With more than one quarter of the Filipino population living below the poverty line since 2014, a large number of children living in rough conditions is a shocking inevitability.
In the capital city, Manila, families have even been forced to live on the streets while they pay for their children to go to school. A good education isn’t even a guaranteed passport to a better life but it didn’t stop one girl from trying to complete her homework in the rain.
This is the touching moment eight-year-old Elaine Dolfo was filmed as she struggled to complete her homework, as she pulled a coat over her head to shelter herself from the rain.
Elaine was seen outside an apartment block in Manila last week, Friday morning (July 6) at 7am. Elaine’s mother Ellen, 40, and younger sister Alexandra, four, were sleeping next to the boiler room building after being made homeless recently when husband and father, Jerry, aged 42, became sick.
In spite of Elaine’s tough circumstances, she still had the resolve to finish her school work – she even remained resolute during the monsoon season storm.
The harsh weather conditions meant strong winds kept blowing the pages from her book, while rain left her soaking wet – but it did not put Elaine off as she huddled closer over her pages while writing with her pencil. She also pulled a coat over her head to stop the water from damaging her schoolbook.
She told passer-by, Rolando Villanueva, she wants to be top of her class and get a good job to help her family.
Elaine, who is a Grade Three second honour student, enrolled at Aurora Quezon Elementary School in Manila, said:
I want to finish my homework and do well at school. Then I can have a good job and take care of myself and my family. I need to finish the work for the teacher.
Her father works as a tricycle taxi driver but he was taken ill and been unable to work. The landlord kicked the family out of their home a few days before the video was made, as they could not pay the rent.
Rolando said Elaine serves as an inspiration to remind people about the importance of taking their education seriously and not neglecting it.
This is something that I will show my children so they remember how important it is to take school seriously. Everyone should remember how fortunate they are to have a good education.
Little Elaine will succeed in life. I am sure. She is so determined and very bright. She has lost her home and has nowhere comfortable but she still made it a priority to do her homework. It is very inspirational.
According to national statistics, of the children ages 3 to 24, who attended school from 2010 to 2011, only 4 per cent of those under the poverty line went on to further education (i.e. college and university). The two main reasons for not attending school were ‘lack of personal interest’ at 28.9 per cent and ‘high cost of education’ at 26.8 per cent.
As of 2016, there were a total of 101.57 million Filipinos. Over a quarter of the population (25.2 per cent) live below the national poverty line.
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