MYRA: 4Ps help me realize my childhood dreams
Testimony of Myra D. Francisco
Former 4Ps monitored child
Cum Laude, Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Science
TIBIAO, ANTIQUE-“Our dreams should always be greater than anything else.” If you have dreams, you should wake up and take action to make those dreams come true.
As my favorite quote by Colin Wilson says “Imagination should be used not to escape reality but to create it”. As humans, we have a series of imagination but it’s up to us how we turned it into reality.
I am Myra D. Francisco, a daughter of Melita and Silverio of Brgy. La Paz, Tibiao, Antique. I’m a graduate of Bachelor of Secondary Education, majoring in Science at University in Antique batch 2022-2023. I am proud to say that I graduated with flying colors as a Cum Laude.
Attending college and being a degree holder was just a dream for me when I was a child. My father, who completed only Grade VI, is a farmer while my mother, who only reached Grade II, is a housewife who sometimes took on odd jobs selling brooms and doing laundry for others. We are only six siblings after our youngest sibling died. I am the sixth child. My three older siblings became working students just to be able to attend school.
As a child, I witnessed how hard our life was. Our house is made up of mixed materials from scrap and when it rains, we have to put empty buckets under the leak to collect the water and prevent it from flooding. My father worked hard to ensure we could eat three times a day and be able to go to school. We always went to school without even a cent to buy food or school supplies. We hardly attend school extra-curricular activities. One time we had attended our very first school Christmas party but our cousin Juvy Francisco paid for our contribution. Despite everything, I never lose hope. My unwavering determination to study was strong, and I believed that education would be the greatest gift I could give to my parents.
When I was a Grade IV student, my teacher, Ma’am Patricia Dionisio now a retired teacher asked me if I wanted to become a working student. At first, I hesitated, but then I realized it was an opportunity to help myself and our parents. So, at a young age, I became a working student.
I remained a consistent honor student throughout elementary school and graduated as the class valedictorian. I was grateful when the 4Ps came into our lives. It played a significant role in our education. The negative words people said about 4Ps beneficiaries, labeling them as “lazy” fueled my inner desire to finish my studies.
High school wasn’t easy either. Although I was already a working student, my allowance was not enough to sustain my education.
That’s why my friends and I sold biscuits and other delicacies in our room to add to our allowances. There were times when my mother couldn’t attend my recognition program because she didn’t have money for the fare, so my teacher or the parents of my classmates would be with me on the stage. After almost 8 years of being a working student, I graduated from my senior high school and went back home. Back then I contemplated whether to continue to college or start working. While my classmates were excitedly discussing which courses to take, I found myself listening with envy.
Every night, I pondered what the best decision would be. If I gave up, what would my future hold? Looking at my parents’ veiny arms, my father, a senior citizen still toiling, and hearing my mother’s concerns about where to find money for rice because the assistance sent by my older siblings was not enough, I couldn’t bear it anymore. One day, I found myself chatting with a friend about taking college entrance exams. I took the risk, even though I had no idea where I would find the funds for my expenses.
College life proved to be even more challenging than elementary and high school. During my first year, I didn’t have a cellphone or any gadgets necessary for college work. Luckily, my classmates and friends lent me their devices. My daily allowance was only P30 pesos, enough for transportation, and I had no extra money for food or handout contributions. Nevertheless, I cheered myself on, even when I wanted to give up. When the pandemic struck, as everyone saw it as a threat, I saw it as a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to continue studying without worrying about transportation costs or handout expenses as well as school contributions.
In November 2020, the UniFAST released the master list of TES grantees, and my name was on it. I cannot adequately express how grateful I felt. Being a TES grantee was a tremendous blessing for me and my family. With the grant, I bought a smartphone, which was essential for my online classes. I also ventured into online selling and loading to earn extra income.
Even when face-to-face classes resumed, I continued to become a working student for my extra allowance. I faced financial struggles once again, with increased transportation costs and inflated prices. My close friends were familiar with my words, “Pay for me, I will pay you if I have money.” I am grateful to have friends like them who always listen to my problems. There were moments when I confided to them expressing my desire to quit, but they always reminded me of our purpose in being in school: to not only secure our future but also make our parents proud and help our families.
Despite our economic status and the hardships, I encountered, I consider myself blessed and immensely grateful for my experiences. Those experiences shaped me into the person I am today. I used to think that if my elders hadn’t pursued an education, I had to finish mine. I wanted to pave a different path and leave footprints for my younger siblings to follow.
All I wanted was to graduate from college, but God had greater plans. I graduated a cum laude, and upon receiving my medal and certificates, as well as my diploma, I got emotional and tears flowed uncontrollably. Finally, my sleepless nights, silent cries, and empty stomachs while going to school were rewarded.
To sum it all up, I realized that nothing can stop a poor child who thirsts for success. No one can deter a determined and persevering poor child from pursuing their dreams. Poverty may have taken away certain privileges and my childhood, but it also made me strong and independent. I am now reviewing for my upcoming board examinations this March.
Lastly, since our household has already graduated from the program in December 2023, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my family, especially my parents, Ma’am Pat, my relatives, friends, classmates, and all those who extended their help to me and my family and of course, to all the people behind this 4Ps. (Submitted by Municipal Link Angelica P. Fuerte ng Tibiao MOO, Antique POO).