“I want to be a good role model”
“My mum inspired me, now I inspire others,” says 21-year-old Genevieve, who teaches in a primary school in the Philippines.
Genevieve sees her family who live on Nocnocan Island, just north of her country, every few months and sends them money regularly. She knows she wouldn’t be a teacher without the determination of her mother and is keen to offer similar inspiration to her eight brothers and sisters.
‘I want to show them how important it is to work hard,” says Genevieve. “I want to be a good role model because I don’t want them to suffer like I did.”
Determined to succeed
Genevieve remembers the day her mother Davina told her she wouldn’t be able to go to school anymore – she was 11.
Her father had just been forced to give up free dive fishing for a living because he was getting headaches. He started to sail boats for others who fished but it was hard to make enough money to keep his family fed or keep their home secure from the tropical weather.
To send Genevieve to secondary school on the mainland, Narciso and Davina would have to pay for her to board there.
“Mum said there wasn’t enough money to continue my education,” says Genevieve. “I hid my tears because I didn’t want her to feel worse than she already did.”
Davina took control of the situation by getting a US$ 70 loan from VisionFund-Philippines and using the money to buy sea cucumbers from a local fisherman. Davina would wake at 5am to collect the sea cucumbers, clean and dry them out. She then sold them to an exporter to China, where they are a delicacy.
Davina and Narciso repaid their loan and took out a further two loans from VisionFund. Their business has become a success. The family have built a second floor that covers their original home and all of Genevieve’s brothers and sisters are at school.
“I am so grateful for what my parents did for me,” says Genevieve. “I want to make them proud.”
Genevieve’s vision is that all her brothers and sisters complete their education like she did.