On the shore where scrap-built houses on stilts rise precariously out of the waves of the sea fourteen feet below, Badjao children play, work, study, and sometimes dream. Few of their dreams, however, float very far. But with some help, encouragement, and guidance, a child’s dream can find its way to realization.
Finishing high school was one of Carmel’s dreams. In a recent gathering of Badjao Bridge’s sponsored youth, Carmel, a child dreamer, shared how she was beginning to see the promise of her big dream. She had applied herself to her studies on a Badjao Bridge scholarship and was able to realize that first dream: completing high school! Yes, it had been tough living in squalor with her siblings and struggling single mother. But despite a very difficult and dysfunctional family background and impoverished economic circumstances, she made it! That was an achievement worth celebrating. What’s more, the fulfillment of this dream, birthed the possibility of another.
When Carmel discovered that Badjao Bridge was providing local college scholarships to a few outstanding students in the community, she went for it. Now enrolled as a sophomore in college, Carmel is working toward her baccalaureate degree in accounting. Not only is she excelling in her studies, but her enthusiastic application to studying has earned her a place on the dean’s list!
In a community where more than 90% of the adults are illiterate, that is indeed an achievement to celebrate!
For practical application of the skills she is learning, Carmel is helping Weng, Badjao Bridge’s Program Director, with the organization’s bookkeeping. She also helps in tutoring younger children so that they, too, can float a dream and see it become reality.
A dream realized for one Badjao child has a ripple effect of encouragement for other students whose dreams are few. Since she comes from the same community, they can resonate with Carmel’s story as an overcomer and pursuer of dreams. As she gratefully and tearfully tells her powerful story of how she never thought it would be possible to attain her dream to become an accountant, she, and others, get a glimpse of possibilities and dream their own dreams despite the obstacles that often seem insurmountable.