Written by: Christine Baldesco (UP DevComm Intern)
A family of 16 is never easy!
Kristine Jane Bacalso is the seventh of 14 siblings. The eldest is just 23 years old and the 14th died when he was only 11 months old.
Four of them are already working and from time to time they give money to their parents. Six of them are still studying.
Her father is a sikad (bicycle taxi) driver and sometimes works as a carpenter. Her mother does laundry only when someone hires her and she is also involved in a “sinking fund”. This is a small scale money business transaction where one deposits money weekly and can get their money with interest at a scheduled withdrawal date.
Kristine said she sometimes joke around her parents telling them to stop making children because they are getting older. She remembers an incident when she woke up one morning she found her newborn sibling beside her. She said she did not hear any noise during the delivery of the baby. When asked about the deliveries, she said that only three of them were born in the hospital and the rest were born in their house, with only her father acting as a midwife.
With a family as big as theirs, money has always been a problem. The income of both parents is only enough to buy their food. Even then, there are times when they have to borrow money from their neighbors to buy food. In terms of their school requirements, they often hear “pasensya, way kwarta para ana (I’m sorry, we don’t have budget for that)” from their parents.
To lessen their expenses, they recycle materials so that they can submit projects in school.
Despite their poverty, Kristine has big dreams.
She said that she wants to be a flight attendant someday. Travelling the world has been her dream and she believes that being a flight attendant will help her achieve this dream. London is on top of her list because she wants to see the Royal Family, especially the princes and princesses.
Kristine named a few universities she wants to enroll in and one of them is Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU). One big reason she wants to go to ADMU is because of her idol, volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez. She has been watching Valdez’s games and has been inspired by the athlete.
Kristine said that she is willing to be a working student just so she can finish her studies. Currently, three of the children in their family are under the Rise Above Foundation’s educational sponsorship program. The help of the foundation has been essential to them especially for their school requirements. Kristine is very grateful for everything that Rise Above and Icare2, the sponsor organization, has helped her and her family with.
The increasing population is a major problem here in the Philippines. Many children do not get an education because their parents simply can not afford sending all of them to school. In this situation, the children are the ones suffering, and are left with no hope in getting a better life. But they still have their dreams.
If you want to make a difference for children like Kristine, you can check out our Sponsor Education page and read how.