I'd like to introduce you to Francis Nicole Maga, BA Behavioral Sciences freshman, graduated valedictorian from Upper Bicutan National High School. She chose to study BA Behavioral Sciences because of her genuine interest of helping people. Nicole is the eldest of five children of struggling parents, the father is suffering from an ailment that prevents him from working regularly, the mom subsists by working as part-time helper. Both of her parents are from Samar, and both did not finish college. Nicole was featured in Rappler and GMA as the student who used to scavenge on the streets but now is entering University of the Philippines (UP). Her story is a story that would inspire any student who had to work the odds against their favor. While it is a victory for her to enter the premier University, she has to struggle just to meet her daily needs as a student. To augment family income, she works as part-time writer (a meager fee of Php 100.00 per article written) and as tutor during her free time. She plans to work as student assistant, but University policy of prohibiting freshman students from working as student assistant currently prevents her from working. At times, she has to skip lunch, most of the time she comes to school without having taken breakfast that one afternoon she fainted because she has not taken meals the whole day. In one class, she has to be absent because she has no money for her transportation to-from school. She could've chosen to study in PUP-Taguig since it is just walking distance from where they live, but of course, UP is UP. Most often, she has to stay late in school so she could study better, because back home, they live in a very small cramped apartment in an urban poor community where it's difficult for her to focus and concentrate on her homeworks since her siblings are still young and rowdy.
But despite and in spite of the odds, Nicole retains her happy and positive disposition in life. She is what every mom or every teacher would dream of as a daughter and as a student. She's respectful, diligent, responsible, talented, witty, sweet and thoughtful. Barely months of staying in UP, she has the making of a UP student: critical minded, socially aware, with passion for lifelong learning, and the heart to help in whatever way she can (most of the time, it is her earnings from her part-time jobs that supplement their family).
I am thus appealing to your kind-heartedness and compassion to help Nicole reach her dreams. Any form of help would be much appreciated. Her mom can work as laundry woman or as house cleaner, if you know anyone who needs such service. You may want to sponsor her transportation allowance (Php 70.00/day), her meal allowance (Php 90.00/day), her books, or her field trips and community immersion activities. The Department of Behavioral Sciences (DBS) is also looking for sponsor for the dormitory of our poor but deserving students, including Nicole, so she will have a conducive environment to focus on her studies. She is currently in STFAP Bracket D so she still has to pay around Php 9,000.00 of her tuition fees every semester. She also appealed for reconsideration of her bracket assignment in UP.
The amount gathered on this fund raising would be of help to her to complete her degree in Behavioral sciences. Let us help to reach her dreams and obtain the diploma to a good life. May you be blest beyond measure for your generosity and compassion. –Andrea B. Martinez, M.A., Professor, University of the Philippines Manila