“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do”-Pope John XXIII

 Leomie Cabarrubias, is a 25 years old woman from barangay Tagubay, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur, she has been through a lot and in many times she failed but she never losses hope that one day she will reach her dream.

Leomie is the 4th child among the 9 siblings of Mr. and Mrs. Leonardo Cubarrubias. She loves to learn and she is a woman full of dreams and ambition. “When I was still in high school, I always wanted to be an Agriculturist because I am always fond of planting,” Leomie confessed.

 Her parents work in a farm which they leased. They planted it with Falcata tree, corn and root crops. Considering the number of members in their family, their parent’s income cannot suffice their daily expenditures. Leomie’s parents cannot afford to send them all to college. In fact, Leomie stopped going to high school for 4 years to help her parents in toiling the farm that made her finished high school at the age of 20.

“As much as I wanted to proceed to college but our situation was difficult,” shared Leomie with a sad voice.

 But Leomie’s hope never falter. After she graduated from high school in 2006, she ventured to Manila in order to work hoping that she can save money to continue her studies. Leomie landed a job as a house maid for 4 years but unfortunately, failed to save money because she sent her salary back home to support her family.

 Because of the meager income that she earned she quit from being a house maid and opted to work as a saleslady in one of the malls in Manila. After 5 months, not able to withstand the frantic schedule in the said city, she resigned and moved to Cavite. She worked with her relatives as a vegetable and fish vendor in the market.

 “Though I no longer have to spend money from my own pocket to pay for my board and lodging because I am staying in my relative’s house, still my income is not enough to save for college,” she admitted.

 Driven with so much eagerness and determination to help her family, Leomie applied as lady guard in Win Ace agency in Queszon City and was luckily accepted. Despite of all the hardships she had been through, still she’s instigated to reach her dream that is to continue her studies and become an Agriculturist someday.

 “If you believe in yourself and in your dreams, life will help you reach it,” Leomie pounded on this.

 One day, her mother rang her over the phone and told her about the SGP-PA (Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation) scholarship program for Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

 SGP-PA aims to contribute to the National Government’s thrusts in effectively addressing poverty alleviation by increasing number of graduates in higher education among poor households and to get these graduates employed in high-value added occupations in order to lift their families out of poverty and contribute to national development. Her family, being an active beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, she was chosen as one among 4,041 potential beneficiaries of the said program.

 Upon hearing the news, she immediately filed for resignation from her agency even when the city link explained to her that she still needs to undergo initial interview and examination. All she wants is to take the opportunity because it only knocks once. “I could not let this opportunity go without even trying, when my mother and the city link told me about it, I am already sure that I will pass the interview and the exam, I am already claiming the success,” she professed.

Leomie almost failed to reach the deadline for the registration and initial interview as one of the basic requirements to avail the program since she still needs to travel from Manila to Bayugan City. Her mother needed to borrow money from their neighbor so that she can pay the ticket for her flight back home.

Leomie has good scholastic records, and so she was recommended to take the entrance examination in which she passed together with the interview. No words can explain the feeling she felt that time.

 Leomie’s family was so elated and was proud of her. Her family is currently an active member of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Being a scholar of SGP-PA, her parents are very much thankful because they will no longer worry for her daily expenses and allowance while she is in school. Loume’s parents and siblings have always been supportive with her. They always call her and extend their motivation and encouragement, the things they can only afford to give.

 She also shared that there were times during her first year in college when the first semester allowance got delayed, and she has nothing left in her pocket. She tried to find other means to sustain her immediate needs without asking assistance from her family. “In order to feed myself I accepted laundry job from my instructors/professors and board mates, I was never ashamed of it because what I did was something decent, I did not steal from anybody just to have money,” said Leomie.

 Some of the people dream of success while others wake up and work hard in it. In the case of Loume, she did it both. Leomie believes that what James Willam said, one of the most influential philosophers, “Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out from you”.

 Leomie is now currently a 3rd year full load student in the University of South Eastern Philippines (USEP) in Tagum City, Compostela Valley Province as an Agriculture student major in crop science.

 Bearing a positive outlook in life, determination, perseverance and hard work, no doubt that she will definitely achieve what she dreams that is to gain a degree, uplift her family out of poverty and to render back service to the government……. the bridge to her success. ### (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD FO Caraga)

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