DISOP Philippines

The Gift: a story of Cecil Alipoyo by Sarah Enanoria, PFI staff

With the never-ending social issues around the world today, poverty is still a major problem like an epidemic with few cures. In the Philippines, low wages would be the variable that leads to poverty and families with low wages would barely support their daily needs. Thus, countless parents don’t have enough money to send their children to upper level education for a better future. For typical Filipinos, education is often paramount to future success because one with broad knowledge, increased opportunities and greater potentials are often to succeed in life since dateless times.
For economic reasons, not having enough money for programs like education leads to illiteracy and lower education wherein most children knew that they have no future in higher education. Instead, these children will not have the motivation to do well in school and typically stuck in poverty for the rest of their lives. But not to Dresalyn D. Alipoyo. This woman in her twenty-five years of existence disagrees that those who live in slum areas and are extremely poor will always be the same. She fully believes that life is like a football that requires perseverance, hard work and sacrifice. Her story is a gift to others, rooted from her gift of person.
Born on May 28, 1990 in Naba Alaska, Mambaling, Cecil, as she is fondly called is the youngest child among eight siblings. Her father, who manages to find work as a carpenter is paid very little for extremely hard labor under the sun and menial tasks with most receiving less than Php 250 per day. Her mother, a plain housewife and a full-time grandmother sees the situation that having eight children to feed results to impoverished family situations with meals of such poor nutritional value. Moreover, pursuing to college is a pipe-dream for her children especially to Cecil who always dream that there can be possible dreams.
Life has been so hard for the Alipoyo family. Cecil’s elder brother who promised to send her to college from his day’s labors in Carbon Public Market as a vendor had died due to cancer. Her eldest sister passed away too. In addition, Cecil’s other siblings are living with partners in life resulting to have twenty-one nieces and nephews at present.
It was in her senior high school years when Cecil started to strive hard just to finish her studies. She worked as a baby-sitter from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm since she was attending a night school at the Mambaling Night High School. It was her mother who continued her baby-sitting chore from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. during weekdays. Amidst such difficulty, she managed to graduate at MNHS on 2006 by her own means.
The idea of pursuing into college is one of her dreams but she knew from the very start that there is no means at all and she couldn’t make it since she had to support her big family. Instead, she landed as a saleslady of a Taiwanese-owned store in Carbon Public Market with Php 100 wage per day. After four months, she transferred to a ‘carenderia’ as a server earning Php 150 a day with free meals. While the rest of her peers are enjoying the perspective on the lives of adolescence, Cecil spent her younger years discovering how things work in order to survive.
Gifted with a sense of responsibility and her will to support her loveones at young age, she was also engaged in rug making in which she had learned from the livelihood programs under DISOP sourcing through Pagtambayayong Foundation, Inc. partnership. Using her initiative to make errands meet, she and her Puntod-Naba (PUBA) friends produced bags and wallets which is a makeshift from rug making and sold them to local buyers or through made-of-order production. She even recalled that an American national ordered them 100 pieces of rug bags (Php 80 each) but she and her friend were able to produced 50 pieces only due to rug shortage but still, they were evenly happy for becoming instant entrepreneurs on their own.
Through the years, continuous campaigns and programs which aim to support the out-of-school-youth identified for their potential to exceed but without the means to develop their potential is a remarkable gift that DISOP is actively known for. Through their continuous partnership with Pagtambayayong, Cecil was among those who availed the livelihood programs through short term enrichment courses and enrolled at the School of Knowledge for Industrial Labor, Leadership and Services (SKILLS) for household services in 2013. As TechVoc scholars, Cecil and those who were from Naba and Duljo and other batchmates were stationed at Zoie Skills Training and Assessment Center Inc. After the two-months training with on-the-job experiences, they graduated at SKILLS equipped with TESDA accredited courses designed to help the youth to develop their skills that would hopefully integrate them in the community and become useful individuals. Having been thankful for the opportunity she had acquired for free, Cecil was even more grateful as she was one of those who were absorbed by the SKILLS and was hired for housekeeping services at the Avalon Condominium near Ayala Center Cebu. More than she can hope for, this young lady’s efforts and sacrifices had been paid for and the joy she was experiencing will always be treasured wherever she may be.
“Sangko sa langit ang akong kalipay nga na-absorbed ko dayon kay daku kaayo kini og gikatabang sa akong pamilya”, (My joy reached up to the heavens as I was absorbed at once wherein it helped me a lot in supporting my family), a shy Cecil shared during an interview.
It has been two years now since Cecil started to work at the Avalon Condominium’s housekeeping services. Today, she is earning Php 340 a day and her never-ending financial support to her family is her greatest gift to them as long as she lives.
According to her mother Gertrudes D. Alipoyo, Cecil being the youngest seems to bear the burden of being the ultimate provider for their basic needs. She proudly shared that every child is a gift but Cecil is more than a gift she can ever hope for. “Daku gyud kaayo og gikatabang si Cecil sa among pamilya hilabina kay wala na manarbaho akong bana kay tigulang na” (Cecil has been a great help to our family since my husband is not working anymore due to old age), she said.
Creating livelihood opportunities is a lifetime gift from strategic partnership among various organizations for millions of people battling poverty. Like other DISOP scholars, Cecil’s story can be an inspiration to the nameless millions especially to those who are struggling for survival with the way things are. Life can be so hard in these changing times but for one who has the will to search for better opportunities coupled with strong determination, with no doubt, it will be given.
It has been said that opportunity would never be knocking at the door whenever one wishes. One has to strive for it and fulfills it. As the saying goes, “Always be on the lookout for that spark of opportunity that could change your life or someone close to you forever”. Ask Cecil and surely she can bring it on!

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