Maybe you already sponsor a child. You know the joy that comes from helping underprivileged children find love, encouragement and hope for the future. Consider this: You can have an effect on the lives of many other children in need by encouraging others to sponsor a child in need, too.
I had seen children sleeping in the sidewalks, under the bridge, on empty parking lots.
I had met old people begging in the streets, scavenging for food inside trash cans.
I had witnessed slum dwellers forcibly evacuated from their shanties near the railroad.
A part of me dies every time I encounter them, for each one is Christ in disguise.
I thought I had already seen all the faces of poverty.
Until we met Trisha (not her real name) last month.
Trisha, a member of the Legion of Mary and a regular Feast attendee in PICC, came to The Kerygma Family to apply for college scholarship.
We sadly told her that she came in too late, as all of our scholarship slots had been filled up already. And our finances just cannot accommodate any additional scholar.
She bowed her head and silently handed to my staff her application letter and resume.
And then something caught our eye.
Her resume says that she and her family live inside the Manila South Cemetery.
We pointed this out to her and asked why that glaring typo error in her resume.
She nearly broke into tears when she told us that no, there was no typo error. She and her parents and 4 sisters and brother indeed live as squatters inside the cemetery.
And then she told us her story. A story of poverty so gut-wrenching we thought these could only be found in telenovelas.
Her parents are originally from Pangasinan but her parents decided to try their luck in Manila. Her father works on and off as a maintenance worker. Her mother earns a few pesos a day selling snacks. And Trisha herself sometimes works as a cook in a canteen. And they found rent-free “home” inside the cemetery. They have been living there for the past 5 years.
Sadly, their combined incomes are not enough to send her to college. It’s just enough to put food on the table.
Poverty made her a school drop-out last year.
Then she came to us, saying “sana mabigyan nyo po ako ng pagkakataon, kasi pangarap ko pong makatapos ng pag-aaral…ito po sana ang magiging puhunan ko para sa kinabukasan at para makatulong ako sa ibang mahihirap na gusto ring mag-aral…:” (“I hope you could give me a chance, as I dream of finishing my studies…I believe this will be an investment for my future and will give me opportunity to also help other poor kids who want to get education…”)
We made a quick turn-around and said to Trisha “Oh yes, our Pag-asa ng Pamilya Scholarship Foundation will help send you to college starting this June 2011. Your application for scholarship is approved.”
And then we prayed for God’s providence. So Trisha can stop being a school drop-out. So Trisha can realize her dreams for a brighter tomorrow. So Trisha can be empowered to someday help other poor kids dream their dreams.
With your moral, spiritual and financial support, we can all send Trisha to college this June 2011.