|Former nanny tops her class|
|Written by 4Ps Social Marketing Unit|
|Monday, 11 April 2016 10:21|
Twenty-one-year old Jomalyn is the eldest daughter among the eight siblings in the Lucena family. Her heart has been torn into pieces many times when she saw her siblings eating root crops from breakfast to dinner. There were times when they only get to eat rice just once in a day. She knew she had to do something to help them.
Jomalyn decided to leave her family in Caluya, Antique and worked as stay-in nanny for one of her mother’s friends. She abandoned her hopes to go to college after graduating from high school so her other siblings could be enrolled in elementary. Her monthly income of P2,500 was an additional means for her family to make ends meet and send her siblings to school.
Two years later, an unexpected opportunity knocked on her door. Her family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which gave her the chance to avail the Expanded Students Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA). She took up Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and recently graduated magna cum laude.
Pursuing higher education
Jomalyn is one of the 3,139 student grantees of ESGP-PA who recently graduated from college. Ninety of which graduated with academic honors and awards.
ESGP-PA is a joint program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Philippine State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). For academic year 2014-2015, there are 36,850 ESGP-PA grantees that enrolled in different state universities and colleges nationwide.
ESGP-PA gives Pantawid Pamilya household beneficiaries the chance to have a college graduate in their family. It helps in increasing the number of graduates in higher education among poor households and to get these graduates employed in high-value added occupations. A college degree and a good-paying job could help the grantees lift their families out of poverty.
Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries like Jomalyn are enabled to pursue higher education, thanks to the ESGP-PA. Each ESGP-PA scholar is entitled to receive P10,000 for tuition and P2,500 for textbooks and other learning materials per semester.
A scholar also gets a stipend of P3,500 each month for board and lodging, clothing, health and medical needs, basic school supplies, and other related expenses. A total of P30,000 worth of educational assistance is given to a student every semester.
Hard work pays off
Jomalyn did not waste the opportunity given to her. She enrolled in West Visayas State University (WVSU) Calinog campus in Iloilo province. She stayed focus and spent most of her time reading and studying her lessons inside her small rented room.
Every time homesickness kicked in, she thought of her family and her dreams for them. She seldom went home to visit them as it would take her 13 hours to travel from Calinog, Iloilo to Caluya, Antique. Instead of sulking, she concentrated on getting good grades and performing well in school.
Jomalyn’s hard work paid off as she graduated magna cum laude on March 30, 2016. She is one of the 207 student-grantees of ESGP-PA in Western Visayas.
On Jomalyn’s graduation rites, no less than DSWD Sec. Corazon Juliano-Soliman graced the event and encouraged all graduates to return to their respective hometown and apply what they have learned from their school so they could “help their communities.”
Jomalyn plans to go back to Caluya to look for a job.
“I wish I could find a better job so I could send my other siblings to school,” she said.
She also dreams that her younger siblings will be able to achieve what she accomplished. She cites the Pantawid Pamilya is there to help them.
“The program helped us in so many ways especially on our education and health. That is why I am confident that my three siblings could finish their high school as long as the program is always there,” she shared, adding that she hopes her two sisters who work as housekeepers could also continue their schooling.
Through ESGP-PA, the Pantawid Pamilya and DSWD give students like Jomalyn the chance to dream big and help them achieve it. ###