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.
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
Celebrating graduation milestone
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