Looking back, Cindy attributes her success in overcoming trials to her 3D formula-Dare, Dedication, and Determination.
Born and raised in an agricultural community in Sablan, 22-year old Cindy is a graduate of the Expanded Students’ Grant-in-Aid Program-Poverty Alleviation, an educational assistance for poor but deserving student who belongs to the indigent households of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. The program was implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the DSWD, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
As the eldest of nine (9) children, Cindy is the first-to go person and the caregiver of her younger siblings whenever their mother is not home. She ensures that her siblings eat well and go to school. Cindy’s dedication to her family has truly made her an example of an admirable sister.
Daring: Helping the Family to Survive
Cindy survived the tests of life. Her family lives a simple life through farming and other extra work in town to support the needs of the family. Back then, the family struggles especially in sending the children to school.
Cindy’s father, Necquel was a jeepney driver in a nearby town but had to leave and work overseas to provide enough support to the growing family.
Her mother Primitiva, on the other hand, maintains a small cutflower farm being a mother and a father at the same time. During weekends, Cindy with her siblings help in the farm where they cultivate different cut flowers to supplement the finances being provided by their father.
Dedication: Setting an example
Cindy faced many challenges in pursuing her studies. But instead of being discomforted with the situation, she remained dedicated to chasing her dream to become a guardian of the woodland. The strong support of her family is also her driving force.
Cindy shared, “kasapulak nga agbalin nga best example para kadagiyay kakabsat ko, nga uray nu ania karigat ti panagbiyag, kasapulan me nga ipalpas ti eskwela tapnu ma abot me ti goal me iti biyag. Ken importante metlang nga agbalin nga natibker ta saan nga maiwasan ti challenges kar karo iti panag eskwela (I need to be the best example to my siblings that despite the difficulties in life, we need to finish our studies to reach our goal in life. It is also important to be strong because challenges cannot be avoided especially in school).
Determination: Grabbing the Opportunity
Cindy’s family became a member of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2012. From then on, the program has become a big help for the family especially for the children’s needs in school.
With her strong determination to finish a degree, she was blessed to be one of the grantees of the ESGP-PA in 2015.
“Sakbay nga nainayonnak ijay scholarship ti DSWD, kasapulan me nga makipordiya ijay farm ti kaaruba me tapnu isupay nga pangsoposop ti kasapulan me ijay school (before I became a grantee of the DSWD, we needed to do labor work at our neighbors’ farm to augment our needs in school)” Cindy shared.
Aside from the cash grants that supported her studies, the program provided avenues for Cindy to understand and become aware on the different issues of the society like gender and development and financial literacy through the trainings and seminars that she participated as grantee.
Aside from her education, the program also benefited Cindy’s family. She saves some part of her monthly allowance for her family especially for her younger brothers and sisters.
She is grateful that through the ESGP-PA, her confidence and self-esteem were boosted. She was able to develop her interpersonal skills. In fact, Cindy was the team leader of her co-grantees in their college and she encouraged her teammates to accomplish on time all the required activities of the program.
“Malaksid ijay da trainings ken seminars nga inat attendaran me as part iti activities ti ESGAP PA, naikkan kami pay nga per college ti bassit nga farm nga imin-maintain me ijay asideg ti student center ti eskwelaan me. Ijay nga nabuild ti panag may maysa me as pantawid scholars, ken nabuild metlang ti teamwork ken camaraderie ti maysa ken maysa kadakami (Apart from the trainings and seminars we participated as part of the program, we were given a small farm to maintain near the student center of our school, and through that, we were able to build solidarity, teamwork and camaraderie among our co-grantees of the pantawid pamilya program), Cindy shared.
Living the dream
After years of struggles in pursuing her studies, Cindy’s determination paid off. She now holds a degree in Bachelor of Science in Forestry at the Benguet State University (BSU).
After passing the Forester Licensure Examination, she was hired as Forester I at the Watershed and Water Resources Research Center of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Cordillera for three (3) months. This opportunity enriched her knowledge and skills in her profession. Also, she was able to help meet the financial needs of the family especially in sending her younger siblings to school. Her work however as field validator of bamboo plantation in CAR, Region I, and II requires to leave her family most of the time. Nevertheless, whenever possible, she still spends quality time with her family.
With her desire to enhance her knowledge and capacity, she is now a research assistant in a joint research and development project of BSU, University of the Philippines (UP), Baguio and Saint Louis University on popularizing access to biodiversity, information data, and conservation opportunities. She is planning to continue her Master’s Degree in Forestry in UP Baguio and hopes for the scholarship program she applied for at the Department of Science and Technology.
Despite the challenges her family has experienced, Cindy’s victory is a fruit of her strong determination and dedication with the help of the ESGP-PA. She was dared but she survived to live and be what she is now. She continuously motivates her younger siblings by being an inspiration to them as she provides care and financial assistance for their schooling. She hopes that one day, her siblings will live the life they aspired to be with her 3D formula. Cindy always encourages her younger siblings with her motto reach for the stars above, but always put your feet on the ground.” //MARLO C. ABYADO, Jr., Pantawid Pamilya, Information Officer II