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    Posted January 28, 2013 by
    Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Girls + Education: Your message

    More from Niena

    "She's a Tailor"


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     iReporter Niena says education for her came not just through studies but through the example of her beloved mother [on the left in the first image], who through sheer determination and persistence managed to put herself through a vocational course in tailoring in her home town in the Philippines. "She had exerted all her efforts to provide our needs and I've learned that from her, now that I am a mother too," she says. "I have continued my education through seminars and trainings, through everyday encounters at work." The legacy her mother left was one of determination to access education, one she has passed down to her children despite living many miles from them in Saudi Arabia. "I am far from my children as I am working abroad, however, I always remind them that there's a reason why I am miles away from them and it is to provide them with the education according to their ambition in life," she added.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    So I've been told many times that my mother never had the chance to go to high school nor college. My grandfather could not afford to send her to school. In order to make ends meet, she and her siblings had to help my grandfather tend the farm. Despite the situation that she had to walk through a very rocky road, it wasn't a very big deal for her. All that she wanted was to pursue on  her dreams. According to my mother, she  had to plead for my grandfather's approval to let her go to the city so she could work and study later. At the age of 13, she worked at a gasoline station in our town, 30 minutes away from the farm.  She had worked as a housekeeper and as a cook as well. To make the story short, she never finished high school or college either. But, because of her determination, she had taken a vocational course in "Tailoring". She was able to get a better job in Manila at a tailoring shop. After meeting my father in the early 70's, they left Manila and opened a shop at our hometown after they got married and before I was born.
    My mother always told me that having to graduate elementary was a very big thing for her. The only hindrance that she had encountered was poverty.
    Knowing my mother's story makes me believe that education is not about holding a master's degree or college degree. It is about how you make your dreams come regardless of what kind of education you have attained.
    Photo #1 - My mom and her cousin - Elementary Graduation
    Photo # 2 - Back of Photo #1 - The caption she wrote after she got married to my father.
    Photo #3 - Work at the gasoline station
    Photo #4 - Our shop "Shanghai Tailoring" in the 90's

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