Ellen Rose Icaonapo is a recipient of JLC’s Scholarship programme. Here she tells her story in her own words…

“Five years ago, I was just an ordinary teenager. During that time my life had no direction.Ellen Rose  At an early age I did odd jobs to support myself. Like most of the young people in our community, I had no serious desire to finish high school.  I’d rather enjoy life with my friends in order to escape the hard reality of life, which is poverty.  However, I knew that at the back of my mind I was hoping for a better life. But how?  It seemed like the opportunity was so elusive.  Until one day I chanced upon the mobile teacher from the Alternative Learning System, offering the chance of a lifetime to finish my high school degree.  This programme was in partnership with John Lyall Charity, Inc. Through their help and encouragement, I was able to finish my module and successfully passed the qualifying examination, which is equivalent to a high school diploma.

I was so happy for a while, but it was still far from my dream of earning a college degree.  Again, I started feeling hopeless.  This was until I received the most precious message of my life from the Project Manager of JLC. They offered me a scholarship for a four year college course.  I could not believe that it was all happening to me.

The following years were far from easy.  A lot of bad things happened to me and there were times that I felt like giving up, but John Lyall Charity never stopped encouraging and motivating me.  I began to see things in a different light and look beyond my situation. John Lyall Charity is like a family to me.

This is an organisation with a heart.  A heart for the lost and for the poor. A heart to serve.

JLC is so focused with the community of Wawa that they understand the hardships of everyday people.  Last April, as I walked up to the stage to receive my college degree, tears just kept falling down my cheeks.  How could I ever repay the kindness that had been shown to me?  How could I ever make a difference to a life of someone else who is in need? As a sign of my deep gratitude I volunteered myself to become a member of the JLC Board of Trustees. I hope that I will be able to contribute ideas for the programmes targeting concerns of the children and youth of our community.”

Elotha Icaonapo is a graduate of JLC’s livelihood skills programme. Here she tells her story in her own words…

“When I became a mother I dedicated most of my time to taking care of my children. This Elotha Janeleft me with no choice but to forego my personal ambitions. Then came along the livelihood programme of John Lyall Charity. It was something that I never expected to happen – for the first time I was given the chance to learn something different, while at the same time having the opportunity to earn money that I could contribute to the needs of my family. From my massage therapy course I was fortunate enough to become trained as an instructor.  Can you imagine how happy I was to be given such an opportunity?  I have since taught massage therapy to different barangays [local councils] around Metro Manila and Rizal.

I took the opportunity of taking another course that JLC offered, in basic plumbing skills.

These projects give us young housewives the confidence to find our self worth and to be able to contribute something, not only to our family but to the whole community.

The doors of opportunity just keep on opening, especially now that I am training to work for overseas employment.  I can see a better future ahead for my family.

Everything that I have learned and for what I am now, I owe to John Lyall Charity.”