Growing up in a Hanunuo Mangyan tribe, Menya Lanas never thought her future would be anything more than what she saw around her. But she was determined to change that.
From a young age, Menya, who lives in the mountainous area of Sinariri, saw the lack of educational opportunities in her community and the lack of interest in learning among her peers. She believed that education was the key to preserving her tribe’s history and culture, and she wanted to be the one to inspire and encourage others to learn. However, the resources and support for her education were limited, and it seemed that her dream would remain just that.
“My family struggles a lot financially. I had to work while studying. At the same time, because the cost of transportation in college is expensive, I had to sacrifice going home and rent a cheap dorm near the school,” Menya said.
The already tough situation got worse as Menya’s life took an unexpected turn. She became pregnant with her childhood friend in college, who later abandoned her.
“I was so depressed at that time. I just wanted to disappear, but God used my parents. They prayed for me and helped me recover,” she said.
On a medical mission in Oriental Mindoro, Operation Blessing (OB) met Menya’s father, Pastor Jamin Lanas. He shared with the team his desire to help their community as well as his daughter’s story.
Moved by her passion and dedication, OB reached out and offered to provide Menya with the necessary resources and support to pursue her education.
After years of hard work and determination, Menya finally graduated and returned to her community as a teacher. She was warmly welcomed by her tribe, and her students were eager to learn from her.
“I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone who assisted me. It was a huge help to me in finishing my studies and paying my school fees. Thank you so much and God bless you all.”
Menya is currently reviewing for her board exam while teaching in a school supported by Operation Blessing, Sinariri Highschool – Oriental Mindoro.
If you want to learn more about Operation Blessing’s efforts to help Sinariri Highschool and the Hanunuo Mangyan students, please go to www.operationblessing.ph. For partnership inquiries, contact 09399215543.