Education vs. the daily need for food

860 school children in the Philippines receive support for their education from Children’s Mission. Emma and Kenneth Newman are volunteers in the Philippines and have met some of those children in Payatas.

A regular way of income for people living in Payatas is sorting and selling garbage. Thousands of families live on the streets right next to the large dumpsite. Being able to go to school isn’t something people here take for granted. Many of the children have to stay at home to babysit their siblings and can’t afford to go to school. There is no school fee, but many families do not have the possibility to pay for school uniforms, books and other material.

jessa4This is something Jessa, 18 years old, knows very well. She struggles with the thought of quitting school every day. Her family needs her help at home, especially since her father, Bonifacia, is ill. Jessa only has two years left until college graduation, but the family’s need for money and food on the table is urgent.

Jessa receives support for her education from Children’s Mission’s sponsorship program, which is also supported by ABC Iceland. Without this she wouldn’t be able to finish her studies.

She is hoping that her education “Hospitality and Restaurant Services” will help her get a job so that she can provide for the education of her siblings. None of her siblings or parents finished school. Her oldest brother, 27 years old, works at the dumpsite. Her 25- year old brother is married and has two children of his own. Jessa’s mother who is 48 years old works as a cleaner two days a week and makes 350 pesos a day. Her father is fighting asthma and can barely stand or walk. He is 60 years old and only works when he can manage.

Families work together and help each other here in the Philippines. There is no such thing as individualism – everyone helps to be able to put food on the table. Jessa is carrying a heavy load since her education can help her family to a better future. It’s hard to describe all the needs that exist here, but we know for sure that every peso makes a big difference in peoples lives. Financing a child’s education doesn’t only help that particular child, but their whole family as well, since family members look out for each other.

Jessa is a beautiful girl with a big smile telling us how happy she is for her friends in school – she has 42 classmates. School starts at 3 pm and ends at 9 pm, and it takes her one hour to get there. Her dream is to work as a tourist guide some day. We asked her what she would want to show us if we were tourists. She answered Boracay and Manilas Luneta park, since you can find a lot about the history of the Phillipines there. We encouraged her to stay in school so that she can come closer to her dreams. Her eyes teared up, and she smiled.

Emma and Kenneth Newman