Project Compassion helps a young mother in the Philippines finish her education

Ronita (22) smiles as she holds her sons, Egzy Grey (3) and Clark (5), in their small home in Quezon City, Philippines. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

This year for Project Compassion, Caritas Australia is telling the story of Ronita, a 22-year-old mother-of-two living in a slum in the Philippines. Her husband works seven days a week in waste disposal, from 3am to 9pm each day. It is exhausting, laborious work, made harder by the very hot climate. Despite this, Ronita and her husband are only able to rent a very small brick room measuring around 10 square metres.

Growing up, Ronita’s family faced many challenges. She grew up with her mum, who worked three jobs because Ronita’s father left their family. Ronita has two brothers who married young and never finished school. Ronita left school when she became pregnant as a teenager and was at risk of never re-entering the education system after having her first child at 17.

With the support of Caritas Australia’s learning and development centre partner in the Philippines, the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ), Ronita resumed her studies. She has since secured a job at a call centre, which required a Grade 12 Senior High School Diploma to apply.

“One day I hope I will be schoolteacher, just like Ma'am Jen and Ma'am Grace (her former teachers at FCJ),” Ronita said. “I feel hopeful for the future. Now it's not impossible for me to achieve my dream. Thank you for that.”