A mother would do anything for her children… even taking a job more suitable for men.
As soon as Rowena Acibar realized her husband’s P8,000 monthly salary can no longer send all her four growing children to school, the plain housewife knew she had to do something big.
Acibar, who was only able to finish second year high school due to financial trouble, could not bear the thought of letting her children experience the same hardship she went through while studying.
“Ayokong maranasan ng mga anak ko ang naranasan ko na paghihirap,” the 36-year-old high school undergraduate shared.
When one of her children gets sick, she would casually visit the health office of Barangay Malinta in Valenzuela City just so she can get free medicine, saving more money that could otherwise be spent for her family’s other equally urgent needs.
That was when Acibar learned about one of Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian’s scholarship programs that provides financial assistance to students or practically anyone who want to take vocational courses.
“Nagkataon naman na noong lumapit ako sa barangay namin para humingi ng gamot para sa bunso kong may lagnat, nakita ko sa bulletin board (‘yung) tungkol sa scholarship ni Congressman Win sa ValPoly (Valenzuela Polytechnic College),” Acibar recalled.
As a congressman in the last two years, Gatchalian has launched “Vocational Scholarship Program” under WinTayo sa Edukasyon, which also offers two sub-programs, giving the scholar the freedom to choose a training that is more suitable to their goal.
Acibar, who saw great demand for Filipino workers abroad as she had previously worked as a domestic helper in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia from October 2014 to February 2015, applied for Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).
STEP is a scholarship program for those who want to earn degree in vocational course from government technical colleges, where scholars will be trained on carpentry, shielded metal arc training, hardware servicing, and tourism.
“Hindi ako nagdalawang-isip. Nag-apply agad ako. Pinalad naman ako dahil natanggap ako,” added Acibar, who chose to take up Shielded Metal Arc Training in ValPoly.
“Wala po sa akin (kung panlalaki ‘yung course na kinuha ko). Ang importante po sa akin ay ang kapakanan ng mga anak ko… ‘In-demand’ po kasi sa abroad (ang welding) atsaka mas malaki ang maaari kong kitain kaysa mag-domestic helper ako,” she clarified.
Together with 21 other students, Acibar started on April 10 this year for her training, which is set to be completed on May 26 next year.
“(Dahil sa scholarship na ito,) nagkaroon po ako ng pag-asa na maibigay ko sa mga anak ko ang buhay na hindi ko naranasan. Sa mga nanay na katulad ko, wala pong masama kung magsakripisyo tayo para sa kapakanan ng pamilya natin,” she said.
“Kahit na minsan ang katumbas nito ay ang paglayo sa kanila, kailangan lang natin ipaintindi sa ating mga anak na ang lahat ng ginagawa natin ay para sa kanilang kabutihan,” Rowena concluded. (Camille Nepomuceno)