Working towards 10 college diplomas in the family
As soon as her children leave the house for school, she would face the day bravely despite a lot of uncertainties.
Gloria Eguia, a mother of ten from Brgy. Sabang in Lipa City, has to find a way to at least have food on the table when her children come home for lunch.
“Ayaw nilang lumiban sa klase kaya pumapasok sila na walang baon at walang almusal. Wala silang perang pambili ng meryenda at kinakailangan pa nilang maglakad galing sa school dahil wala silang pamasahe,” shared Gloria, who knew how hard and tiring this daily setup is for her children.
So as a mother, she would often find herself borrowing rice from the store. There are times that Gloria’s mother and siblings offer her rice or money, which she always found it hard to pay back.
“Dahil nakakahiya na hindi ako nakakabayad, sinusuklian ko ang tulong nila sa paglalabada. Pumupunta rin ako sa ibang kamag-anak para makapaglabada at kumita ng pera,” she shared.
With four children who are college graduates now, Gloria is certain that whatever her children went through just to be able to go to school had been all worth it in securing their future.
Sacrificing for their dreams
Despite not knowing how to fund their children’s education, Gloria and her husband, Antonio, showed full support in educating their children.
Antonio works non-stop in repairing appliances such as televisions, electric fans and washing machines. However, despite this, his income is still not enough to support their daily needs, much more the education of their children.
“Para makatulong, ‘yung mga anak ko ay nagbabalot ng yemang kendi mula Biyernes ng hapon hanggang Linggo upang may pandagdag sa pambaon,” she recalled.
When two of her children reached college, they experienced more hardships because of the increasing expenses.
This was when their family became a beneficiary of the national government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
According to Gloria, the grants from the 4Ps had been a great help for the family, especially when it comes to the allowance of her children in school.
“Pero bagamat may tulong na ng programa ay mahirap pa rin dahil sa dami ng nag-aaral. Sadyang napakahirap magpaaral ng mga anak kapag walang pera,” she shared.
As such, she and her husband continued working hard. Their college children, on the other hand, became working students. They even walked to and from school to save on the expenses.
Gratefully, their third child, Ruffa Mae, had been chosen as a beneficiary of the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA) of the Commission on Higher Education.
The ESGPPA prioritizes members of 4Ps households and provides subsidies covering the tuition, books, uniform and other expenses of the students.
As such, Ruffa Mae was able to finish BS Psychology with the full support from the program.
Saving for the family’s future
All these years, Gloria is proud of their accomplishments as a family.
“Wala man kaming ipon na pera, pero nag-iipon naman kami ng edukasyon,” she shared with pride.
Her eldest is a graduate of AB Psychology and has a family of her own. Her second is now a private school teacher. Her third and fourth children are graduates of Psychology and Business Management.
“Malaki na ang pagkakaiba ng pamumuhay namin,” shared Gloria, who highlights their family’s cooperation and working together through the years.
She proudly shares that her six children, who are still studying, no longer experience the same daily scenario a few years back.
“Lagi na silang may baon. Nakakabayad na din kami ng electric at water bill. Ang tinitirhan namin dati na butas-butas ang dingding ay mas matibay at semento na,” shared Gloria.
With their improved living condition, their family is set to graduate from the 4Ps this year. Though the family still has six children to support, Gloria is positive of their future.
With the lessons she learned as a beneficiary of the 4Ps, she remains a brave mother who is certain that through their hard work as a family, they will be able to help secure all of their children’s future. # [with reports from MEAbas]