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Patrick's Story: A case for empowering vulnerable children through education

Patrick's story: A case for empowering vulnerable children through education Jhon Patrick P. Delmonte. The aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 was massively devastating in terms of lives lost and homes and livelihoods wiped out. The pain wrought by it 4 years later could still be seen in the eyes of a 15-year-old boy onstage who was about to receive 5 medals for his academic achievements in Grade 10.

Patrick came from a family fragmented by a marriage breakdown. The mother had to go to Manila to look for work to survive. There was no way any of the 5 children could continue their schooling under the circumstances. In the parentless household, the older ones looked after the younger siblings. Patrick, the 2nd oldest, lamented that those medals may just be in a corner in their modest hut and stay put there, just as its recipient would. Indeed, a terrible loss to abruptly halt the education of a gifted boy. In 2017, Patrick became the first of several children to join FPVI’s Learning & Development Program.

An academic achiever, Patrick’s perseverance, cheerful disposition, and willingness to help others as he was being helped himself made him an outstanding member of the FPVI family. He graduated from senior high with another 5 medals. Subsequently, he was admitted to the University of the Philippine (Tacloban) on a scholarship. The transition from small town to big city had its challenges but he handled them as best as he could. Then the pandemic happened and everything shut down and shifted to online learning. He persisted through the 2 years of virtual college, and FPVI was behind him all the way. In July 2023, Patrick graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biology, cum laude.

Patrick’s goal after graduation was to find work, any work. An application to a teaching post at the Cavite State University, followed by a panel interview online, yielded an offer to join the Faculty of College of Arts & Sciences starting in a week’s time. Patrick accepted the offer with the proviso that he be allowed to attend the 7th International Conference for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (ICFAS 7) in Iloilo City in October where he was to do a poster presentation of his thesis on mangroves. The University agreed and off he went to Cavite, accessed from Leyte via an hour-long plane ride to Manila and another 3-hour road journey. First job, first plane ride, first time to cross islands to live away from home. Many firsts that he managed with aplomb with the unwavering encouragement and support from FPVI. In mid-October, he went to Iloilo and his scientific poster presentation was recognized and his thesis picked up for publication by a UK publisher.

At FPVI, we are immensely proud of Patrick! His journey is just commencing and FPVI is happy to have been part of those who helped him get to where he is now.

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