By Glenda B. Gutierrez
“Masaya ako dahil maipagpapatuloy ko na ang aking pag-aaral,” says Jennie Balatico (I am happy because I can now continue my studies).
Jennie, 14, decided to attend the Alternative Learning System (ALS) sessions of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) because she considered herself over-aged. She stopped schooling when she was in Grade 3 due to financial reasons.
She is the youngest of four daughters of Felix and Susana Balatico. Susana had a son from a previous relationship.
Life was quite good when Felix was still alive and they were still living in Camarin, Caloocan City. He works as a taxi driver and earned enough for the family. This was augmented by the income from a small piggery.
However, Felix got sick and the hospital bills skyrocketed. Susana could not cope with the financial burden and they were forced to move to the Manila North Cemetery. When Felix died, the children stopped schooling.
Jennie learned about the ALS program from Melanie, her elder sister who belong to the second batch of ALS and who was able to pass in 2014. Jennie started attending in 2014 but was not successful in her first attempt.
“Ipinagpatuloy ko pa rin dahil gusto kong matupad and aking pangarap,” says Jennie. (I continued my studies because I wanted to achieve my dream.)
Jennie had a hard time coping with her lessons because she had to help their mother in tending to their small “sari-sari” store to earn for their daily needs.
“I thank the Instructional Managers (IMs) for helping me cope with my lessons. They motivated me to study hard and taught me how to be success-oriented,” Jennie says.
She adds, “My inspiration is my late father whose dream is for us to finish our studies.”
Jennie persevered and passed the elementary level of Accreditation and Equivalency test administered by the Department of Education last April 17, 2016. She is among the 23 OSYs who were honoured during the commencement exercise conducted by the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) last July 22 in Quezon City.
Indeed, with God’s guidance, Jennie’s dream continues. She is now in Grade 7 at the Manuel Luis Quezon High School.