Student with Sister at Transforming Education Summit, Manila
Joel and Sr Chelo at the Transforming Education Summit, Manila

Early life

“I am Joel, newly graduated from the Sisters of Mary School Boystown, Minglanilla, Cebu, Philippines. I am the eldest son in the family. Through my father’s hard work and dedication, he is able to support us even if the income he gets is just enough to sustain our basic needs. He is a fisherman in our town and is doing his best to help my youngest sister in her studies. My mother is also doing her best to help and inspire us in continuing our dreams no matter what our status in life. She is currently a housewife and sometimes she is doing some extra work to earn additional income.

I am raised from a poor family. The income of my parents is just enough to provide us with the basic needs in life. I haven’t experienced having a cake on my birthdays. I haven’t experienced getting Christmas gifts from my parents. All of my relatives are as poor as us. I witnessed a lot of my friends getting dropped out of school because of vices and poverty. I witnessed a lot of dreams being destroyed because of the cruelty of poverty. I thought that I would never get out of that misery.”

stuents standing in a row on stage at summit
Joel and other student participants - Transforming Education Summit 2022

Life at school

“For five years of staying here inside the school, I truly discovered the talents and capabilities that I thought I didn’t possess. I served as a class mayor of our section from grade 7 until 9. I also served as a commander of the CAT officers for almost four years. I became a photojournalist for one year. Until I became the president of the whole student body of the school. I am also privileged to attend the Stakeholders’ Convergence: UN Transforming Education Summit 2022 held at Pasay City

The Sisters and teachers provided us shelter, clothes, and inspiration to make us continue what we have started. We were given the opportunity to show our talents and capabilities. They have guided us to discover our full potential. They made us who we are right now.

One thing is for sure, this is not the end of my journey. I need to achieve more for the sake of those who helped me and sacrificed for me. The road may not be friendly, but I know that I can achieve my dreams in life through the help of the people around me and my gratitude.”