Jay is a happy and energetic 16-year-old in who in March 2012 will conclude his ten years of Star of Hope Schooling in Taytay, Rizal with good grades at the Star of Hope School there; (average grade 90.8 out of 100). Now at 16 he is looking to progress to higher education.
He says, "I am focused on my education. I want to succeed and fulfill my dreams. My favorite subjects are English, Physics and Social knowledge. I hope to study engineering and then work abroad as a overseas worker. My mom has supported me all the time with my education and wants me to succeed, so I'm doing my best."
Jay tells us about his time at our School, did it matter ?
One of the main objectives of Jay's family, like many families from the slum, is to buy a plot of land and build a proper house and to "own it". The house they live in now is simple and good but it would be fantastic to have a house with water, electricity, TV, and private toilet. Jay lives with two brothers and his parents. "My mother is a housewife and my father has a small business where he sews work uniforms with different company names and personal names, which is common in the Philippines."
Although life is a bit better and more stable now, it has not always been so.
"When I was six and should start school we had it most hard economically, says Jay. Mom wanted to send us to school, but it was difficult with money; in the Philippines you see it is not free. Mom checked with Star of Hope School and asked if we could start there. Luckily I got to start there and got a sponsor too!"
"It made a big difference for us and we are so grateful". Jay looks very grateful when he says this. "The whole family knew that a good education was important for the children to succeed, and because the children were assisted with training you could save money for other things. Previously, they had to buy water from water vendors, but now you could draw water to the house which was important for better hygiene."
Often, Jay just snacks during the week; bread for breakfast and then snack before the family eats dinner together. Usually it will be rice, vegetables and sometimes fish. - My favorite dish is the "Adobo" with pork or chicken, says Jay. It is good but we cannot afford to eat it too often. I also like fruit juices, too.
Jay says that the school was great and the teachers were fantastic.
"The "High School" starts school already five forty-five 5:45 in the morning, and I stop quarter past twelve. I get up already half past four in the morning. I wash and prepare for school; usually I just eat a piece of bread before I go to school. If I have money, I buy a sausage or some spaghetti in the school cafeteria."
On weekends Jay plays some basketball with friends as basketball is his favorite sport. He also uses the internet, but just to do school work. He goes to the internet cafe to search for information to the school, which he thinks is good.
In Jay's age, there are many other things that attract, but he says he is focused on his education.
" I'm studying hard says Jay. Sports and girls can come later. There are many cute girls at the school and in Taytay, but I cannot let anything interfere with my studies. There can be major problems with girls, and hearts broken, family life will be after graduation and a profession."
Jay tells in his most serious voice he thinks Taytay has improved so much over the years, but there is much to do for the area. There is water, but it would be better with really clean water. He says there are many concerns in the area that also interferes with life in general, but we all have to live with issues.
" I am very grateful to the Star of Hope School, its staff and especially my sponsor, says Jay. They have helped so much to shape me to become a better person both socially and mentally. When I came here the first time I felt nothing life chancing but now, I know the whole story and it has been a lot of good years here. My family and I are eternally grateful. To study here has been a great gift."
Dennis Thern (translated)