Monday, December 15, 2008

Teaching volunteer plays Santa to 10-year old girl

Australian Rebecca “Bec” Snell (Teaching, January 2008) wrote in her farewell message to CERV that her volunteering experiences in the Philippines were “very satisfying” and “will stay with her forever.” (Bec volunteered with her good friend Adam Miller.)

She remains true to her word.

Earlier this month, Bec informed CERV she wants to sponsor a Filipino child’s education. “I really want to give something back to your country because it has taught me so much,” she wrote.

CERV then looked and asked around both in Metro Manila and Romblon for a suitable candidate (someone who is not related to any staff to avert conflict of interest). We settled on Beth Marinelle “Bechay” P. Pacaldo.

Bechay is a 10-year old, Grade 4 student of Camarin Elementary, a public school in Caloocan City-North. She is one of five kids of parents Dante and Elizabeth. Dante is a jeepney driver and Elizabeth is an urban poor women organizer. The Pacaldos live in Barangay Camarin, an urban poor community 20 kilometers north from downtown Manila.

According to those who know her, Bechay is very focused on her studies. Her grade point average is 80 percent in all subjects. She also conscientiously helps out with household chores and is an obedient kid.

When presented to her prospective benefactor, Bechay was immediately approved By Bec. Bec promised to send assistance semi-annually—in May, when Bechay would be enrolling, and in December. She also said that she wants to start sending assistance to her scholar this Christmas time.

A 10-year old Filipino girl’s Christmas suddenly became very merry.

(Accompanying photos: 1. Bechay (right) hamming it up with mom Elizabeth; and 2. Bec Snell with friend and fellow volunteer Adam Miller.)

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