Jojin, 21, is about to graduate from Compassion’s program in the Philippines. She’s studying at a university to become a teacher, eager to be a source of hope to children and youths — just as the teachers at her Compassion center were for her. But her future didn’t always look so bright.
Born to a prostitute, Jojin was adopted as a baby by a caring woman named Carmelita, who promised her biological mother she would give her a good life. Carmelita toiled day and night as a peanut seller to provide for Jojin, hiding the fact that she had breast cancer. When Carmelita learned about the Compassion program at her church, where she was an avid volunteer, she enrolled Jojin.
“The church and the Compassion center became my second family,” Jojin says tearfully.
They were there for Jojin when Carmelita could no longer hide her illness. “They stood by my side when Mother was struggling with her health. They helped buy the necessary medicines when my mother had to stop selling peanuts — she couldn’t walk anymore because her feet had swollen so much.”
Jojin spent a year caring for her mother, dressing her wounds, feeding her and selling peanuts to sustain them.
“My mother was so selfless, starting when she first adopted me. … She sacrificed for me a lot, and when she got sick, I returned the favor.”
In 2019, Carmelita died in Jojin’s arms.
Despite Jojin’s hardships, she is not bitter. Although she still lives in economic poverty, she’s working toward a stable career in her area of passion, and there are so many reasons for hope.
“I don’t think about poverty. I just think about finishing school because that was the hope of my adoptive mom for me.”
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