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A future teacher’s story of her rekindled hope for her dreams


All throughout her childhood, she thought that the lack of opportunities was her number one enemy. Never did she thought that her “full of positivity” self will turn out to be her greatest adversary.

“Sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko, nawalan na ako ng pag-asa na makatuntong pa ng kolehiyo. Naisip ko na magtrabaho na lang kahit na ilang ulit akong pinaalalahanan ng Nanay ko na p’wede na akong makapag-aral nang libre,” shared Laysa Arasa, 21, a resident of Brgy. Burol in Majayjay, Laguna.

Laysa grew up in a family of nine. Getulio, her father, is a farmer while her mother, Salome, is a housemaid. Though Laysa relates that they eat thrice a day, she knew at a young age that they are challenged financially.

“Pumapasok kami sa school kahit walang baon. Minsan nagbabaon ng saging o kamote para hindi kami magutom sa school,” recalled Laysa, who was very determined to go to school at her young age. For a young Laysa, she has a concrete dream of going to college, getting a good job and taking her family out of their situation.

To achieve all these, Laysa decided to make her own move. However, she constantly struggled.


Working for her education

When she was in Grade 5, Laysa, who was 11 years old at that time, started working to earn for her school needs.

“Tuwing Sabado at Linggo, naglilinis ako ng bahay ng teacher ko para kumita. Binibigyan ako ng 100 pesos na pinagkakasya ko sa buong linggo na papasok ako,” she said.

During summer vacations, she also engaged in cleaning houses to earn for the next school year. What she earns, she uses to buy school supplies and other needs.

When she reached third year in high school, she decided to work as a stay-in house helper.

“Hindi madali na nangangatulong ka habang nag-aaral ka. Nalulungkot ako dahil hindi ako nakakauwi sa bahay namin pero kinailangan kong magtiis para makatulong ako sa pamilya ko at makatapos ako,” said Laysa.

This situation only fueled her desire to finish college. At that time, she promised herself that she’ll not be forever a house helper. However, when she graduated in high school, Laysa’s dream of a college education seemed to be still very far.

“Bumalik ako sa pangagamuhan dahil pinangako sa akin ng amo ko na pag-aaralin ako pagkatapos ng isang taon. Nagkaroon ako ng pag-asa,” shared Laysa.

Being 16, Laysa found it hard to deal with the challenges of a full-time work around the house as well as babysitting a small child.

“Noong panahon na ‘yun, malapit nang magpasukan pero hindi pa rin ako sinasabihan na mag-enroll kaya gumawa ako ng paraan para makaalis at makauwi sa amin dahil gustong gusto ko talagang mag-aral,” she said.


Ending her dreams

When she went back to Majayjay, Laysa decided to enroll in a vocational school. She used her savings to enroll; however, she did not finish the course because her savings ran out. Hence, she decided to work again.

“Sumuko na ako. Naisip ko na baka hindi talaga para sa akin ang pagtatapos ng pag-aaral dahil kahit ano namang gawin ko ay sa pagtatrabaho din naman ako bumabagsak,” she shared sadly.

She engaged from one job to another such as working in a bakery and a small pizza stall. She experienced working towards her limits such as not eating at the right time, working until late at night and getting not enough salary for all her hard work.

With all these, Laysa knew her dreams were over.


Renewed hope

Laysa’s family is a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. As a family-beneficiary, Laysa became qualified to become a grantee of the Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA) of the Commission on Higher Education.

The said program targets at least one member of a Pantawid Pamilya household-beneficiary to get a college degree. This enables poor families to have at least one college graduate who can have higher chances of getting better-paying jobs in the future and later on increase the family’s chances of getting out of poverty.

“Paulit-ulit akong kinakausap ni Nanay tungkol sa ESGPPA pero paulit-ulit din akong tumanggi. Alam ng nanay ko na pangarap ko talagang makapag-aral. Pero noong panahon na ‘yun, sumuko na talaga ako,” she shared.

In the end, Laysa accepted the opportunity. She enrolled in Laguna Polytechnic State University after passing the requirements of the university. She cannot be more thankful for the support on her college education, particularly her tuition and allowance for school projects.

She did not waste any of the opportunity that she was back in school. She focused on all her subjects, fueled by her all-time dream of graduating and getting a decent job.

This June, Laysa will be graduating with a degree in Secondary Education major in Physical Science. For this, she cannot hide her excitement.

“Yung pagtatapos ko, kalahati pa lang sa katuparan ng pangarap ko. Magtatrabaho pa ako at tutulungan ang pamilya ko na makaahon. Ipapaayos ko pa rin ang bahay namin na matagal na naming pangarap na pamilya,” she shared with pride.

After graduation, she plans to start working immediately. She’ll work her way supporting her family as well as saving enough to pay for her enrollment in a review center so she can take the licensure examination.

For everything that she went through, Laysa is very thankful to her mother who encouraged her when she has already given up on her dreams. She is also grateful to the opportunities that allowed her to be in school and get a college diploma.

But most of all, she is thankful and proud of herself. She has proven that she is indeed her own enemy, but she knows that she is also her own friend when it comes to dreaming and reaching it.# with reports from ARMakipagay

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