila. His father used to be a fisherman but with low income and four children to support, his father thought it best to work in the Middle East as construction worker to earn more.

However, COVID-19 forced most companies to lay off their employees. Jay’s father was not an exemption. His father came home this January 2021.

World Vision has been working with Jay’s family for years through child sponsorship. Jay is the first and only sponsored child in the family. His mother says that at first, they were not familiar with what World Vision is.

As World Vision sponsored child, Jay is constantly being visited by World Vision staff to ensure that he is in school and in good health.

“It’s nice that I’m not the only one who wishes a better future for Jay,” Melojane says, adding that World Vision sponsorship encourages them to value the importance of education and children’s aspiration.

Jay says that the idea of becoming a pilot is something he saw on television. “Seeing a pilot fly to places is so cool! If I become a pilot, I can go places, too.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, World Vision would usually gather children in Jay’s community for child skills or leadership training. “The thrust of the organization is to provide opportunities and empower children in the communities,” Ever Rogero, World Vision staff, says. “We provide children with activities where they can discover more of themselves or even hone their skills.”

Jay says that prior to COVID-19, he received the Batang Maasahan Award (Reliable Child Award) last school year given to students whom their classmates and teachers can depend on in times of need.

Nowadays, however, Jay stays at home and do school work using a module provided by their teachers. Students in Jay’s town are using modular learning instead of online due to slow and expensive Internet connection.

Without his teachers, Jay relies on his family for learning support. “My mother and my older sisters would help me understand things on my workbook. I seldom see my teachers nowadays, even my classmates. I hope we all can go back to school like we used to,” Jay wishes.