Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Young woman dreams to be a police officer, for family, community

"If I weren't able to enroll in college last year, maybe I would have committed suicide," recounts 20-year old Ivy from Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

Looking back to 2015, Ivy recalled the challenges her family went through on her last year in college--the uncertainty for her to finish college.

Not meeting the minimum required grades, she transferred from a state-funded to a private college in the city. From Php 7,000 per semester, her tuition fee spiked to more than its double.

Her father, a motorcycle driver, and her mother, who maintains their sari-sari store, barely made ends meet for their family of five. They could not afford a private-school education for Ivy.

Her parents suggested for Ivy to stop. She understood her family's situation, but she could not give up her dream to finish her education. There were only two semesters left.

In Ivy's family, no one has ever graduated college. Her older brother reached college but did not finish a semester. In her barangay with a population of 426 according to 2015 Census of Population, only a handful have finished college.

"I had to enrol. I want to set an example to my sisters, my cousins and my community. I want to show them that I finished college despite the difficulties. And if I can do it, so can they."

Her parents understood why Ivy was persistent. Even if it meant being in debt, they found a way to support her first semester.

Even if she adjusted living in the city and away from family, she endured with the goal of receiving a diploma in mind.

Every time she went home, she felt even more motivated because of overwhelming support of her community. Some neighbours would help her with her home works.

Second semester came. But supporting her education remained to be a challenge.

When their family was identified to be part of the cash-for-work programme under Asian Development Bank's-Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction Grant 9175 Subcomponent A2 grant, her parents knew it was exactly the kind of support they need.

Through the programme, her father rendered service
 for Php260/day, an amount hard to get by as a motorcycle driver. For 30 days, he assisted with the rehabilitation of their barangay's water system and earned a total of Php 7,800.

They used it to pay for Ivy's tuition for her last semester.

And as graduation came closer, she found a deeper appreciation of her degree.

"Before I just wanted a diploma. But transferring to a new school and knowing the sacrifices of my family made dream more. I realized that I didn't just want to graduate. I want to pass the board exam and become a police woman."

With new goals in mind, she studied hard on her last semester.

Then the fateful day of her graduation came. Ivy received flowers from the school, she gave it to her mother and said, "This is for you." Holding back her tears, her mother accepted feeling fulfilled.

"Through the cash-for-work programme, Ivy graduated," says her mother Rose.

In college, she learned the value of protecting others. Now, as a Criminology graduate, people look up to her.

"I know people will approach me in case of emergencies."

To develop her skills, she participated to the first batch of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) training facilitated by the Eastern Samar Emergency Response Search Rescue team of Eastern Samar Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

She learned emergency management, first aid, basic life support and water search and rescue. Eager to keep on learning, she volunteered to be a co-trainer for the 2nd batch of the ERT training.

"Being part of the training as a participant and a co-trainer helped me improve my skills as a responder," she shares.

The ERT training aims to increase the capacity of communities against disasters and calamities through skills development. It is under the Disaster Risk Reduction component of the grant.

She is now preparing for the Criminology board exam scheduled on September. She is equally nervous and excited.

"When I become a police woman, I want to be assigned in the field. I want to help my family, my relatives, and my village and to be of service of others," she says.

With that in mind, she is more committed to reach her dream not only because her family is supporting her. The whole village is cheering her on

Looking back to 2015, she knows the challenges in her life made her the stronger woman she is today. Looking back, she smiles. After all, there are so many things in life worth smiling for--worth living for.


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