It is not easy for parents in some areas of Quezon, Bukidnon to sustain their children’s education. With a daily income of about P180 to P250 as corn, sugarcane or pineapple plantation workers, every waking day is a deliberate choice to send their children to school no matter how tough circumstances get.
For classmates and best friends Kent (10), Cyrus (9), and Christian (10), each moving up day means an opportunity to honor their parents for such decision. The boys who have been friends since they were in primary school, have been consistent honor students. On this school year’s closing ceremony, they will be awarded top 1, 2, and 3 respectively, and they could not wait for their parents to walk up the stage and pin their ribbons.
“Father is always tired from driving big trucks for long hours but I never heard him say no whenever I need something for school. When I grow up and become an engineer, I’ll make sure he gets the rest he needs. For now, I want to make him and mama smile by being the top 1 in class,” says Kent who has the most infectious smile of the three.
For Christian, his determination to do well in school is rooted on his dream to have a better life for his parents. His mother has to juggle work as a sugarcane farm worker and as a house helper. His father was crippled three years ago from a ‘hit and run’ incident.
“Life has become a lot harder since then. I feel bad for mother who has to work under the sun every day. I want to study well, finish school and buy my parents a house because where we live now is not ours. I also pray that father could walk again so he can join me and mama on the stage again,” he shares.
Aside from love of family, Kent, Cyrus and Christian are inspired by their sponsors. In 2015, World Vision started working in their community, primarily to help empower families to provide for their children and eventually combat child labor. In the 2007 National Statistics data and UNICEF’s Sixth Country Programme for Children data, of the 799,000 child laborers in the country, 22% came from the Province of Bukidnon.
While several initiatives were implemented to battle the problem, more work needs to be done. World Vision, through its generous sponsors then started implementing programs on health and nutrition, education and economic development, catering to at least 4,000 families in four barangays. In the months that followed, Kent, Cyrus and Christian each had their own sponsors.
“We’ve been receiving school supplies, school bag, noche buena packages for Christmas and other gifts. I always write to my sponsor, Gina, to thank her. I am also excited to tell her that I am the second in my class this year,” shares Cyrus.
Adds Kent, “They are like our parents now so we also want to make them proud.”
The boys will be moving up to Grade 5 this coming June. While they are still years from becoming successful engineers, they are determined to never lose sight of their goal not only for themselves but more importantly, for the people who, despite all the challenges, allow them to get closer to their dreams.
“I’m happy I get to make my parents happy by being a good student. I hope my sponsor is also happy,” ends Christian.World Vision/April 4, 2018
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.