Image by SOS Children's Villages
The Filipino has education high up on his list of priorities. Most Filipino youth dream of going to school, despite the lack of resources. In fact, a good number of working youth are spurred on to keep working at their jobs because they want to graduate then find better jobs.
I have never seen a better example than this, than in the lives of the Visayan household help. Because of poverty, these youngsters have to start working as young as Age 10. At that age, they are already tasked to take care of their employers' babies, keep house, cook, and even do the laundry. In exchange, some of these kids are given a paltry salary, and some who are more fortunate are given the chance to go to school in exchange for their labor.
Most of these young girls' dreams are centered in emancipation from their employers, finishing college, and creating a better destiny for themselves. A good number of these youth, with the help of kind individuals who aim to help, good employers who support their dreams, or relatives who can support them, eventually get a ticket out of their lives of squalor.
Every time I think about this matter, I am reminded of a few individuals whose courage and grit have inspired me. One is a young lady from Bacolod who had come from a family who could barely support her college education despite the fact that they came from a landed Bacolod clan. She put herself through school and graduated up to a 2-year Secretarial diploma. After a few strategic breaks, she ended up as the store-in-charge of a Christian CD outlet, and today, she is the Marketing and Store Manager of a fashionable thrift store branch. Who would have known?
Another example is a young lady who struggled through being a live-in househelp and has now graduated from Social Work. From a young girl encouraged by Visayan Forum, an NGO for househelp, she has since emancipated and is now in a position to help others who are in the same situation as she once was, as an organizer of the said NGO.
It is no wonder, then, that both Negros Occidental and Iloilo are educational hubs. Negros Occidental boasts of being home to 1,318 schools, while Iloilo City boasts of being host to University of San Agustin, Western Visayas' first-ever university. It is also the go-to place for aspiring physicians, as West Visayas State University's Medical School program is considered the next best option to UP College of Medicine in Manila.
It warms my heart to know that I have friends who are the epitome of overcoming. Like the true education-minded Visayans that they are, they seem to be spurred on by this principle: poverty does not have to be anyone's portion for life. By prioritizing education, one has a ticket to a better destiny and to open doors. With God on one's side, all things, will indeed work out for those who are called for His purposes.