My son abandoned Ahnea when she was born. My husband and I have been trying to care for her since. But before this beautiful [Compassion] programme began, I was so fearful of the future. Now my prayer has been answered.
My name is Lucia Valiente and I am 53 years old. I don’t know how long I can take care of [my granddaughter] Ahnea.
Lucia and her family live in Pagsangahan, an area so remote there is no telephone line and no postal service. Not a single resident in the community has ever finished college.
Ahnea grew up not knowing who her parents are. My husband and I are all she has and thinking about this pushes me to work hard for her. But I can feel the years of hard work on my back already. It hurts so much when I stand up after washing clothes.
What kind of people would we be if we didn’t take care of our own granddaughter? My husband and I lack many things in life, and so we work hard to provide for Ahnea, and two of our children who still live with us.
6-year-old Ahnea has an infectious smile despite the challenges she's faced.
Lucia is a laundrywoman and her husband is a fisherman. The family also cut grass for local landowners to try and earn a living.
[A year ago] I first learnt from a friend that Pagsangahan Baptist Church was recruiting children for a new [Compassion sponsorship] programme . I wasn’t sure what it was about, but when I was told that it is designed to help provide education and opportunities for my granddaughter, I couldn’t say no. How could I?
I didn’t think twice. I went to the church and asked if my granddaughter could join the programme.
This is a beautiful programme. I never thought something this helpful would arrive in our community and be offered by this church. I consider it a tremendous blessing that out of so many children in Pagsangahan, my granddaughter was chosen and that she was the first to have a sponsor.
I cannot [afford to] send her to school. Not many of us can send our children even to the nearby public elementary school. But because of Ahnea’s sponsor, and with the assistance of the Compassion project, Ahnea was enrolled in school for the first time.
Ahnea and Lucia with the project staff. "My greatest hope is that after 14 or 15 years, we will see the first college graduates from this place, and they will all be sponsored children of Compassion," explains project director Jestoni, far right.
This is all I can give her. I consider my having her registered into the Compassion Sponsorship Programme as the best gift I can give. Now someone can help her build her future. If anything happens to me, I am at peace, since now I know that my granddaughter will have a bright future.