We ﬁrst met Melsan (now 20) in 2008 when he dropped by at the ofﬁce to sell native snacks. We became his regular customers and later we learned that he was the breadwinner of the family. His mother Susana had become paralysed in 2004 after giving birth to her fourth and youngest child. Melsan said that she had taken in laundry to supplement her husband’s income just a week after the delivery and this had caused her paralysis. Three years later, the family was beset by another tragedy when Melsan’s father was hit by a jeepney while crossing the street and died from his injuries.
In 2009, the PSHF gave Melsan and his family a grant for physical therapy for Susana, livelihood capital for Melsan and his siblings, and for some repairs of their home. In the same year, Melsan received a scholarship from the private elementary school across from the PSHF ofﬁce so that he could ﬁnish his elementary schooling. A school ofﬁcial had noticed him peddling one day and had asked him if he would like to go back to school.
In 2010, Melsan and his siblings tragically lost their mother and they found themselves orphaned. We provided a grant to pay for the funeral expenses, plane tickets for Melsan’s siblings Mayet (17) and Jason (15) to go to Manila to stay with their Aunt Rita, and a mobile phone for Melsan to keep in touch with his siblings while continuing his schooling in Bacolod.
Last February, Melsan came to the ofﬁce for the ﬁrst time in three years to ask if we might be able to give him a little ﬁnancial support to enable him to pay for some school related fees. We were glad to help him but as we talked he also shared his desire to see his siblings again, because it had already been three years since they had seen each other. We provided the funds he needed to be reunited with his siblings and to come back to Bacolod to continue his studies in June. This visit was be very meaningful for Melsan and his siblings, since it allowed them to share the events of their lives in the past three years and plan their futures together.
While he was in Manila, he was informed that he had passed the Alternative Learning System (ALS) examination which meant he was qualiﬁed to enter college without having to complete his ﬁnal year of high school. This was a big surprise for Melsan and he was overjoyed but he was also unprepared because all the while he had thought when he would be going back to high school.
Melsan’s dream is to become a teacher. He is now enrolled in a degree course in Elementary Education at the College of Arts and Sciences of Asia and the Paciﬁc. His foster family is providing him with his daily allowance, transportation, food, and lodging. We would like to provide him with a grant to pay for his tuition fees and the cost of his uniform.
Melsan is a delightful and responsible young man and we are pleased to enable him to continue his studies towards becoming an Elementary school teacher one day.
Lanie M. De Leon
Melsan with his grandmother.
Click the button to read the latest news about Melsan.