For her, school is fun. But there are times when she just cannot go there.
Karen Grace Palma, now 11 years old and a grade five pupil of Guihaman-Buntatala Elementary School in Leganes, Iloilo, says that she wants to be in school all the time because she learns so many things and enjoys the company of her friends and classmates.
But years back, there were times when she had to be absent no matter how she wanted to study. Her parents left her younger siblings for her to attend to.
“I had to be home to look after my other siblings,” Karen said.
Aside from this, when she was in school back then, she had to contend with her worn out slippers, an empty stomach and old uniforms.
This scenario has been changed with Karen’s inclusion under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
These days, Karen is seen walking, together with her siblings, and bearing the slippery rice field and two bridges and highway to reach school.
But unlike before, Karen is now always present in school, has a new school uniform and school supplies, and now wearing her black shoes.
“Now, I already have more than 85 percent attendance in school,” she said.
To avail of cash grants, beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya should comply with the program conditions. Among which is an 85 percent attendance in class.
Palma said when her mother received the first pay-out three years ago, three of them who are included in the program got their new school uniforms, shoes and bags.
“I am very happy with the program. Apart from grooming, good health, I am also improving in all my academic subjects,” she added.
Palma has been very active in both in-school and extra-curricular activities. In fact, she got the first place in poster making contest during the Kaya Ko! ang Pagbabago Writeshop on December 15-16, 2014.