Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children

by Childhope Philippines Foundation, Inc
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Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Jul 11, 2017

Street girl selling sampaguita earns diploma, toga

Street child graduates with a degree in tourism
Street child graduates with a degree in tourism
The cemetery is a place of grief, isolation, and sometimes, danger. We go to cemeteries to pay respects to the dead. For many poor families, cemeteries have become their homes. It’s where they live, survive, and thrive.
 
But a 21-year old lady who lives near tombs is out to prove that hope can be found in this gloomy place. If only we look deeper.
Khay has just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in tourism from the Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology. This, after 16 years of selling sampagita around Metro Manila, prayers, and kind-hearted souls.
SELLING SAMPAGUITA TO SURVIVE
 
“Ang buhay po ng pamilya namin sa sementeryo ay sobrang hirap. Kailangan po araw araw kumayod at magbenta ng sampagita para may makain kahit papaano. Minsan wala talaga. Minsan, yung pagkain po namin ay hihingiin ng iba at ibibigay po namin (Life at the Manila North Cemetery is very difficult. Every day, we need to sell sampaguita so we can buy food. Sometimes, we don’t earn anything so we don’t eat at all. Sometimes, we share the little we have to those who are hungry),” Khay said.
Besides scarcity of food, there was also a lack of water and electricity. At the cemetery, it can really go dark.
 
At three years old, Khay was already roaming around plazas, stores, and churches around Metro Manila to beg. At five, she started selling sampaguita and walked under the grueling heat to go to different churches in Cubao, Quezon City to España and Dangwa Flower Market in Sampaloc, Manila so she can bring food for her family.
Khay’s parents struggled to provide for the family, and their earnings were not enough to send her to school. Khay understood the family’s situation. As the eldest of five siblings, she knew she had to persevere to help her family, and at the same time pursue her dream of getting a good education.
 
“Nung nag umpisa akong mag aral sa elementarya nagtitinda pa din ako ng sampagita. Tinda sa umaga pasok sa school sa tanghali o kaya naman pasok sa school sa umaga at tinda naman sa tanghali. Ganyan lang kung umikot ang aking buhay (I was still selling sampagita even when I was in elementary school. I juggled selling sampagita in the morning and going to school at noon and vice versa. My life revolved around that routine),” said Khay.
 
“Minsan kahit walang baon o pagkain, pipilitin ko pa rin pumasok (Sometimes, even with little or no food and money, I still go to school),” she added.
HOPE IS NOT LOST
 
The struggle is real for Khay. At times, she thought she could not make it. She felt the financial and emotional challenges were too much to bear.
 
“May mga panahon po kasi na down ako at feeling ko hindi sapat ang ginagawa ko. Pero mahal ko ang nanay at tatay ko, and ginamit ko ang mga salita nila bilang inspirasyon at motibasyon. Ang sabi ko sa sarili ko balang araw makakapagtapos din ako at matutulungan ko sila (I was down because I felt my efforts and sacrifices were never enough. But I love my parents, and I tried to challenge myself and I used their words as inspiration and motivation. I told myself that someday, I will prove to them that I can help them by finishing school),” Khay said.
Khay found another opportunity for learning through Childhope Philippines’ street education program. At nine years old, she started attending sessions led by street educators. While on the streets, she was learning about her rights and responsibilities as a child, proper hygiene and basic health care, and values like hard work and determination. While still selling sampaguitas and going to school, she managed to actively participate in Childhope’s activities.
 
Khay was chosen by Childhope to be a Junior Health Worker (JHW) when she was in second year high school. As a junior health worker, she helped fellow street children in basic first aid and proper hygiene. Childhope saw Khay Ann’s leadership potentials, and honed her skills.
“Every meeting, assembly, at iba pa umaatend po ako para may mas matutunan. Mas lumakas ang loob ko, mas nagtiwala sa sarili (I tried to actively participate in every meeting and assembly to learn, to trust in myself, and to build my self-confidence),” Khay said.
 
One of Khay’s biggest breakthroughs came when she was in third year high school. She was chosen to be a beneficiary of Childhope’s Educational Assistance Program (EAP). Under the program, generous donors supported her schooling so she could finish college.
 
“Ang saya ko po kasi hindi ko po inaasahan na makakapag aral pa ako lalo na po na makakapagtapos ng college. Sinikap ko pong pahalagahan ang pag aaral at huwag sayangin yung pagkakataon hangat may tumutulong, sumusuporta. Natuto akong mangarap hindi lang po para sa akin kundi para po sa pamilya ko (I was very happy because I thought I would not make it to college. I was all the more motivated to pursue a good education because of the kind people who supported me. I learned to dream not only for myself but also for my family),” Khay said.
WILL TO SUCCEED
 
Still, Khay was caught in financial struggles. What she earned from selling sampaguita was often not enough to pay for her expenses in school and her on-the-job training. Sometimes, she had to make do with only fifty pesos (P50.00) in hand to fulfill her OJT requirements in Quezon City and Paranaque City. But Khay is proud of her poverty.
 
“Masaya ako sa ganitong buhay ko kasi dahil sa paghihirap ko nagkaroon ako ng pangarap sa buhay, hindi lang para sa akin kundi para sa pamilya ko at sa mga taong nakapalibot sa akin. Nagawa ko yung misyon ko sa buhay --- ang makapagtapos (Because of the hardships I experienced, I learned to dream not only for myself but also for my family and the people around me. I was able to fulfill a mission in life --- to finish school and get a good education),” Khay said.
 
Helping street children in proper hygiene
Helping street children in proper hygiene
Celebrating graduation milestone
Celebrating graduation milestone

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Childhope Philippines Foundation, Inc

Location: Manila, N/A - Philippines
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ChildhopePH
Project Leader:
Mylene Lagman
Resource Mobilization and Communications Manager
Manila, Philippines

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