Philippine Self-Help Foundation

This is an education loan for two siblings living in Santa Catalina in the province of Negros Oriental. Jonelyn is a third year student at the Negros Oriental State University in Santa Catalina and her brother is also in his third year but at the main campus in Dumaguete, the provincial capital. There are six children in the family and Jonelyn & Jeriel are the third and fourth.

I met Jonelyn & Jeriel during my visit to Santa Catalina in May. I was in the company of Winelin, our field worker and Ireen our coordinator for the province. The meeting was in a glass shop where Jonelyn had once had a part-time job. She was waiting for us and Jeriel arrived shortly afterwards on a motorcycle. Jonelyn and Jeriel were applying for a loan to enable them to pay their tuition fees for the academic year beginning in June.

During the course of the interview, the two of them told us about themselves and their family and particularly the loss of their father, Jonathan who tragically died in May, 2010 from complications arising from acute asthma and diabetes. Jonathan had been a farmer and the family’s main provider. During his long illness, eight of the family’s ten hectares of farm land were sold to pay for medical and hospital expenses.

When Jonelyn (22) graduated from high school in March, 2010, she had to set aside her dreams of going to college and instead got a job as a cashier in a rice mill. A year later, a cousin of hers offered her a baby sitting job in return for sending her to college. She completed two and half years of her degree course in Education but then her health deteriorated due to the stress of being a working student. She is fully recovered and excited about going back to college in June.

Jeriel (19) was in high school when his father died so his studies were not interrupted. He was an honors student throughout his high school years and went on to be the Valedictorian when he graduated in 2013. He is enjoying his degree course in Electronics and communications and grateful for the support he receives from his eldest sister, Mahalel who works as an accountant in Manila.

At the end of the interview in the glass shop, I gave the two young people the good news that their loan was approved and they were very grateful. Jonelyn pulled out her cell phone and sent a text message to transmit the news to her mother, Angelina who was attending a church event on the island of Siquijor. Angelina will surely be delighted.

I came away impressed by these two young people; they have good values and their father would have been proud of them.

Richard Foster

PSHF Negros Oriental

May 2015