Sponsor makes college dream a reality for one Filipino girl

Growing up in the Philippines, Rachel longed to become a nurse but assumed it would never happen because of her family’s poverty. World Vision started helping her when she was 7. Eleven years later, she’s set to become the first person in her family to attend college.

By Lanelyn Carillo
Published July 8, 2014 at 12:15pm PDT

As a young girl growing up in the Philippines, Rachel used to play doctor, diagnosing a teddy bear with a toy stethoscope and dreaming of growing up to become a nurse. But she never thought it could happen because of the poverty her family lived in.

Trapped in a life of poverty

Her father, Pablito, sold fish. He wouldn’t return home until all his fish were sold, because he couldn’t afford food for his wife and their five children. Sometimes, when the kids returned home from school for lunch, they met an empty table.

“We did not go back to school,” Rachel says. “It is our practice to be absent when we have no lunch.”

At times, their dilapidated, old house would leak, forcing the family to huddle in a corner to stay dry.

“Only the children could sleep lying on a mat,” Rachel says. “My parents would sleep sitting. I saw them do that many times. It was painful to see them that way.”

A dream abandoned

Rachel saw her family’s struggle and assumed her nursing dreams would never happen.

Her mother, 47-year-old Linda, recalls conversations she had with her daughter.

“She once told me, ‘Ma, I think I cannot continue school because I know we cannot afford it,’” Linda says. “That was painful for me. Any mother would cry to hear her child say that. I wanted her to go to school, finish college, fulfill her dream. But I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Linda had also longed to pursue a nursing career but abandoned that dream when she had to drop out of school after sixth grade. Her limited education also restricted her job prospects. To support her children, she works as a street sweeper, working three days a week to earn $18 a month. On her off days, she does others’ laundry to earn $4 a day.

Sponsor’s support makes education possible

The help Rachel needed came when at 7 years old Rachel received a sponsor through World Vision — an American doctor named Connie. She sent letters and wrote about her career, encouraging Rachel to follow her dream.

As a sponsored child, World Vision helped Rachel pursue her education. In elementary school, she received much-needed school supplies her family couldn’t afford. When she was in high school, World Vision assisted with her school tuition fees, which were even more difficult for her family to afford after Rachel’s dad died.

World Vision’s assistance enabled Rachel to not just stay in school but also earn her high school diploma this year. But her dream doesn’t stop there. Due to the generosity of her sponsor, who sent an extra gift, Rachel will become the first person in her family to attend college. Linda cried when she learned her daughter will pursue her nursing dreams.

“I thought I would never reach college,” Rachel says. “None of my family has reached college.”

Her older sister earned her high school degree, and her older brother dropped out after third grade.

“I thought my fate would also be like theirs,” she says.

“If not for my sponsor, I would have followed my older sister’s work — a housemaid.”

Learn more

Three ways you can help

  • Praise God for the generosity of Connie, who sponsored Rachel financially but also encouraged her to pursue her educational goals. Pray that more children will become sponsored so they, too, can chase their dreams.
  • As you prepare for back-to-school season, make a one-time donation to provide school supplies for children in need around the world. Education is a key to overcoming poverty, and your gift, which multiplies eight times in impact, will help provide teaching supplies, textbooks, toys, sports equipment, school building materials, and more.
  • To make an ongoing change in the life of a child, sponsor a child through World Vision today. Your monthly gift will help a child like Rachel and the children in her community get the education he or she needs and also provides life-saving water, healthcare, and more.