By Hannibal C. Talete
MANILA, Sept. 29 – For 17-year-old Erica Carillo, finishing her studies, getting a job and taking her family out of poverty was a long-cherished dream made harder by financial difficulties of their family.
Armed with a brave heart, perseverance and unwavering faith, the Bulacan native enrolled at the Baliuag University in 2008, taking up accountancy course and making do with what her mother — a sewer at a local tailoring shop — could spare for her and her four siblings.
Her father passed away several years ago.
Mahirap po talaga ang buhay namin, pero gusto ko po talagang makatapos ng pag-aaral, Carillo said as she narrated the day-to-day difficulties their family encountered.
Until an opportunity beckoned in the form of a scholarship grant from the Unioil Foundation Inc. (UFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of the Unioil Petroleum Philippines Inc. (UUPI), one of the countrys leading independent oil players.
After passing a battery of tests for those who want to avail of the scholarship slot, Carillo was awarded a grant last week by the Foundation along with six other underprivileged yet deserving students ranging from elementary to the tertiary level.
Napakalaking tulong po sa akin at sa aming pamilya na mapabilang sa mga iskolars ng Unioil, at lalo ko pa pong pagbubutihin ang aking pag-aaral para makatapos, she said after accepting a check to cover her tuition and other education needs this semester.
Like Carillo, Princess Deanne Linglingay Cabreros also has the same story and met the same difficulties as her father, Mario Adelmo Cabreros, was the only one earning livelihood for their family of five.
For Cabreros, who is currently on her third year at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila, the Unioil scholarship was heaven-sent that she said would surely ease the burden on her father.
Naaawa po ako sa tatay ko na nakikita ko pong ginagawa ang lahat ng paraan para mapag-aral kami, kaya napakalaking ginhawa po sa amin na ako ay makapasok ng scholarship at nagpapasalamat kami sa Unioil sa pagkakataong ito, she said.
Her father, who accompanied her during the awarding of the grant, said as much and vowed to make sure that his daughter would be able to finish her schooling.
Five others — Jesse Charles Navarro, Shekinoh Maingat, Aimee Fosana, Christine Joselle Zulueta and Joanee Juayno — were also awarded scholarship grant by Unioil this school year, easing the burden on their parents.
Paul Co, chairman of the Board of the Unioil Foundation Inc., said this is the companys way of helping less fortunate families send their children to school.
This is part of Unioils commitment to be of help to society by sending poor children to school, thereby making them productive members of our nation, Co said.
Co hopes the program would inspire the students to make good on their studies, specially knowing their educational expenses are already taken care off.
I want our scholars to study hard, persevere and do everything to be successful. Dreaming is not enough, you have to work and study hard for it, you have to fight for it with all your heart and soul, Co said in a statement congratulating the batch of Unioil scholars.
At the same time, he said plans are afoot to increase the number of grantees next year as well as a possible tie-up with the Department of Education and the University of the Philippines. (PNA Features)