Joan France, a 24-year old gal, is from Balangasan, Pagadian City. She is the eldest daughter of Julieta Nillas-Piedad and Francisco Piedad. Just like any other teenager, she dreamed of finishing her college degree. Her parents want to make her dream possible. Even her father works as laborer and her mother is a housewife; they find ways to shoulder all the expenses especially her daily allowances, petty contributions and school projects. Joan had to budget wisely her php30.00 daily allowance which is for her transportation to and from the school, and the remaining ten (10) pesos is for her snacks. However, she prefers to use her php10.00 for their photocopy fees of her lessons so she can study at home.
There were also times that Joan felt difficulty in paying for Intramural’s fee in school during her college days. She was hesitant to ask money from her parents because she knew that her parents were also paying her younger sister’s tuition fees.
The time came that her parents decided to stop her from going to school because they couldn’t afford to support her financial needs. Her parents’ decision pained her so much. She didn’t want to stop studying because she wanted to become someone in the future. So, she decided to work as “kasambahay” (housekeeper) of Ms. Esterlita Dela Torre, the City Public Accountant of Pagadian City.
As a working student, she strictly manages her time in order to cope up and adjust herself as she had to work during the day, and attend classes at night. She does her household chores early so that she won’t be late in her classes. Just like anyone who losses hope, she felt like giving up because she was exhausted especially during examination period. She studies while at work, such as reading her notes while washing laundries. She needed to double time her phase to cope up with all the subjects she had to study.
“I’m proud of myself that I could get through these till I became one of the scholars of DSWD’s Extended Student’s Grant in Poverty Aleviation (ESGP-PA). I feel blessed and grateful for I didn’t have to work day and night,” Joan proudly said. It was not easy being a “kasambahay” while studying. She was able to focus more in school and participating in extra-curricular activities. That led her to get her desired degree, she finished Bachelor of Science in Social Work at Western Mindanao State University External Studies Unit of Pagadian City.
The time came when Joan needs to go for Social Work Review, which means she needs money for the expenses. Fortunately, her mother, Julieta, was a member of Borrowers Cooperative SLP Association (a 2015 project) where her mother borrowed money from with a low interest monthly rate. Joan was determined to make all the efforts of her parents and herself become worth it. Her prayer was answered and she was very grateful when she successfully passed the licensure examination.
However, Joan didn’t apply for offices that are related with her degree. She availed a Pre-employment Assistance Fund (PEAF) of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) worth Four Thousand Five Hundred Fifteen Pesos (Php4,515.00). She used the fund to pay her employment processing fees in Mang Inasal. She had her managerial training in Manila and deployed her in Pagadian City in September 2016. Currently, she works as an Assistant Restaurant Manager and she is earning fifteen thousand pesos (Php15,000.00) every month.“Despite of the challenges I’ve been through for where I am now and what I have, all these are fruit of my effort, hardwork, determination, and persistence. Poverty is not a hindrance to what you want to become. It is always a choice and initiative on how to get what you wanted. There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs,” an inspiring message from Joan France N. Piedad, RSW/Assistant Restaurant Manager.