In the summer of 2016, I took my first trip to Asia. The first stop was a small village in the Cavite Province of the Philippines just outside Manila. I was welcomed by my boyfriend, Cris, and his family who were visiting relatives. There were no beaches, no luxury resorts and no souvenir shops. This was authentic Philippines.
Located just off a buzzing highway full of mopeds and jeepneys, the town consisted of one main street lined with local vendors. There were butchers, fishermen, grocery stores and people cooking chicken right on the sidewalk.
As I walked down the street with Rizza, Cris' cousin, I was in awe of how friendly the people were and they were in awe of me too. She told me she had never seen an American in her town before and I was probably the first to visit.
One thing Cris and I loved to do while we were there was visit his little cousins at school. We would stop during break time and buy them treats. The school is a very simple building consisting of cinder block walls and a tin roof. I asked Rizza if the school needed anything like books? She told me what the kids really needed was school supplies, so I bought some flash cards, white board markers and a few globes for the classrooms.
The principal was so grateful and insisted he tour us around to all the classrooms. He even brought the top students in the school to meet us.
When we were touring the school, the principal told me about his scholarship program. He pays out of his own pocket for one child from the public school to attend his private academy for free.
Bringing a child out of an overcrowded classroom and into an environment where academics are taught at the highest level, gives them a better education and chance at a better future. I left that school knowing I would be back one day because I truly believe education is the most powerful tool you can give someone.
The tuition for one year is only $400 and my goal for my business is start my own yearly scholarship.
For the past two years, together with my fiance Cris and my parents back home in Alabama, we have participated in the school's Adopt a Friend Christmas program. In this program the students sponsor a friend from a neighboring school and give them a Christmas gift and treat them to lunch. It's a wonderful way to make new friends and it gives the students a way to give back to their community! Rizza reached out and told me that the students bring their siblings along and there isn't any extra toys or food for them. My gracious family stepped up to the plate and together we have donated over 200 toys, school supplies for the teachers and paid for the all the extra meals. It's become our yearly tradition!
Thanks for stopping by. If you would like to make a donation to the scholarship, please send me a message.
Salamat po! :)
Thank you! :)