LOOK: Homeless girl now college graduate
For most of us, we take our schooling for granted. We'd complain of extra homework and rejoice at rainy day suspensions. It's easy to forget the value of education when we were never the ones who worried about the consequences of not finishing school. It's an entirely different perspective for Rodallie S. Mosende. She has been homeless since birth. She has lived in the streets of Quiapo, Manila for her entire life.
She lived as a child beggar in the streets of Quiapo, specifically in Paterno Street. A tough young gal, she grabbed food from strangers out of hunger. She hustled with street vendors who peddled meat and vegetables, promising to repay them when she got older, more so when her mother got sick. For anyone making ends (barely) meet, everyday presented a constant challenge for survival. Hunger is real, and it drives people to do things. Most of us perceive that this drive gets subverted into willful disregard and a life of crime. While this couldn't be more wrong, Mosende chose to channel this drive into getting and finishing an education. Everything changed when she met Rick Rocamora back in 2011.
Rocamora was documenting the homeless in Quiapo. When he met her, he was struck by her drive to finish school. He shared her story through his photographs of her. She was lucky, because an anonymous benefactor witnessed this and promised to support her college education, giving her monthly stipends. Other people, with the help of social media, extended help in what little or much as they can.
This never meant that all things were rosy when she stepped into the foray. Up until she was second year, she worked as a street sweeper to augment her finances for spending on food and transportation.
Her day of reckoning came, thankfully, last April 23. She joins the list of students in Lyceum University, where she studied, who are graduating. The course she took is a degree in International Hospitality Management, specializing in cruise line operation in hotel services. Looking back, she would have thought it impossible coming from such a grim prospect. She jokes in the eve of her graduation that it might be a dream.
"Kahapon po kinakabahan ako. Kagabi po hindi ako makatulog," Mosende said in a video shared by Rick Rocamora, "Baka panaginip lang po 'to kasi!"
A thankful Mosende said: "Nagpapasalamat po ako sa inyo't binigyan niyo po ako ng pagkakataong mag-aral... Sana po someday, makabawi naman po ako."