“Growing up, I experienced the hardships of life. However, I still considered myself lucky enough for having eaten meals three times a day together with my family. Sharing the same thought as others, who grew up in a less fortunate family, I firmly consider education as the only legacy my parents could give me. So, with the hope of getting my family out of poverty, I studied diligently,” said Joan Grace Ewican, 18 years old, from Barangay Alegria, Carmen, Bohol.
“Sa una ang akong balon kay 5 pesos ra kada adlaw. Ug ang akong school uniform kay hand-me-down gikan sa akong mga magulang kay ako man ang kinamanghuran (Before, I had only Php 5 for allowance. Being the youngest, I had to wear hand-me-down school uniform from my elder sister),” added Joan. She also disclosed that she had to walk one kilometer every day from their home to her elementary school.
According to Joan, sending describes sending children to high school and college at the same time, is like passing through the hole of a needle.
“My parents’ burden became heavier when my brother went to college. But God has been so good to us. The government has implemented the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the DSWD to hand in cash grant to financially challenged families like us,” said Joan.
To somehow help her parents in addressing their financial needs, Joan applied for the Local Government Unit (LGU) scholarship when she entered high school.
Joan recognizes the help of 4Ps in sending them to school and for providing other opportunities like the 2014 National Search for Huwarang Pamilya where her family emerged as second runner-up.
She also represented Central Visayas region and placed fourth runner-up in the 2014 National Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children.
“Nindot to nga experience nga naka-adto ko sa Manila aron pag-attend sa National Children’s Congress ug nahimamat ang uban pang mga bata (Going to Manila to attend the National Children’s Congress and met other children is a worthwhile experience),” said Joan.
When she moved up to senior high school, Joan enrolled in Eugenio V. Amores Memorial High School located in the nearby town of Sagbayan.
Tragedy struck the Ewican family when Joan’s elder sister, Jennifer died due to a motor accident in Batuan town in December 2015.
“Dili ra siya naku sister pero best friend pud naku siya ug dako ang impact to nga panghitabo sa akong kinabuhi. Sugod ato, medyo nausab ko ug pirme naku maghuna-huna og negative. Pero salamat sa Diyos, nakabalik raku sa sakto nga disposisyon sa kinabuhi (She was not just a big sister to me but she was my best friend. That incident had a big impact on my life. I became pessimistic in looking at things. But thank God, I have recovered my usual happy disposition),” recalled Joan.
For Joan, success is like a rainbow; it can only be seen after the rain.
“Yes, I experienced failures and sunk at the bottom while chasing my dreams but I never gave up. I survived my senior high school journey. Receiving the most precious token, my diploma during graduation is already a big achievement. Being the class valedictorian is a bonus,” added Joan.
Joan’s graduation from senior high school on April 5, 2019 marked the end of her journey with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
“Our family is forever grateful of this government program. I hope that the government will continue to help more less fortunate families and bring hope in them. This seemingly endless poverty in our country will come to its end someday if we invest for the children’s future,” shared Joan.
“Now, I am a step closer to my dreams. I may fail several times but I will surely stand up again even stronger,” ended Joan.
Joan is currently enrolled at Bohol Island State University (BISU) in Bilar Campus taking up agricultural engineering. ###