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By Jo Ann Ancheta-Lim

Is poverty a state of mind where a person is drowning, imprisoned, or trapped by the immediate struggle to survive for today, the next day, and the next day after that? A person living in poverty may think, "Where is my next meal coming from and will I have shelter for peaceful rest tonight?" For many in the Philippines, it is a perpetual and exhausting struggle with little hope for change in sight. One can easily fall into self-pity, feeling victimized, or even worse, feeling frozen or numbed by one’s circumstances. It is as if time stands still, living only to exist in the present.

Pag-asa is the Tagalog word for hope. Hope comforts. Hope heals. Hope invigorates. Hope transforms. Hope liberates.

Education is a gift of hope and gives those living in poverty purpose and vision, optimism, and possibilities. It is a lifetime journey and through that journey, an individual discovers their strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and talents. This self-discovery from an education can motivate and uplift. They are no longer victims to the impoverished state that they may have been born into. Education teaches individuals to become self-reliant and provides them with the tools to make changes even when the odds are clearly against them. With hope, they can now see opportunities when they were previously blinded and weighed down by adversity and despair. Not only do they see opportunities, they seize opportunities, or better yet they create opportunities for themselves, planting the seeds for changes in their life.

Hope, however, is not something that a person can be freely given or freely accepted. Hope comes with a price. An individual needs to secure hope for themselves through self-discovery, perseverance, resilience, and courage.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” — Barack Obama

Thank you for supporting the Hesser Foundation as we work together to spread hope through education and literacy to children living in poverty. We, through your donations have been paying for children's education and supplies since 2015.

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