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From baby-sitting to teaching

ESGPPA PHOTOThe sleepless nights were not dedicated to books and pens, but to cradle a baby in order to support her dreams fastened.

The story of Melona Dumayon of Barangay Tiogan, Leon Postigo, Zamboanga Del Norte ironically tells us her struggle before a college diploma has landed in her grip.

She was 4th among the 9 children of Esperedon and Anecita Dumayon who both earn a living from farming and peddling snacks. With more than nine mouths to feed, she knew life was not easy to survive due to a minimal income of the family. She once recalled the days when her mother reminded her on the importance of education for it is the only way she can break the chains of the family to be freed from the hard life. Her mother wanted them to taste the sweetness of life by becoming successful person and that should not deprive them to achieve the best.

The struggles of Melona in her younger years recounted the days when she had to travel in kilometres in order for her to reach school. Being a consistent achiever, she was always driven on her purpose on why she had to study hard for the family. In 2006, she started to support herself by being a working student to a teacher which helped her to eventually finish it well. Amid the efforts she manifested, her parents never allowed her to work so much, they still support their child by augmenting her finances especially in projects required in school.

On her way to tertiary education, the family could no longer support her because the livelihood of her parents were minimal and just enough for basic needs at home. With this, she had to stop schooling.

May 2010, she worked again to help sustain the needs of the family. She decided to apply as a Baby sitter to a relative of a school teacher whom she worked before. With a salary of Php 1,500 a month, she knew that it could help her this time to pursue what has been idle for quite some time —to pursue a college education. However, this option was not supported by her mother.

Her dream once again was on hold due to some circumstances yet she still decided to pursue what she thought would help her gain employment in the shortest time. She enrolled in TESDA for 5 months and successfully passed the assessment in 2011 with National Certificate II in Computer Hardware. This made her more inspired to enrol in College to take an Information Technology course, but two years after, she wasn’t able to finish it again due to financial constraints.

At that time that she felt things won’t be possible as they may seem, until the Student Grants-in Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation or SGP-PA came to lit spark in her dream. She enrolled herself in Western Mindanao State University-External Campus in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay with a course on Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Her optimistic disposition had brightened up the dark portions of her life. She strived hard to manifest the best effort that she can give with the support of the program. There was a time when she was diagnosed with Urinary Tract Infection which affected her practice teaching.

The grants truly helped her to sustain the right education her mother always reminded her to have. The dreams are far more secured this time than being a baby sitter with an income that would not guarantee full coverage of her school fees. She’s very grateful for the program as it opened doors of opportunity for students like her whose dreams are just floating to be realized.

On April 7, 2016, Melona finally graduated in her degree with so much pride and gratefulness, that above all the struggles and dreams that have been long overdue, it never shaken her indomitable faith. With the program’s aim to assist the Pantawid families whose children are in tertiary education, ESGPP-PA has truly marked a significant milestone in the pages of history as once a dreamer, whose only music was the cry of a baby, now has finally changed into a resounding march of hymns. Currently, she’s taking up review classes in preparation for the Licensure Examination for teachers. In God’s perfect time, she’s ready to glide the chalks on the blackboards of a learning institution and repay the education that the government has given her. ##


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