We sat in the balcony overlooking the crowd of seated graduates, eagerly awaiting her name to be announced. As the last names starting with “M” were finally being called, we scooted to the edge of our seats, cameras ready.
And then it came in a booming voice…
“Josie Morales…Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.”
She walked across the stage smiling from ear to ear, pumping her fists in the air. Her five years of hard work and dedication were complete and now she could collect her diploma to show for it.
In the Philippines, it is this piece of paper that is often seen as the “ticket” out of poverty and into the possibility of a better life. NingNing Philippines Education Fund was started in 2009 to offer just that: a chance at a better life through higher education. Josie is the second graduate to come through the scholarship program and one of the rare few from her area to get the chance to go to college.
Josie comes from a depressed area in Cubao, an area North of metro Manila. She told me once that since her shanty home (make-shift house made out of scraps of wood and tin) does not have electricity, she would often spend her nights studying in dim candle light. Having visited her shanty village several times, it truly is amazing that she was able to accomplish what she has. Not only that, but she radiates such joy and gratitude for the opportunity she has been given, which she attributes to one of God’s many blessings in her life. She wanted me to be sure and say THANK YOU to all who generously donated funds to make her education possible.
Josie has already landed a job as a secretary in a medical office while she studies for her teacher qualification exam. She is continuing to pursue her dream of becoming a pre-school teacher…and is almost there!
Congratulations Josie on amazing accomplishment. We are so proud of you!