Ronie’s new hero
Ronie could have been labouring on a farm while other kids were busy studying in school. He almost thought that he could not proceed to Grade 7 because of financial constraints. “I was hopeless. My parents could not buy me a uniform and school supplies,” Ronie recounts. While everybody seemed to be fascinated with comic book heroes, Ronie found a hero of his own—World Vision.
Ronie lives in a far-flung village in Misamis Oriental. His father, Marcelino is a tenant farmer, while his mother, Melagrose is a full time housewife, who is also looking after her two grandchildren. Every month, Marcelino earns P1, 500 (32.6 USD), an amount that is not sufficient to support the family. Out of their seven kids, three are already married while the rest still lives under their care. “One of my major goals in life is to send all my kids to school,” Melagrose says.
To make do with their budget, the family normally eat rice porridge and dried fish paired with boiled bananas or sweet potatoes. Sometimes, when thereis no money, they borrow rice from their neighbours and pay it back on Marcelino’s pay day. “Every day, I ask God to give us means to have food on our table,” Marcelino shares.
Aside from poverty, Ronie’s parents worry about the health condition of their fifth child, Renalyn. Renalyn experiences unpredictable seizures but they could not support her medication because of financial constraints.
The siblings do not complain because they have become accustomed to their situation. Their house is made of bamboo, wood, and nipa. Instead of having a bed, they use banig (a mat made of palm fronds) because it is more affordable and compact. The family also does not have water supply and electricity in their home. “We use kerosene lamp at night,” Ronie explains.
Ronie proudly graduated from elementary in March 2012. However, he almost thought that he would end up helping his father in the farm because he knew his parents could not afford to send him to school. He has also sacrificed his enrollment to make way for his younger sister’s educatoin. “I felt so envious seeing my batch mates walking to school with their bags and uniforms,” Ronie remembers.
To distract himself from his frustrations of not going to school, Ronie focuses his attention on doing house chores like cooking rice, feeding the cow and fetching water. “I gave up my studies to do these things but I was not happy,” Ronie says.
World Vision came to Ronie’s community to start child sponsorship and other sustainable programs. Ronie’s situation caught the attention of World Vision staff and volunteers. “Of all the families we’ve visited, Ronie’s was very unusual. The poverty context is very complex,” says Judith, World Vision sponsorship staff.
World Vision reached out to Ronie to discuss how he could continue his education. “Apart from school supplies, I was oriented about children’s rights. I learned about my right to go to school,” Ronie says. Although the enrollment period was already closed, World Vision has made a special arrangement with the school administration staff for Ronie to pitch in to school. “It’s better late than never,” he adds.
Ronie now greets each day with excitement. He enjoys seatworks, assignments, quizzes and class recitations. “These school tasks are preparing me intellectually,” he shares. “Science and Filipino are my favorite subjects.”
To set his new routine, Ronie goes to bed early and wakes up earlier. His family cannot afford an alarm clock so he does this on his own. He also started seeing his classmates and friends in the neighbourhood to share his excitement. “It’s cool to be in school,” he adds.
Ronie draws inspiration from his family. “I knew many students quit school because of poverty,” he says. Apart from his parents, Ronie considers World Vision as his new hero because through the organization, he was given the chance to be in school. “It is my hope to finish my studies and be a soldier someday. I want to become a hero to my country,” Ronie shares.World Vision/February 12, 2018
If you would like to help a child like Ronie gain access to education, be given proper nutrition, opportunities for development and participation, and sustainable livelihood for their community though World Vision,