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."