Young student triumphs over daily ordeal
Janine wakes up at 5 in the morning every day. At that time, the sky is still dark. The first light of sunrise hasn’t yet broken in the distant horizon. The rooster, that suppose to wake everybody up with its loud crow, is still soundly sleeping.
The 9-year-old girl jumps from her bed and heads to the bathroom where she endures a chilly bath. She then wears her uniform and heads to the dining table as her mother, Agustina, prepares breakfast.
At 6 in the morning, Janine is all set and ready to depart for school. She bids goodbye to her parents and her grandmother and starts her journey. Along with her is Sheilla Mae, her 11-year-old sister. Together, they walk more than 5 kilometers for an hour going to the same school.
Two years ago, Janine started this weekday routine when she first attended school as a 1st grader. She remembers how excited she was, she even readied her school uniform and school bag the night before. When she went through the 1-hr walk to school for the first time, she recalls how her excitement wore out as exhaustion overwhelmed her young legs. She reached the school gate soaked with sweat and just tired.
That time, Janine saw some of her classmates who were sent to school by their father with a motorcycle and others rode a passenger tricycle. She asked about it to her parents later that day and they explained that they couldn’t afford to buy their own motorcycle. Michael, Janine’s dad, works as a tenant in a cornfield. He earns by selling his small share of the harvest in the town proper. Her mother supports the family income by putting up a small variety store.
Janine understood and never again complained of the journey she has to take every day. She even got more motivated to study hard and be present at school because of their disadvantaged situation.
Two school years passed and Janine’s hard work paid off. She bagged the Top 1 honor for both school year and she is aiming to maintain her record for this school year.
Janine is also not bothered with the 1-hr walk anymore. Her young legs have gotten used to the stony, and sometimes muddy, terrain path. However, Janine still longs for an easier transportation so she could spend more time studying her lessons.
For now, Janine sticks to what she does best and that is excelling in her studies. She hopes that someday, her effort in her studies will be helpful for their family – even that it takes for her to walk to school every day.
Our goals are to protect Filipino children, save their lives, reduce their suffering, protect their livelihoods and strengthen their community. Children are at the center of everything we do. They are the key to a bright future for these communities.