Josephine still remembers the difficult decision her family made when she was a child. Money was tight for school fees, forcing her parents to choose which of the couple's 10 children would receive an education.
"My other siblings really wanted to go to school. But we were poor. As they grew older, they set out to work, forgoing their education to help support our family," says Josephine, recalling what it was like to grow up in Bulacan, in the Philippines.
But worse than being unable to go to school was not having enough food.
"There was a time where we had no food. Nothing to eat at all. It was very hard," says Josephine with misty eyes.
The gift of education
When Josephine was seven, she heard about a sponsorship program to help children in her community. It was the opportunity the little girl had longed for.
“I begged my mother to be part of World Vision’s sponsorship program because I wanted to go to school. I wanted a decent life,” Josephine remembers. Her mother agreed and enrolled her in the program. Not long after, she was sponsored by a retired teacher from Australia.
Suddenly, Josephine was surrounded by other kids just like her. Together, they participated in activities like Sunday School and community birthday parties.
Young Josephine back when she became a World Vision’s sponsored child
Then and Now
Josephine always wanted to work in an office. After she graduated from school, she went door to door inquiring about job opportunities. Her persistence paid off; she was offered a position in a local business.
Today she is a Senior Associate for the National Power Corporation, in Quezon City, in the Philippines.
The more Josephine thrived in life, the more she remembered the help she received as a child. She saved her earnings to make sure that one of her younger siblings received the same educational opportunities that she had.
"I felt responsible for my family. I needed to help them, so I assured my youngest sister that I was going to pay for her education."
Lessons from mother to sons
Now, with a stable and happy life, Josephine’s sons – John Bryan, 20, and Jose Luis, 10 – have learned from their mother the value of education.
“We’re more privileged,” admits John Bryan, who’s currently studying to become an architect. “We don’t have to do what [my parents] did just to get an education and learn. We have better lives.”
Josephine and her family. Her sons John Bryan and Jose Luis and husband Roberto.
Paying it forward
Thanks to the kindness of a World Vision sponsor, Josephine had her life transformed and has decided to give back to provide the same opportunities to other children. Two years ago, she began sponsoring two kids in the Philippines.
"I want to share my blessings and spread the word that there are still a lot of people who need a good education," she shares.
Josephine decided to share her blessings by sponsoring two kids: 12-year-old Edsel and 7-year-old Juliana