Dianne Samillano was born and raised in the rural town of Santa Catalina on the central Philippine island of Negros. She is the eldest of three children, all girls. Her younger sisters are Sarah (15), who is in her third year in high school and Welmarie (10), in grade four. Her parents, Estela (39) and Romel (40), are farmers.
They used to grow maize for home consumption, but recently, they switched to sugarcane. They also raise ducks and sell the eggs. The family lives in a simple tin-roofed house with concrete flooring in Tambacan, near the town center of Santa Catalina.
Next month - April, Dianne enters her third year of her Accountancy course at Silliman University in Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental province. Her school is a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride from home and the fare is 100 pesos (US$2) one way. Her parents cannot afford the weekly return fare and so Dianne seldom comes home to Santa Catalina. In Dumaguete she lives alone in the house of her deceased grandparents. She cooks her meals on a charcoal stove, sometimes skipping supper when she is too tired to prepare food.
Estela and Romel have been raising ducks for many years now and this has provided them with a modest income. They also have their sugarcane farm and they are hoping that this will give them a substantial income. The harvest however will not be until the latter part of this year, and in the meantime, they have their daughter Dianne's tuition to pay for. This is the reason why Estela is again seeking PSHF assistance for her daughter's schooling. She has applied for a loan of 20,000 pesos, half of which will be used to enroll Dianne for the summer classes this month, and the other half for her enrollment for the first semester in June.
Dianne is the patient type. She quietly plods on; her eyes on her goal to finish school so that she will be able to get a job someday and then also to help send her younger sisters to school. Her parents and sisters have been supportive of her and she always looks forward to her trips to Santa Catalina as it delights her greatly to spend time with her family.
Bernadette G. Togado
PSHF Negros Oriental