Sponsored child becomes teacher
Over in the Philippines, Mary remembers how she, “came from a poor family. There were days when we would just mix rice with salt because we didn’t have enough. I’d walk for at least 30 minutes just to reach school.”
Her father used to be a security guard whose income was not enough to provide for all their needs. When World Vision started working in her community, Mary became a sponsored child.
She says, “My sponsor’s name is Robert. I remember receiving letters from him every December and as a child that meant a lot to me.”
She grew up feeling supported. "I still remember the feeling of going to the mall every school opening. For children like me, whose families could barely provide three meals a day, setting foot in the mall was a big thing. World Vision staff would take us with them to buy school uniform, shoes and school materials.
"When I was about to enter high school, I was worried because I would need to commute twice to reach the school. My parents didn't have enough, but [World Vision] helped ensure that I didn't stop going to classes. I was provided support with transport.”
She continues, “Not only was I supported with material needs. I was involved in different life skills training and was trained as a child facilitator. This helped boost my confidence and it influenced my decision to become a teacher,” she shares.
Mary had a happy childhood, not only because of all the educational support she received through the generosity of her sponsor, but also of the friendship she has built with other World Vision children.
"Once a year, we would celebrate our birthdays together. We'd also go to different workshops where we were all [taught] to be confident and to be the leaders that we are now. Up until early high school years, I've always wanted to become a doctor. Then, one day, World Vision had a training on children becoming peace-builders. I became a child facilitator to different workshops and then I knew, I wanted to teach."
Mary is now a licensed high school teacher and giving back to her community in her province Misamis Oriental. When she started working, she and her oldest sister also convinced their mother to go back to school, who then finished midwifery training at the age of 53.
Amid COVID-19 teachers like Mary are helping ensure that the education of children will not be further delayed. “This is a challenging time, but I believe that there is always a way to help children to continue learning,” she shares.
Mary is especially passionate about education after the challenges she faced. Without World Vision her life may have been very different. Now she wants to give back. “I want to inspire children, like I was inspired by my sponsor and World Vision, especially now in the context of COVID-19. Whenever my students need me, I make sure that I am there for them because I know how it feels to have someone rooting for you.
"To Robert, my sponsor, I never met you, but I am extremely grateful for your life. I grew up not just with financial support but I also had support emotionally and spiritually. I can say that because of World Vision's help, I can now make a difference in the lives of other children."