A Working Childhood – Jeanalyn “Jean” Estrellado grew up in a remote, subsistence farming village in the rugged mountains of Negros Oriental, a four-hour hike up a dirt path from the nearest paved road. She and her five siblings worked with their parents on a small piece of land. Removed from electricity and the nearest rice mill, the family, to this day, pounds rice with a mortar and pestle. Jean says, “It is a hard life, but it is our homeland.”
Jean’s great-grandparents moved up to the mountains because corn grew well without fertilizer in the mountain soil. Though her ancestors had no intention of staying long, the family remains there three generations later. Her grandparents had little education and scant interest in it. Jean had other ideas. “I tried to study at the primary school in the mountain, but the teachers were always absent.” So Jean and her older sister went to school in the lowlands, residing in a boarding house during the week. Each Friday afternoon they made the long trek home to the mountains. Night would fall soon into their journey, so they made torches from dried coconut palm fronds to light their way home. Read more…
Jenifer’s Journey to Success
A Tale of Hard Work, Perseverance and a Helping Hand from PCAFPD.
Jenifer “Jen” Mercado Halili grew up San Pasqual, Batangas. Jen’s family was exceedingly poor. Her father, a welder, became ill and was unable to work from the time Jen was five years old. To help provide for her family, Jen began selling ice candy from door to door in her barangay. By the time she started elementary school, helping to support her family was a way of life.
During her elementary school years, Jen’s mother earned a meager income by selling homemade snacks in her daughter’s school yard. They both woke up early to buy the needed fresh fruit ingredients at the market and then, during recess, Jen assisted her mom while the other kids played. After classes, Jen sold the remaining items around the neighborhood. A few years later, Jen switched to doing piecework sewing at home, as well as baking and selling pan-de-sal – leaving little time for homework or play.
Through these experiences, Jen grew more and more determined to study hard so that she could eventually secure a better livelihood and help her family escape from biting poverty. Read More….
With PCAFPD support, Carla Dela Cruz graduated from college in 2011. Read her story to see how your contributions made a difference in her life.
Against all odds, Carla Dela Cruz has built a good life. Significantly handicapped in her lower body from birth, Carla has never been able to walk – in a country with few resources or accommodations for the disabled. Carla grew up in an exceedingly poor family of 11 children in a small rural town on the remote island province of Catanduanes. Her parents had only occasional employment as farm and other rural labor. Prospects for her future were bleak.
Nonetheless, Carla was determined to flourish. As a small child, she made the daily journey alone along the village trail to the elementary school. As she describes, “I literally crawled for my education. I used a backpack for my stuff since I can’t use a sling bag. When available, I put slippers on my hands and shoes on my feet.” To this day, she has calluses and scars on her palms and feet from the ordeal. Undeterred, Carla studied with all her might and was consistently an honors student. Read More…