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Merriam’s Story – In Her Own Words

My name is Merriam and I am 12 years old. I live in Malhub, Dalaguete, Cebu. My parents are Marciana and Mario. I am the third of six children in the family. My parents are farmers.  

We never had any privilege. Never had enough money to buy even the things that we need. Both my mother and father have always worked so hard to earn money to buy food while my brothers and sisters are studying.  In the event that there is no food, we will not attend school, and I will be away from class to take care of my younger siblings because my older siblings are helping our parents on the farm. While our parents are in the farm with our older brother helping them, our older sister would do the laundry and I am in-charge of our younger siblings. This, I think, is the reason why I would always get reprimanded by my teacher for having a hard time reading, speaking in class, and doing math, especially when I was in Grade 3. Because I am often absent from class. I had no choice, I had to help my mother and father by taking care of our younger siblings while they were making a living for us. I had to do my part. 

I have witnessed violence at an early age. My parents would always fight because of lack of money for food. I have always feared my father because he has been hurting us all especially when he is intoxicated. He used to beat my mother so hard which led him to be in prison twice for the same reason, violence. I experienced and witnessed violence everyday, and I hate it. Thank God, now after being out of the prison for the second time, my father changed for the better.  

When we thought that we could finally start our lives back up, Typhoon Odette happened. We lost our home. We stayed at our neighbor’s house for quite some time. We are lucky that we still have a portion of our parents’ farm goods. It helped my parents to finance and buy wood to build a little house to shelter us and not be a burden to our neighbor.  

These struggles and our poverty led me to this decision. To enter and study at the Sisters of Mary School. I have heard from two of my classmates about this school and so, with my parents’ consent, I took the exam, passed the interview and I made it here. I took courage because I want to finish my studies and achieve my goals someday. Passing the exam was totally out of my expectation. That’s why I am very grateful that I made it here. Now, I get to eat healthy foods and study well. We just had our confession the other day, it was a wonderful experience.  I love how we are receiving gifts such as pairs of shoes and eating sweets here, like ice cream and cake. My doormates and everyone here are so kind and that is why I love it here far from everyday worries. No violence, just peace of mind and total focus on studies. My teachers are also very patient and inspiring. I get to understand and learn alot from them. Everyone here is just so warm which makes me so thankful to God. 

With this big help of the school in shaping me, I am positive that I can be a nurse someday. I want to be able to help my family and other people. I want to help in aiding their illnesses, especially those that are less privileged. That is my dream. 

Learn more about the children

The children at our schools come from the poorest of the poor. Each child has their own stories of what their life was before coming to our schools and how their lives are being transformed by the Sisters of Mary programs.  Read the moving stories of our children in their own words. 

Meet Our Graduates

There are 160,000+  graduates from the Sisters of Mary Schools. Many of our graduates went on to live prosperous lives, helping their families and local communities. Read the inspiring stories of our graduates in their own words. 

Life At Our Villages

Learn more about how we help children break free from a life of poverty.