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NO MORE WORRIES FOR HER CHILDREN

Unlike most students, she dreads school openings.

As a mother of four, Jenelyn Duhig, 39, fears the responsibility of having to provide her children with uniform, shoes, bags and other supplies. For her, the daily necessities are often a problem, and the idea of buying all these things for her children is even a worse problem.

She even needs to walk two kilometers, in a neighboring village, just to buy the cheapest kilo of rice. The viand would be picked from their backyard garden as there would be no other means to get a better meal.

Jenelyn’s husband, Mark Anthony Sr., is an on-call carpenter while she manages a small sari-sari store. Life was hard as it was, but later, they were evicted from their home in Antipolo City. They suffered living on the streets and later moved to a relocation site in Sitio Tanza 2 in Brgy. San Jose, which is far from their source of income and even has no electricity.

Willing to start over again, she tried working as a domestic helper in the Middle East. After several months, she had to go home because her son suffered from an accident.

What she dreads before, she dreads all the same, perhaps even more. Their expenses are getting bigger and bigger as the years go by.

 

Five children in school

Today, Jenelyn takes pride that her family is far from having the life they used to experience. All her five children are in school, one of them is in college.

She is excited every time the school opens as this indicates a new year that will bring her children closer to their dreams.

Her eldest, Jomarie, is currently in third year taking BS Mechanical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Mary Joy, 17, is in Grade 12; Donna Mae, 14, in Grade 10; Mark Anthony Jr., 12, in Grade 8, and; Lawrence, 7, in Grade 3.

For Jenelyn, what happened in their life is not pure luck. It is a combination of chasing opportunities, working hard every day and getting the commitment of all her children to succeed.

 

Chasing opportunities

In 2014, their family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. This is a program implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development that provides cash grants to qualified poor families to help support the needs of children on health and education in exchange for compliance to certain program conditions.

“Naging katuwang namin ang gobyerno sa pagpapaaral sa aming mga anak. Sinasabi man nilang maliit lang ang halaga, para sa aming walang anumang bisyo, napakalaking tulong nito,” said Jenelyn, who added that parents like her learn from Family Development Sessions (FDS) that teach them on topics such as the rights of children, strengthening family relationships and budget management.

While there is help, her children became more committed to go to school since they are able to provide most of their school needs, including their daily allowance and school supplies. When her eldest reached college, he became a scholar of the Department of Science and Technology.

“Pero kahit na kaayuda namin ang gobyerno, hindi pa rin kami tumigil magsikap na mag-asawa. Kailangan naming magsikap para tuloy-tuloy na makapag-aral ang mga bata,” she shared.

Mark Anthony Sr. engaged in more projects, and with his hard work, they were able to save enough money to improve their own house.

Looking at their two-story house today, Jenelyn cannot believe that they came from a ‘past’ where she cannot even provide for the school needs of her children, and what was more pitiful is how she needed to scout for the cheapest rice for the family.

Now, she is operating a small rice retail and school supply store in their neighborhood. And what is better news is that she has no more worries as she is confident that she can support all of their children’s education.# with reports from SMAmpaso

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