It is never too late to study again, as proven by Chelia Suello, a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) mom from Getafe, Bohol.
“Ganahan ko makahuman og eskwela aron makatabang sa pamilya og panaminan sa akong mga anak nga bisan sa kalisod sa panahon ug trabaho, akong ipakita nga kaya nako ug pinaagi ani makabatun ko og respeto gikan sa uban (I would like to finish my studies so I can help my family and to show to my children that in spite of the challenging times I can succeed I can earn respect from others).”
A mother of four children, Chelia, 42, just finished senior high school or grade 12 at Tulang National High School in her town and now aims to enroll in college to earn a degree in midwifery.
The 4Ps, implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), is the Philippine’s national poverty reduction strategy and flagship safety net program, which was institutionalized through Republic Act No. 11310. It aims to invest in the health and education of children from poor households, and currently provides support to over four million households in the country.
Learning to dream again through 4Ps
“Tungod sa programa, nagpadayon akong nangandoy kay akong nakat-onan ang importansya sa edukasyon og paghuman sa eskwela ug nanghinaot ako na ang among pamilya molambo dili lamang sa panimalay kundi sa kaalam usab” (Because of the program, I continued to dream as I realized the importance of education and of finishing it. I hope our home will not just improve but will also grow in wisdom), she said.
Chelia did not continue her studies after she graduated from high school due to financial challenges and the need to work to help her family. But during the pandemic education shifted to online classes, thus, she took this as an opportunity to continue her studies.
“Nipadayon ko og skwela pagniadto nagsugod ang pandemya kay tungod pwede man kini mabuhat sa balay kay adunay choice nga modular ang pagkat-on” (I continued my studies when the pandemic started because I could study at home since it is modular), she said.
Instead of enrolling right away in college since she had already graduated from high school before, she decided to follow the K-12 and took the senior high school’s General Academic Strand (GAS) to refresh her mind on the lessons in classes.
Chelia wants to take up midwifery someday to help more people in her community, which she sees as a place for her to perform her duties once she gets the degree.
Community health advocate
Chelia is active in her community as a barangay health worker (BHW) and a health advocate.
Dedicated to her work, she realized that being an advocate for health gives her satisfaction and fulfillment, and that through service, she could touch more lives of different ages. She wanted people to pay attention to their health by visiting the health center, especially pregnant women and mothers. This is why she plans on becoming a midwife.
“Akong dakong adbokasiya nga mopadayon og serbisyo sa katawhan bisan walay bugti o kapalit, gusto nakong makatabang ilabi na kabahin sa panglawas, kahimsog ug mga katungod ilabi na sa mga bata og kababayen-an (I believe it is my greatest advocacy to continue my service to the people even without gaining anything in return. I want to help, especially in health, nutrition, and women’s rights),” said Chelia.
Chelia has also been active in different organizations in their barangay, such as the Women’s Organization, Salog Farmer’s Organization (SAFARO), and Malungtarong Mag-uuma sa Salog (MAMSA).
The ReyNanay (Queen Mother) of the Suello Family
At home, Chelia’s main source of income is farming and raising livestock together with her husband, Magno Jr., who is a bamboo worker.
Chelia shared that prior to their inclusion in the program, the family experienced difficulties in their lives, especially in finances, because their source of income was not enough to sustain their daily needs.
“Sukad nga ako namembro sa 4Ps, adunay dakong kalambuan sa among panginabuhi og labi na kay usa ko na nahimong parent leader” (Since I became a 4Ps beneficiary, there has been an improvement in my life, especially that I have become a parent leader), Chelia said, adding that the 4Ps Family Development Session (FDS) led her to become more knowledgeable about improving her family’s life. FDS is the monthly gathering of 4Ps beneficiaries where they discuss and learn relevant knowledge and information that could help them improve the quality of their life.
As a parent leader, Chelia shared that she is delighted to help and touch the lives of other people, especially her fellow beneficiaries in the program, and consider this as her way of giving back.
In 2021, Typhoon Odette totally damaged their home. Despite this, Chelia and her family managed to rebuild their home with hope that soon, things will be better and that they will achieve their dream of a stable life.
As she continues her journey in life along with her family, Chelia always believes and embodies her motto: “Walay imposible kong imong kayanon (Nothing is impossible if you work for it).” ###