Once there was a quiet boy who dreamt to make a change by making people see through his eyes. At first, his dream seemed far off especially with his current situation and young age, but with his patience, perseverance, and commitment, slowly, he’s starting to make his dreams come true.

Great things come in small packages

Erickson Garcia Bersamira, when asked what his biggest accomplishment was answered, “kung ano po ako ngayon”. It is a vague and deep answer coming from a boy of only thirteen years of age. At this point in his life, as an adolescent, he considers himself a life-long learner. Being a beneficiary of the program has been a huge part of this turn out, and for this he is very proud.

He and his siblings were raised aware of their status in life, and by this and being part of the program gives him an opportunity to do well in his education beside it being part of the conditionality of the program. He wanted to be a role model to his fellow pantawid children-beneficiaries by excelling in their class and other activities not only in school but in the community. “Ang mga kabataan ang susunod na henerasyon at pag-asa ng bayan, ngunit sila (kami) din ngayon ang parte ng problema. Gusto ko pong i-advocate ang mga dapat gawin para mag tapos sa pag-aaral, na hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para maabot ang mga pangarap natin sa buhay. Lalo na kung tayo ay may mabuting pag-uugali at marunong makipagkapwa-tao” he shares.

At an early age, Erickson witnessed his parents’ hardships in life in terms of financial stability since his father is only working as a laborer in construction sites while his mother is unemployed. He felt that part of his struggle in life is his family’s situation wherein they have difficulty meeting their needs for their everyday life, as well as the education of the four of them.

Countless blessings

The Bersamira family lives in Sto. Rosario Barangay in Baguio City. His parents, Ricarte Ugay Bersamira, is a native of Baguio City while Laura Garcia Bersamira hails from Naguilian, La Union. His parents are happily married for nineteen years now and was blessed with four children. Among their children, Lailani, Melanie and Erickson were selected as children-beneficiaries. Their eldest, already graduated in the program and she is presently studying BS Accountancy at Saint Louis University. Melanie is taking her Senior High School as Grade 11 at the University of Cordilleras and Erickson is in his 8th grade at Baguio City National High School, while Emerson, their youngest is currently a Grade 1 pupil at Roxas Elementary School.

Erickson is often invited to speak words of inspiration to his fellow children beneficiaries, and although he is shy and usually a person of few words, when he does speak, his words transcends. “Ang kahirapan ay hindi harang para makapagtapos, isa lang itong pagsubok para gawin kang matatag. Ang edukasyon ay hindi makukumpleto kung wala ka namang tamang pag uugali, dapat tatandaan natin lagi na sa kabila ng iba’t-ibang estado natin sa buhay, mahirap o mayaman, sa mata ng Diyos, tayo ay pantay-pantay”.

Erickson is consistently in the top 10 of their class with an average of 91%. He is also consistently a winner of school-led activities such as poster making contests including on the spot competitions. He is an artist by choice and by his works he wanted to share how he views life.

During the regional search for Exemplary Children, he did an on the spot artwork using spray paints. His artwork represents his life journey. He painted a tree with withered leaves in an almost barren land. The fallen leaves represent the mistakes and challenges he had overcome that was mainly brought about by poverty. In the artwork you can see one fruit left that is hanging, the symbol of a new beginning, and a fresh start that was an opportunity given to him by the arrival of the program to their lives.

Besides being an academic achiever, he also does outreach programs in their barangay and other community and church led activities.

Not just another boy next door

Erickson is described by his mother as someone who likes sports such as basketball and soccer. He also has interest in playing musical instruments, though he prefers playing the guitar. He also love singing and rapping. At home, he helps in the household chores such as washing the dishes and fetching water. Most of the time, he informs his family members his whereabouts and goes home on time.

As a young boy he is already determined and mature in making decisions. Her mother shared that Erickson wanted to buy his “tablet” and he pursued to save from his allowance and didn’t ask for any money from his parents since he understands their economic situation. However, when his tablet was not already functioning, he no longer wanted to buy another since he is not really fond of using it and he thought that it is not really a necessity for him, even if he is a millennial. He is a typical child who experienced challenges when he entered high school where peer pressure is rampant. With the guidance of his parents and siblings he was able to overcome the situation.

Lifelong journey

In his young age, Erickson has already accomplished so much and is determined to continue living this way until his ultimate dream come true – to have his family uplifted from poverty. He gave his acceptance speech during the awarding and said confidently and proudly that “pangarap ko pong makita ang mga kababayan kong makaangat sa buhay kasama ko, at hindi lang ako”.

Together with the provincial winners of CAR, he attended the 6th National Children’s Congress in San Juan, Metro Manila. He was hailed as this year’s National Pantawid Pamilya Exemplary Child 1st Runner Up and was awarded on November 18, 2017 during the Araw ng Kabataan in SM North Edsa Skydome.

Indeed, a small boy’s dream can come a long way with the right motivation, drive, and support. Erickson hopes to see a day wherein everybody is living in peace and he is determined to see this through, one step at a time. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Phylein Maria Rosette U. Callangan

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