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“Thank you so much for investing in my future!”

These were the words of our Back-to-School (BTS) scholar Romar Barredo, who graduated from college in 2017 with a Bachelor of Commerce.

We met Romar during Operation Blessing’s disaster response efforts for Typhoon Yolanda survivors in Leyte. He was one among the young people from our local church partner helping us help the affected families.

At that time, Romar was supposed to enter college but had to stop due to financial constraint, his mother’s medical condition and to give way for his siblings’ high school education.

But his determination drove Romar to not stop trying, even after two years of being out-of-school.

Romar decided to be a working student of St. Paul School of Business and Law, working as a school guard and janitor during his vacant times. In exchange for his services, he gets a tuition fee discount and he receives 500 pesos a month, which is only enough for a week’s worth of his siblings’ school needs and his transportation allowance.

“I am determined to get high grades but I lack financial support. I don’t have anyone to support me and I can’t even afford to buy materials for my school projects,” Romar Barredo sadly stated in his letter to Operation Blessing.

Sometimes he borrows money from his neighbors just to get to school on time when it is necessary.

Seeing his determination and faith to follow his dreams, Romar was recommended for the BTS Program and was eventually enlisted as a scholar.

“The scholarship was really what kept me in school when I had exhausted all my own funds,” he shared.

“Thankfully it came at the right moment. This helped me to focus more on the most important aspect of school: learning. I appreciate your confidence in me and willingness to contribute to my education,” he shared.

Romar is the eldest of six siblings. His mother earns very little, selling vegetables while his stepfather earns 300 pesos a day, which is never enough to compensate for their family of eight.

Today, he is currently working as an office staff at Saint Paul of Professional Studies in Palo, Leyte and he is now helping his parents pay their house bills and send his younger siblings to school. He also has plans of putting up his own business in the future.