Hernan is a math teacher and much more!
A while back, I got to sit down and talk to my sponsor boy Hernan Barosa. Well, he is not a boy anymore. He is a man with a college degree. I was fortunate to be able to put him through college and now he is a math teacher at Star of Hope School in Taytay. When he called me his angel I thought I would start to cry.
Hernan and Maria at Star of Hope's High School in Tay Tay Rizal, Manila
The feeling to know I had the ability to change a boy's life to the better is more than I can explain in words. He has been raised by his grandmother with very little means. Without help he would not have been able to go to college. He would be stuck in a downward spiral with no future. I know I might be perceived to be very intense but I have a deep desire to change children's lives. It is inherited from birth. I can see the difference Star of Hope means for all our children over the world. I´m blessed because every day I go to work I make a difference.
Hernan is a most special story as he is a gifted artist and a honors student with several awards. However when he dreamed of pursuing a career in art the staff at Star of Hope Philippines encouraged him to do just that but to please wait until college graduation. So hernan is poised with his education to do whatever he can dream, a teacher an artist he is ready!
Argentina Graduate Students Story
Elisabeth Notgay is a dental assistant in Argentina. She has received support for her studies through Star o Hope and given hope for a better future.
TIMOTEO A TEATCHER
When Timoteo Gomez was fired from his work in the municipality of Saenz Peña his future was bleak. Thanks to a scholarship from Star of Hope his seemingly hopeless situation turned into something positive.
A New Opportunity
With support from Star of Hope scholarship program, Timoteo is now a trained bilingual teacher. He speaks both Spanish and Toba, the local Indian language. Following his education, he was given the opportunity to work at the school Luz y Fuerza.(Light and Strength). He enjoys it very much and has grown with the challenge. More and more children from Indian tribes are now in school, but their knowledge of Spanish is often limited in the beginning. Timoteo, with his Indian background, helps make the integration as smooth as possible. He gives children with Indian background hope for the future. Students sees him as a supporting figure and role model that they can go to at any time.
Daniel a Lawyer
Daniel Escalante is 24 years and studying to become a lawyer. When he graduates, he will be one of the first Toba Indians to have ever accomplished such goals. At the time of this writing, he has now completed five of six years at the National University in the provincial capital Resistencia.
As the oldest of ten siblings, he was expected to help the family financially. With 12 mouths to feed at home, the probability that Daniel would be able to continue his studies in the university after high school was not optimistic. Thanks to a scholarship from Star of Hope, Daniel was given the opportunity. He is extremely grateful to the help he has received, without which he would never have been able to continue his studies.
Daniel's dream is to become a lawyer, specializing in environmental issues. It is a big interest even though he cannot be involved right now. The classes are very demanding. Many hours are spent in the classroom as well as studying at home to keep up. While a student in high school he read a brochure describing the plight of the Indian population. By law, they are protected but in reality they are outcasts in society and have many problems. He chose this difficult major because he believes this is the best way to help his own people. To make the most impact he would like to find employment in the capital, Buenos Aires, where the decision-making processes are faster.
Ruth Ubaldo ,22, has been a sponsor child at Star of Hope since she was three.
Ruth Ubaldo - psychologist
"I could never have come this far without the sponsors help. Although the municipal upper secondary school is free, everything around costs so much. The help we received was very important. That I understand a lot better now. I am very grateful for it."
Ruth is a smart, young, happy girl full of life with great hope for the future. Despite the family's simple home and limited economic opportunities, she has done well. Today she works within the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant chain. She belongs to the human resources department where she conducts psychological tests for aspiring managers within the restaurant group.
"This job is ok but I want to go further. I want to obtain a master's degree and hope for a scholarship. Otherwise it will be difficult to pay for such an education. I want to study criminology and hope to someday work within the criminal justice system.
Rosemarie is today married and a mother to a three year old little boy. He does not need a sponsor. His mother had one...
She is rather small and thin, talking quietly and gently. Perhaps she is just a bit shy.
I am at Star of Hope school in Taytay, Manila, Philippines and talking to Rosemarie Capilitan. Suddenly, it strikes me that, without help of her sponsors Rosemarie would have never been where she is today. She had probably not even finished elementary school.
BORN AT A GARBAGE DUMP-TODAY A TEACHER
Today, Rosemarie has completed four years of college, studied to become a high-school teacher and works at the school where she was taught as a child. Isn't it fantastic!
Scavanger at Smokey Mountain
Rosemarie grew up in Taytay, an area directly located next to the large garbage dump, "Smokey Mountain". The area is no longer used and has become much better since she was small. Rosemarie comes from a family of "scavangers" as they are called in the Philippines. Both her mother and father worked at the garbage dump, from early morning until late at night. As Rosemarie is the oldest of six siblings, she had to take the main responsibility for all siblings and the home.
Sponsorship Changed Her Life
Rosemarie attended Star of Hope school already when she was six years old, something that she is incredibly grateful for today.
"Without your help, I would not be a teacher today. My parents could not afford to pay for my schooling; we had very little food on the table. I would especially like to thank my sponsors Kristina in Vejbystrand and Tina in Sundbyberg. Without you I don't know where I would have been today."
It shows quickly that she likes her profession and that her students like her. As soon as she enters the classroom the shy and quiet young woman becomes a respected and well liked teacher.
Since 1984 when Star of Hope started working in Pasig city where Taytay is located, the area around the old garbage dump, "Smokey Mountain" has changed drastically. Thousands of children just like Rosemarie have received schooling and today live a decent life, far away from the misery they grew up in. Today there are shops and small industries in the area. There are jobs and the standards of the houses are much better. Still, the area is quite poor, and there remain many who depend on looking for garbage but ... — today there is hope and confidence in Taytay
Without my sponsor, I would never have been able to go to school. I have had a fantastic trip. To show my gratitude, I intend to demonstrate that I can succeed. I have great hope for the future.
A NURSE SAYS THANKS TO SPONSOR SUPPORT
Maria Ortega is 24 years old and works as a nurse at the hospital in Pasig City, Manila. The hospital is not far away from the preschool that Star of Hope previously ran in the area.
"That was where my schooling began. In the Star of Hope preschool I learned the basic skills like mathematics and reading and was prepared for the normal school. The Star of Hope preschool gave me hope for the future."
One of Nine Siblings
That Maria is immensely grateful to her sponsor and all the support she has received through her early life is not difficult to understand. Maria grew up as one of nine siblings in one of Manila's many slum areas. Her father works as both a driver and a mechanic and her mother sells fruit in the market. Yet it is difficult to obtain enough money to support the family. When Maria grew up, she often had to go hungry. Without the support from her sponsor, schooling would have been impossible.
" When I was a kid, I didn't really understand how it all worked, but each year, we received gifts from the sponsor far away in Sweden. It was really funny because we could not afford Christmas presents. It really made our Christmas special. When I grew older I realized that it was thanks to the sponsor's money I could go to school, have a school uniform and that my schoolbooks were paid by the sponsor."
" The entire family is extraordinarily grateful for the excellent support I have received. I've also met my sponsor a couple of times. It has been great fun, especially when he visited my home, despite the fact that we have a simple and crowded home."
Hope to Work Abroad.
Today Maria works as a nurse. She spends most of the shifts in the emergency room. Apart from her daily work in the emergency room she is also a supervisor at the clinic and trains students. The extra competence gives her a little higher salary even if the salary is very low compared to Sweden. Maria works at the municipal hospital where there is fierce competition for jobs, which unfortunately pushes down wages. Today her salary is approximately $250 dollar per month for 15 twelve-hour- shifts per month.
Like many others in the Philippines, Maria dreams of working abroad. The Philippines currently has 10 million people working abroad. The driving factor is the higher salaries. Many families and sometimes entire extended families are supported by one or two family members working abroad. As a nurse, for example, in England, Maria would earn approximately $1200 dollars per month, on top of that she would receive food and accommodation free of charge.
"It is more than one year's salary for my father, and because housing in England is in principle free I could send a large portion of the salary back home."
Veronica, 25 years old, is a student at CIFMA; a specialized school for Toba-Indians in Saenz Pena. She is studying to become a bilingual teacher. There is a big need for bilingual teachers who speak and write both Spanish and Toba fluently. Originally she was interested in international studies at a larger university but she did not have enough math. She hopes to be able to pursue international studies after she is finished at CIFMA.
She is pleased with her education at CIFMA. When she arrived she could not write Toba very well. At home they only spoke Toba, but she never wrote anything. Now she is so good in both languages she can help other students.
Veronica believes that it is very important for the Toba Indians to integrate into society. They have to merge with the rest of the population in order to be able to progress economically. She believes it is quite possible. But it is also important to preserve their cultural heritage. Toba must hold on to their traditions in order not to lose their identity. Veronica hopes her bilingual skills and studies in international relations will come help her serve in this capacity.
Veronica is very cheerful, light-hearted and outgoing. She tells how grateful she is to all the support she has received through Star of Hope. She would never have been able to study this far without the assistance. It is traditional that an unmarried woman remains at the home of her parents. But it is crowded and that makes it difficult to study as desired. She wishes that she could have an entire room to study in peace. Right now six people are sharing two small rooms.
Life as a seasonal cotton picker was not something that attracted Miguel. His major interest was cars. As a teenager he thought about how he could combine his interest with a more steady income.
MIGUEL 31 READY TO START MY OWN BUSINESS
Miguel grew up in an Indian reservation just outside Saenz Peña in northern Argentina. The family made a living picking cotton when it was the season for it and they also had a small farm.
They had always been poor, agricultural workers, who only had work for a few months a year. Between seasons, they felt they had to try to live on air.
When Miguel was a teenager, he worked as a tractor driver on a large farm. Miguel became interested in cars and engines and knew this is what he wanted to work with. Thanks to the scholarship from Star of Hope, he was educated and is now a car mechanic.
During the training, he was an intern at the workshop where he is now employed. At the workshop he also learned to use computer technology for testing and debugging cars. "I now have a steady income and it feels great. Now I dream to start my own workshop, I think I'm ready for it."
Aldo is baking
For many years, Star of Hope in Argentina has operated a two-year vocational diploma program in various professions. There are, among others, courses in cooking, baking, weaving, crafts, beauty care and computers.
Aldo, 17, is one of three boys in the vocational baking class of 26 students. He enjoys being in the mix with so many girls but clearly states that was NOT the reason he started. He thinks it is fun to cook, bake and decorate cakes and breads. He believes the course is very instructive and will be of great use in his education.
Aldo says, "I hope to be able to work with this in the future. It is fun and my future goal is to open my own bakery."
He already bakes at home for the family and sells to the neighbor's and on the main road. In this manner, the family is earning at least a little money which is much needed.
Madel is 14 years old attending her second year of high school at Star of Hope school in Taytay, Philippines. Her favorite subjects are math and science. She likes numbers and learning different formulas.
Every day Madel reads five chapters from the Bible and writes in her diary about her Bible studies. Her dream is to become an architect. She know how much money that will cost. There are many jobs for "cooks" in the Philippines so she first wants to learn to cook and get a job at a restaurant to help finance her studies to be an architect. This writer is impressed with her determination.