|Ellen Rose's Key to Success|
|News Features - Success Stories|
|Written by Rogerson Dennis Fernandez, Contributor|
|Thursday, 09 July 2009 07:39|
San Isidro, Abra - Many Filipinos believe that the most effective tool that will lift us from the chains of poverty is education. Statistics from the Department of Education show that out of every 100 Filipino pupils who start elementary, 35 fail to make it to the sixth grade; and out of every 100 high school students who enter secondary school, 39 will not have a high school diploma. The high drop-out rate among children in early education means that there’ll be many Filipinos who will be jobless because of lack of basic education (Romulo, Virola. Poverty and Education. June 6, 2006).
It is the aim of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to reduce drop-out rate and to contribute to achieving the millennium development goal on universal primary education.
Ellen Rose Cabunoc could be one of the candidates to the 39% who couldn’t finish secondary school but she’s now confident that she will through 4Ps.
With firm conviction, Ellen Rose says “education is the key to success”. Hailing from a 6th class municipality southeast of the Province of Abra, she believes it is good education that will alleviate her family from a hand-to-mouth existence. Her father, who works in a farm, earns a meager amount, not enough to feed Ellen and her three other sisters. Her mother is a housewife and she does not know how else to make both ends meet for her family’s needs.
Like most girls in their first year high school, Ellen Rose is excited to attend school. But with her family’s financial problems, she cannot perform well. Ellen Rose’s class adviser says “she is smart”. She believes that Ellen has potentials to become an academic achiever.
Every day, Ellen walks to San Isidro National High School with an empty pocket. Sometimes with only ten pesos – an amount she spends for lunch of chips and sago-gulaman. Her old schoolbag contains her notebooks, recycled from her notebooks during elementary years or made from old calendars recycled and cut for her class notes. Ellen can’t even afford a ballpen so she uses a pencil which she said is cheaper.
Ellen Rose said she wanted to finish schooling. And even if fazed by difficulties, she is determined to reach her dream of a better life for her family.
Since the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the national government, it has become Ellen Rose’s new hope and encouragement to fulfill her dreams. Through its conditional cash transfer (CCT) scheme, Ellen’s family had been receiving cash grants for health and education since August 2008.
4Ps aims to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through investment in human capital. A household-beneficiary can receive as much as P1, 400 each month. The cash grant includes P500 per month for nutrition and health expenses and P300 monthly per child with a maximum of 3 children per household for educational expenses. Household-beneficiaries must comply with certain conditions to continue receiving cash grants which include: parents must ensure that their children attend school at least 85% of the time, and receive vaccinations and preventive health care. Pregnant women must receive pre- and post-natal care and be attended during childbirth by a skilled health professional. Parents must attend responsible parenthood seminars, mother's classes, and parent effectiveness seminars.
Ellen recalled the first over-the-counter conditional cash transfer (OTC-CCT) when her mom was excited and a bit nervous while queuing at the bank as she did not know what would transpire. But when she received the first payment, she knew that a helping hand has arrived.
Ellen Rose’s family receives 1,400 pesos monthly, mainly used for her and her siblings’ health needs and education.
Now more than ever, Ellen Rose and her sisters are truly determined to do better in school, as it is not only a requisite for them to receive the conditional cash grant, but because they know it is their passport to a good life.
Because of 4Ps, Ellen now finds going to school more enjoyable. Instead of pencils, she now uses ballpens. Instead of junk foods for lunch, she now eats her healthy packed lunch at school with her friends. She can now buy materials for school projects. And finally, she said goodbye to her old notebooks and calendar notes.
Ellen’s adviser also noted that she had been performing well in school since the program started. Her self-confidence also improved, earning for herself a place among the top ten in her class and one of the most active students in class and school activities.
Indeed, the 4Ps has enabled Ellen Rose to boost her performance. The program serves as an encouragement for her to do better in school. Now, she found a new hope that with the program, she will be able to fulfill her dreams for herself and her family. Through 4Ps, we are confident that we have saved another student from being one among the 39% who couldn’t make it to the finish line in secondary school. ### 4Ps Social Marketing Unit - July 3, 2009