The PESObility of Success

By Kimberly Gutierrez
World Vision Communications Intern

The day former sponsored child Ryan left his province to study in college, he dug into his pocket and found a peso. He had made it this far away from home with an empty stomach and a heavy heart— and yet all he had was a peso to last one more week in school. Still, he smiled, kept the coin back in his pocket and gathered up all his dreams together. After all, his dreams are priceless.

“If I spent my only money, I would be left with nothing and I did not know when I could have money again,” Ryan says. When he first stood in his school, the boy who tends their farm wanted to harvest something else: he wanted to be a Magna Cum Laude.

Second to the youngest child of six of tenant farmers in Mindanao, Ryan knew that his parents could not send him to college. The news was nothing new. His neighbours were lucky enough to get through high school, some did not even finish elementary. “My parents were not able to finish schooling and they did all their best to break that cycle, for us—their children, to finish college. I personally want the best for my family especially for my parents who are working so hard to provide our basic and school needs,” Ryan said as his eyes turned glassy.

To continue his studies, he had to move to another province away from his family. Homeless, friendless and penniless, Ryan had to make the most out of the little allowance his parents could provide. “In school, I had to control my longing to be home and to spend time with my parents and siblings. I could go home only after the semester ended. My parents could not give me money often because they also don’t have enough.” he says.

In desperate times, Ryan would make his classmates’ assignments or clean his teacher’s house just to bring home something more than a peso, even just for food. There were moments that he wanted to give up and just go home, but then he would realize all the people who helped him reach this far. Aside from his parents, siblings, schoolmates and classmates, he always remembered and reminded himself of how he has been helped by World Vision. “They never gave up on us. Ever since, they helped me with my education especially on my college days, they paid for my school obligations,” he says.

Finally, after four years of striving and determination, Ryan reached his dream – to be a Magna Cum laude.

In front of everybody, Ryan smiled the biggest as he offered his victory to his family. “To Nanay Evelyn and Tatay Isidro, brothers and sisters, thank you for your untiring support despite the physical distance we have. Nay and Tay, this is the fruit of your labour.”

“And to World Vision, thank you so much for supporting my education for almost 13 years. To my Canadian sponsor, wherever you are, I dedicate this award to you.”

Today, Ryan digs into his pocket and finds not only a peso but a medal. For a Magna Cum Laude like Ryan, priceless dreams sometimes starts with a peso. Truly, the boy who used to tend their farm now harvests success.