Child sponsorship helps usher Salma back to school

All Salma wanted was to get better at Math, finish school and become a nurse. When she was in kindergarten, she was top of her class. In Grade 1, she finished second.

Everything was going well, until it wasn’t.

“My mother talked to me and told me that I will have to quit school because they can no longer provide for my needs. It made me sad, but I understood, so I decided to just help them,” now 10-year old Salma said. Salma is 5th among seven children.

“I was forced to ask her to stop. Life was difficult then. My husband got sick and could barely provide for us. It was painful to ask Salma to quit school because she is an intelligent child. She cried a lot, but there was nothing I can do. It was painful for all of us,” said Salma’s mother, Salam. She worried that her children would faint in class on days when they didn’t have breakfast or snacks to eat. She didn’t have enough to buy their school supplies. Her circumstances forced her to choose between her children’s education or their daily survival.

“We were also moving from one place to another during that time. We did not have a place of our own. Even the house that we live in now is just borrowed.”

Salma’s dream became a blur. In the next two years, instead of solving Math problems in the classroom, she helped her parents in their small fruit stand business.

“Math was my favorite because I could help my mother in the store. I am usually in-charge of giving change to the fruit buyers,” she said.

Despite being out of school, Salma has always prayed for provision. Whenever she saw her classmates go to school, she’d wish that she could join them again one day.

 

Your generosity through child sponsorship has reached Salma

In 2019, World Vision started its sponsorship program in Balo-i – a town in Lanao del Norte that recorded a poverty incidence of 40.11% in 2015, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority report.

Salma is one of the 2000 children who became part of the program. This paved the way for her to go back to school. Although she knew that she had to catch up and that she’s already behind two grade levels, she was happy to start studying again.

“I was happy when they told me that I can go back to school,” she smiled.

“We were oriented about what World Vision is and its work for the children. Jumaira also told me that I should send Salma back to school because the organization will be there to help us. That gave me hope for my daughter. As a mother, my dream is to see my children finish their education,” said Salam. Jurmina is one of the village leaders in their community who has been helping her family and is an active World Vision child monitor.

“I have also seen how World Vision helped us especially when the pandemic started. We received food and cash support. Salma also received school supplies which I couldn’t afford to buy for her.”

 

Persevering amid a pandemic

“I was excited to go back to school, meet my classmates and make new friends, but, we were not allowed to have face-to-face classes. We are now doing modular learning,” said Salma.

The current set up is challenging for her. Her parents could barely help her when she does not understand her lessons.

“I only finished Grade 1 so there is not much I can help her with,” said her mother.

Despite the situation, she finds ways to finish all her requirements at school. She asks her relatives to tutor her. She is still excited.

“I study every morning and I make sure to finish my modules on time. In the afternoon, I help my parents in the store.”

Even after two years, Salma’s love for Math never wavered. She still prefers it among her other subjects in school, and she has gotten better at it.

“Thank you to my sponsor. I promise to study harder. Please take care always,” said Salma to a person from another place, a stranger who never met her, yet became an answer to her prayers.

She still has a chance, afterall — to keep loving Math, to finish her education and become a nurse one day.