We send our nieces to school….

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Sending relatives to high school and  college in the Philippines.  Central Philippine University.  Our nieces Donnabel (L) and Lenie (R). They are dressed up and happy because they are leaving for a day out in the city — going by themselves to Iloilo City by jeepney.

When we told them that they’d be going to the city by themselves (about 25km) and that we’d give them fare and money for lunch in the city, they were so excited thinking about what they’d be able to order at McDonald’s with the money they had!  We just mention this for the amusement of the parents raising blasé, world-weary teens in the U.S.

Donnabel has just been accepted at Central Philippine University (CPU), one of Iloilo’s better colleges. She’ll start classes in June. Lenie is starting classes as a sophomore (second year) at Tigbauan National High School which is quite close to our house.  More on our experiences with CPU HERE

We’ve found the Tigbauan National High School to be good, so no need to send Lenie to a private school.  Both girls come from difficult environments.  We’re hoping that they’ll be able to benefit from opportunities in front of them.   We’ll post more about our experiences as the school year gets under way.

Donnabel and Lenie happy for an outing to Iloilo City on their own

Wonderful Luce Library at Central Philippine University

Tigbauan National High School

Tigbauan National High School

Here’s something to think about.  Many foreigners married into Filipino families want to help with the education of family members, usually nieces and nephews.  We’d like to lift these kids out of what we may see as a bleak future, give them and education and send them on their way to a better future.  The better future we have extolled to our nieces includes a college degree, a good job, a good spouse and a good life for their children and so forth.

Our efforts have focused on teenage nieces.  These kids have grown up for more than a decade in a tough environment.  They have spent ten years or more in lousy public schools, in a home with loving parents, but little exposure to books or learning,  and surrounded by a culture where poverty, alcohol abuse, drugs, teen pregnancy,violence and prostitution are everyday affairs.

The kids may go along with our efforts because their parents desperately want a better life for their children and the kids have a chance to have more to eat and a better cellphone.  However, they are poorly equipped to enter the world of educational achievement and personal advancement after thirteen or fourteen years in poor schools and life in squatter  settlement.  The “better life” we offer them can seem to them as boring, alien, incomprehensible, unachievable, and ultimately not a life they are equipped for or comfortable with.

We brought one niece to live with us.  She was thirteen when she came.  She was a fairly good student, but after two years and many problems she decided to return home.  She wanted to finish her schooling there.  However, in a few months she was pregnant by and moved in with her old boyfriend.  She might not have as much to eat as she had with us (she gained quite a bit of weight!) but she was back in an environment she felt at home in.

Now we have two more nieces living with us.  We want to help them, to give them a better life but we are not sanguine.

As noted above, we have enrolled one niece in a good university.  She passed the entrance exam but I fear that it’s going to be a near-impossible task for her to succeed with the educational background, skills, habits and attitudes she has.  I hope she proves me wrong!

Our advice is to not to try to impose your goals on Philippine family members.  You may be fortunate to have a family member who really wants such help.  Help them but don’t force help on those who really don’t want it.

 

 

Comments (9) Write a comment

  1. God bless! May your kindness to the girls will bring you a thousand fold of happiness.

    Reply

    • We try, but it’s a tough sell. The last niece who stayed with us for almost two years is now pregnant and living with her boyfriend. She’s 16.

      Reply

  2. When we departed Samar last week, I asked one of my nieces to do me a favor while I’m away – to just do good in school. This youngster (like many appreciative young Filipinos) will climb mountains just to accomplish what I asked of her. I wasn’t home for 24 hours when I received her text msg that she will never forget the favor I requested. Such pride!

    Reply

  3. A little over $500 per semester? That is really good, compared to the cost here in the USA. I hope they realize how blessed they are to have someone like you. I truly believe quality education is the best gift we can offer to others.

    Reply

  4. Hi, I have financed several young girls in college classes and found to be very satisfying, they seem appreciative and I feel is well worth giving a opportunity to someone who otherwise have no chance to go because of being poor. They are happy and do well in classes.

    Reply

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