Lay organisation offers scholarships for prisoners’ children

Known as Binhi Ng Pag-Asa (Seed of Hope), the scholarship programme provides children of inmates with free education and enable them to pursue their dreams.

Philippines
Mar 19 2014, 3:49 PM
Lay organisation offers scholarships for prisoners’ children
Children learning in a classroom.

The Education Foundation (EFI), a group of laypeople helping Catholics strengthen their faith and improve their lives through education, is providing scholarships for children of prisoners.

Known as Binhi Ng Pag-Asa (Seed of Hope), the scholarship programme provides children of inmates with free education and enable them to pursue their dreams, EFI President Naomi David said in a recent interview.

“These children, if encouraged to finish school, can have a better life,” she said. Some of these young people are isolated, not only from either of their parents, but from society by the state.

The scholarship programme prioritizes the most unfortunate children of prisoners, who serve their sentence in the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City and the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City, David said.

The foundation imposes no tight rules on Binhi Ng Pag-Asa scholars in terms of grades, David said. Their scholars are simply asked to get passing grades.

“Only 4 years since the scholarship program was started, the EFI has already graduated 4,” she said.

According to David, one finished Education and passed the Professional Regulatory Commission’s Licensure Examination for Teachers and is working already. David recalled how this particular inmate child was eating potato chips only for lunch and dinner when she met her and how she valued so much and took extra care of a donated pair of leather shoes.

Another EFI graduate of a two-year course used to “live literally in a pigpen” when she worked in a piggery, David said. She started as a trainee in a network of restaurants, which eventually hired her as a regular employee. The manager of the outlet recommended her to the company’s scholarship for deserving employees. She is currently pursuing a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management under the company scholarship while her younger sibling is finishing school as an EFI scholar.

The foundation assists these children through charitable individuals and groups, both domestic and foreign, who support its advocacy, David said. A particular person or a group of individuals singlehandedly sponsors a child’s studies and not by a pooled fund raised together by different donors.

The scholarship program, not only aims to help the unfortunate children of inmates finish school and pursue their dream, but also to form them into better Catholics. “This is not only a scholarship,” David said. “Every month, they gather for formation, which includes catechism and how to be good persons.”

Source: CBCP News

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