A child’s appreciation of the support of her parents and the government
At times, she goes to school without even a single coin in her pocket.
Princess Mae Cansado, now 18 years old, had to endure instances such as this a lot of times in her younger years. She would not complain as she knew her four other siblings are experiencing the same thing, too. Also, she trusted her parents enough that they’ll go to school later that day to give them something to spend.
“Pumapasok kami na walang baon dahil wala kaming pera. Nangungutang pa sila [referring to her parents] sa umaga at ihahatid na lamang sa paaralan kung mayroon man,” recalled Princess Mae, a resident of Brgy. Pulo in Cabuyao City, Laguna.
Even with her young mind, Princess Mae clearly remembers all the hardships. But, she does not forget all the hard work, too, especially that of her parents’.
Struggles and inspirations as a child
“May tindahan kami noon pero kailangang isara dahil wala nang puhunan. Maliit lang ang aming bahay at natutulog kaming tabi-tabi sa isang papag na may iisang electric fan,” Princess Mae shared.
Her father, Severino, worked as a barangay tanod who earned only three thousand pesos a month. He would maintain a backyard garden that would often be a source of their food and sometimes, a source of income, too.
Her mother, Melita, stayed at home to take care of them. From time to time, Melita would also accept laundry jobs to augment the family’s finances.
“Hindi naging madali ang buhay namin pagdating sa pera. Hindi ako nakakasama sa mga field trip dahil imbes na ibayad doon ay ipangbibili na lamang namin ng iuulam,” said Princess Mae, who added that these kinds of experiences inspired her to continue studying hard and dream of a better life.
In 2013, when Princess Mae was in second grade, their family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. This is a program of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to qualified poor families to support the needs on health, nutrition and education of children zero to 18 years old.
“Malaking tulong po ito lalo na sa katulad namin na hindi sapat ang kinikita. Naaasahan namin ito na pandagdag sa aming mga pangangailangan, lalo na sa school,” she shared.
Despite the grants they are receiving from the program, Princess noticed that her parents strive even harder for their needs.
“Habang kami ay lumalaki, mas nadadagdagan ang aming gastusin sa paaralan. Kaya nagsimula na ring mamasukan ang aking ina sa pag-aalaga ng bata para madagdagan ang aming panggastos,” she shared.
Graduation from the program
Today, Princess Mae is a graduating senior high school student.
For the family, her graduation means a lot of things.
As a policy of the Pantawid Pamilya program, household-beneficiaries will exit or graduate from the program when the last monitored child reaches 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.
This means that Princess Mae’s high school graduation this year also marks the end of receiving support from the national government. Despite this, Princess Mae and the whole family are positive.
“Bahagi ng aming tagumpay ang pagiging kabahagi ng 4Ps. Malaki ang naging pagbabago sa aming buhay simula nang maging kasali kami sa 4Ps dahil natutugunan na namin ang aming mga pangangailangan, lalo na sa pag-aaral naming magkakapatid. Habang buhay kong babaunin at ipagmamalaki na ako ay nabigyan ng oportunidad na masuportahan ang pag-aaral,” she shared with pride.
Her mother cannot agree more.
“Proud kaming naging kabahagi ng 4Ps dahil napakalaki ng naitulong sa aming pamilya. ‘Yung mga anak namin ay unti-unti nang nakapagtatapos at naaabot ang kanilang mga pangarap,” shared Melita.
Two of Princess Mae’s older brothers, Patrick and John Kenneth, have jobs of their own and help support the family. They are college and high school graduates respectively. The other two, James and David, are in college. Princess Mae, on the other hand, is planning to get a degree in education after her senior high school graduation.
“Kami ay patuloy na lalaban at haharap sa buhay nang may pagtitiyaga at pagsusumikap para sa aming pangarap na magkaroon ng magandang buhay,” shared Princess.
As a parent, Melita commits the same thing.
“Tiwala kaming mapapatapos namin sila dahil tuluy-tuloy kaming magtutulungan. Talagang igagapang namin sila hanggang makamit namin ang pangarap na mapagtapos silang lahat at magkaroon ng mas maayos na buhay,” Melita shared with confidence.# [with reports from MMGaa]