Health frontliners inspire a girl to dream of becoming a doctor someday

The COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines has earned all health frontliners the admiration and love of many Filipinos, including a teenage girl living in a rural town.

Clouie, 13, an incoming Grade 9 student this school year, said she dreams of becoming a doctor someday after learning how they try to save people with COVID-19. “I was inspired by what our frontliners are doing. I’ve heard so much about them on the news. When I grow up, I want to be one of them so I can also help those who are sick,” she said.

Clouie grew up in a family of four siblings who are all in school. Their 40ish parents, Bonifacio and Marietta, have been persevering to give their children a better education. Her mother works in Saudi as home caretaker for nearly a year now. His father currently works as part-time carpenter.

“Their parents have been struggling years before Marietta went abroad. With four children going to school, their financial resources were usually stretched and they ended up borrowing money. That’s why despite having an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) wife, Bonifacio grabs every work opportunity he can get to pay off their debts,” Yolita, Clouie’s grandmother, said.  Grandma looks after Clouie and her siblings when their father is out for work.

Yolita added that Clouie’s father used to earn between Php400-Php500 for a construction job. “This will not be enough to send your four children to school.” Realizing their predicament, Clouie’s parents agreed that one of them may go abroad for work.

Though, Clouie misses her mother so much, she understands why she needs to go abroad. “Though there are things that my mother can do that my father can’t do such as doing laundry for other people,” she said but quick to add that her mother cannot repair any damages in the house. “Only my father is knowledgeable to do that.”

The child admitted that she also got worried for her mother when several countries, including the Philippines, went on lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “But Ma said she is ok and there’s nothing to worry about.”


Missing the children’s activities

Clouie and her siblings have been involved in numerous child-related activities of World Vision. Clouie herself is an active World Vision child leader.

With COVID-19 pandemic, numerous World Vision activities were put on hold until next year. These activities included enhancing the skills and talents of children in Clouie’s community.

“I miss going to World Vision activity. In the past, when we are on school break, World Vision would invite us to numerous children’s trainings and seminars. We usually look forward to these activities because there is nothing much we do on school break. But now, there is none because of coronavirus,” she said.

Clouie remembered most the camping activity that World Vision facilitated last year. “It was fun! That was my first time to go camping. I’ve met a lot of other children!” The child’s eyes glimmer recalling the event.

World Vision children’s activities focus on enhancing children’s leadership potential and talents, rights and responsibilities, health and nutrition, and strengthening their values.

Without much activities, Clouie usually stayed home and help in house chores. Sometimes she would chat and play with her cousins who also live nearby.


Wishing a normal school setting

Classes in the Philippines is set to formally open in August. The country’s Department of Education stated that classes may be conducted physically or virtually depending on the COVID-19 situation in the community.

While other students opted for an online classroom setting, Clouie said she can only enroll for the modular approach, wherein students are given modules every week and submit their reflection or answers every Friday to their teachers through their parents or guardians. Children below 21 years are still now allowed to go out in many parts in the country.

“We only have one cellphone in the family,” Clouie explained, showing an inexpensive mobile phone on her hand. ” Also our internet connection here is not reliable.”

Clouie recently received World Vision school materials which consist of writing pads, notebooks, and pens among others.

“Even if the students chose the modular approach, they would still need to use school materials such as pens and notebooks to be able to complete a subject requirement. The school materials that World Vision is providing them will help parents to spend their budget on food instead of buying their children’s school supplies,” Douglas Chua, World Vision Program Manager, said.

Depending on grade level, children in rural communities would need between Php500 to Php1000 to buy their school supplies and uniforms. Without job for months due to COVID-19, work and businesses were restricted forcing many families out of job or left without job for weeks.

Like other students, Clouie misses the normal school days where they have to go to school and meet their classmates and teachers in person.

“I wish that everything will go back the way they used to be,” Clouie said.

With your help, we hope to give School Kits to thousands of children in our partner communities nationwide. You are not only giving basic learning materials, but you are encouraging these children to keep their dreams alive.