“Because of poverty and my mother’s illness, my parents were unable to support my studies. As a result, I found myself helping my father in his work at a young age,” explains Dokyo Rugmay, reflecting on his desire to pursue education that could only be fulfilled until completing Grade 1.

Now, as a father himself, Dokyo works hard to support his family’s needs and send his children to school. His goal is to see them fulfill their dreams.

However, life in the mountainous community of Sitio Sinariri in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, poses obstacles. The main source of income for the community is kaingin farming and selling seasonal products.

To sustain his family, Dokyo cultivates cassava, sweet potatoes, and bananas. During the summer, he collects and sells sweet palm fruits to supplement their income.

Dokyo also raises a few chickens, which he sells to afford his children’s school supplies. Unfortunately, there are times when a lack of food and insufficient funds for educational materials prevent his children from attending school.

Dokyo’s children experience stunted growth, with his 8-year-old son, Jerick, being underweight and his daughter, Jesa, suffering from rashes on her hands.

Despite the challenges, Dokyo continues to strive for his family.

Dokyo’s hope was enlivened when OB’s Children’s Program went to their community to conduct the Bless-A-Child Project, a year-long initiative that aims not just to correct the malnutrition of children but also address other health issues and provide educational support.

Jerick and Jesa became beneficiaries of the project. They joined the feeding and quarterly check-ups with free vitamins and medicines, and they received school supplies.

“Thank you so much for helping our children. They were very happy during the feeding. Jerick and Jesa also started going to school more frequently,” says Dokyo.

A year later, Jerick, Jesa, and other children in Sinariri had improved health and grades in school.

Dokyo is very happy to see his children’s health improve. He also shared that Jerick started dreaming of being a teacher; “his teacher told us that Jerick was role-playing as a teacher to his classmates.”

Dokyo said he will support whatever his children want to be in the future. The dreams he was unable to have for himself, he will strive for his children to reach.