Day-in-a-life story of a World Vision sponsored child Laica

A faint bark can be heard from the corner of Laica’s house. Two puppies were playing with their mother.

“Are they yours or your sisters?” I asked.

“Mine!” Laica, 11, said.

“Do you have names for them?”

“This one is Sam-sam. This is Ole. And their mother is Chuchay,” Laica introduced. Sam-sam is a brown puppy like her mother, while Ole is white. Laica picked up Ole and played with the puppy for a while.

Laica’s mother, Rowena, 41, said her daughter loves the puppies. The dogs were a gift from a relative. “I didn’t know they have names. I only learned now. She must have made it up,” Rowena said, laughing.

Rowena has been a long-time World Vision volunteer, helping the organization in monitoring assisted children in her neighborhood. “I learned a lot from being a World Vision such as the importance of education and family in molding a child’s attitude,” she said.

Her husband, Marlon, 44, is a construction worker, and the only source of income for the family. Rowena tries to help her husband by selling beauty products. “If sells is good, I earned enough. But this is not always. There are numerous times when I don’t earn anything,” she shared.

Rowena is good at keeping her husband’s income, stretching for weeks until the next salary day. Her frugality and her husband’s perseverance had helped their eldest daughter to graduate as teacher recently. Their second child, a former World Vision sponsored child, continuous her study and currently taking Information Technology.

“My volunteer works with World Vision opened my eyes to see what fate would happen to a child if they are not educated. Poverty will continue,” Rowena said.

Laica, being the youngest of the three daughters, has been Rowena’s focus ever since the pandemic started. Philippine schools are currently not allowing physical classes. A student may opt to do online, workbook-based, or a combination of both to continue their study. In the absence of a physical teacher, parents, especially mother, assume the teacher role.

“I missed going to school and see my teachers again,” Laica interrupts.

When Rowena is not able to assist Laica in her studies, the two older sisters help.

Laica studies online, like most children in the city where Wifi signal is strong. “I have lots of subjects and they are all difficult to study,” Laica shared, still petting Ole.

“Does Ole play with you when you study?” I asked.

“Yes. He would lick my toes or bark behind me. When I looked, he would just wag his tail. I tell him I’m still studying,” Laica said.

With young children like Laica being at home for more than a year now and still not allowed to go far from their community, children suffer burn out. Rowena agreed. “She cannot go to the mall nor watch movies. She has to study at home. All these are stressing her at times. Having a pet puppy helps her somehow,” the mother said.

Outside, a group of children were playing boisterously on a vacant space. “Do you play with them?” I asked Laica.

“Sometimes,” she said, looking at the children.

“I seldom allow her to play with other children to avoid being sick,” Rowena added.

Laica is an incoming Grade 6 student this school year. She wishes that it will be a better year for the children. “I love playing in our school. Have you seen our school?” I nodded. She added, “I played in our big stage.”

“What do you want to become someday?” I asked.

“I don’t know yet,” she shyly replied.

World Vision supports Laica’s family with school supply provisions. Recently, Rowean receives vegetable seeds that she can grow in pots. At the height of COVID-19 pandemic, the family received hygiene kit and information kit about COVID-19.