She is 19 years old and studies at our Girlstown in Talisay, Philippines.

Jessel has 9 siblings. Her father was able to support their family until he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and kidney problems. Since then, her mother has been working as a dishwasher. However, because her salary was not enough to reliably afford both food and medicine, Jessel and her older brothers had to start working. Jessel left school to sell vegetables in the market.

Although she is now two years behind in school, Jessel says that being enrolled in Girlstown is her greatest gift, aside from lessening her mother’s burden. She wants to become a flight attendant and says “I have no reason not to have a good start. I might be late, but I know it’s not too late to start my secondary education rightly.”

There are both direct and indirect costs of primary education for children and their families. The cost of school fees, uniforms, books, and supplies can place a burden on a family. Children’s time can also be considered a cost because if they are not in school, they can earn income or perform other activities to help their families. Even though the Sisters of Mary provide everything free of cost to our children’s families, some still struggle to meet basic needs without having the income a child used to earn before continuing school.

Please consider donating $20 to cover the cost of one child’s school uniform in Talisay.

Often, older children stay home to take care of their younger siblings so both their parents can work.