“Nothing is impossible as long as you have dignity, capacity, willingness, and determination in attaining your goals in life,” this was the introductory message of the valedictory address of Rejean “Jeje” Dumdum of Purok 7A, Barangay Camayahan, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte.

Being the eldest among her two other siblings, Rejean is challenged to do well in school so her brothers will do good in their own studies as well. As the eldest sister, she sometimes take full responsibility in taking good care of her brothers during Saturdays and Sundays while their parents are looking for food and other means for survival.

‘I don’t have a choice but to look for my brothers every Saturdays and Sundays. While I am doing some of the household chores like washing the dishes, washing some of our clothes, cleaning the house and cooking, studying always comes the second. This has been the scenario. But, these things are not an issue to me; rather, I considered it as a challenge to study hard and to always keep my marks up. I am not doing it for myself, because all of these are for my parents. I love them best,” Rejean shared.

Jeje’s mother is a housewife. Other than this, she also accepts “labada” (laundry) from their neighbors and to the parents’ of Rejean’s classmates’. At the same time, her father is a multi-cab driver whose daily income ranges from 150 to 250 a day (this excludes the daily multi-cab rental amounting to 400.00php).

“I only have my family. Nothing more. Even during my elementary years, I always believe that doing well in school could be a window for us towards the brighter future. That is why, I was so happy when our family was chosen as one of the program recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Because of it, I am assured that my parents could now afford to pay our school fees because of the cash grants that we will be receiving from the program; taking into consideration that my parents will actively comply to its conditionalities,” Rejean exclaimed.

Other than being active in all school related activities, Jeje is also full of zip in all church affairs. Gifted with a singing talent, she was elected to chair their choir group and lead them to practices in preparation for the daily masses and other big events that their quasi-parish is tasked to sponsor.

“It was my father who told me to dedicate myself being active in all church activities. He wanted me to use my extra time serving the Lord and his people through singing. To him, seeing me performing for Him and for the people is his happiness. And I don’t see anything wrong doing it, because doing it helps me boosts the leadership spirit in me,” Rejean said.

Because of her invaluable time dedicated for the church, Rejean was chosen as a recipient of the Compassion International Scholarship Program sponsored by The Wages Family from the United States of America (USA). This church allied scholarship program is only given to aspiring students who are actively participating in activities hosted by the church, has been doing exemplary performance in school, and indigent. Considering her family status, Rejean’s determination and perseverance made her chosen by the panel of selecting body for the Program. But this program cannot be considered as a major means of support for her education because like other scholarship program, this one only give 500.00php every quarter for elementary students, 750.00php for High School and 1000.00php for college students every semester.

“Hopefully, after years of studying in college, I want to see myself become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I also wanted to buy my father his own multi-cab so he could stop renting a cab from our neighbors. For my mother, I want her to stop accepting “labada” from her friends. Soon, I will buy her stocks for her sari-sari store. This has been her simple request to me. And of course, during these days, I want to sponsor the studies of my siblings so both my parents could find precious time together again. Because I saw them doing things for us. So at that time, I will make sure that I could find time doing memorable things for them. This will be one of my simple gifts for them,” Jeje happily relayed.

Aspiring Rejean graduated as class Valedictorian under the Revised Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC). She topped other 190 RBEC graduating students garnering a total grade average of 95.036%. Rejean is just one of the 22,901 (First Period CVS Masterlist) High School Pantawid Pamilya child graduates of 2015 in Caraga Region while at the same time among the 300,000 plus Pantawid child graduate nationwide.

As a program dedicated to help those who are in need, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged, the Listahanan also termed as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) is currently doing a validation for the next batch of potential household to become new sets of recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. In Region Caraga, the Field Office targets to contribute a total of 494, 372 household for this year’s family assessment #KayaKoangPagbabago (###DSWDFOCaraga###).

A story of Rejean Dumdum, Pantawid Pamilya Valedictorian Child-Graduate of 2015 from Butuan City, Agusan del Norte