From Tindera to Scholar: Jessica Lives the BNJ Dream
She has a very sunny disposition. From the moment you meet Jessica, you are instantly drawn to her pleasant personality coupled with an infectious humor and sweet smile. So it is such a surprise to find out that she was once ostracized by her fellow teenagers at BayaniJuan sa Southville 7. “Ayaw nila sa akin, ayaw nila kasi galing daw ako sa Maynila” ( They did not like me because I was from Manila ). Back in highschool, she would jump out of her step father’s tricycle while they were on their way to her school. “ Bigla na lang akong tatalon, magugulat na lang sya na wala na ako. Ayoko pumasok dahil walang gustong makipagkaibigan sa akin” (On our way to school, I would jump out of my step father’s tricycle and he would be surprised to find out that I was gone. No one wanted to be my friend”) . Fast forward to September 2014, Jessica is now a popular scholar at Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Calauan and is a well love youth leader in BNJ. She leads a bible study group in her school and at the resettlement community.
It was during her stint as a tindera at the carinderia at Palengke ni Juan when Jessica saw the opportunity to have a better future. One afternoon while serving her regular customers, he asked Frank ( an employee on BNJ) if BNJ had a scholarship grant she can avail of. Fortunately there was ! Jessica did not waste time and pursued the scholarship . In a few months time, she was able to enroll at P.U.P as a student of Business Teacher Education.
Today, Jessica pays it forward by tutoring kids in BNJ. She is grateful for the opportunity BNJ gave her and has this advise for fellow teenagers. “Nasa kamay ninyo ang ikagaganda ng kinabukasan ninyo. Wag kayong mahihiya magtanong kung may mga opportunity na pwede ninyong ma avail. Wag ninyong hayaang hadlangan ng kahirapan ang magandang kinabukasan." (Your future depends on you. Do not be afraid to ask for opportunities you may avail of. Do not let poverty prevent you having a bright future.) Jessica is a proof that with the right attitude and mindset, dreams can come true.
Jessica with Nanay Janet Fajilan