MINERVA BC NEWMAN
GETAFE, Bohol—A 42-year old mother and a Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary from Getafe, Bohol graduated her senior high of grade 12 in July this year at the Tulang National High School in her town and now aims to enroll in college to become a midwife in the future.
Chelia Suello proved to everyone that poverty is not really a hindrance to success when one is determined to achieve one’s dream. She narrated that she couldn’t continue after she graduated in high school due to financial challenges and the need to work to support the family.
“Ganahan ko makahuman og eskwela aron makatabang sa pamilya og panaminan sa akong mga anak nga bisan sa kalisod sa panahon ug trabaho, akong ipakita nga kaya nako ug pinaagi ani makabatun ko og respeto gikan sa uban.” (I want to finish my studies so I can help my family and so my children can reflect on me that in spite of the challenging times and having a job, I can still show them that I can do it and I can earn respect from others), Suello said.
She said that her journey to continue and complete the K-12 is to inspire her family, especially her children and other people in the community to pursue their dreams and never give up despite all odds.
Suello bared that she was able to continue her studies during the pandemic because she could study at home since lessons are in modular format. She explained that instead of enrolling right away in college since she had already graduated high school back then, she decided to follow the K-12 and take the senior high school’s General Academic Strand (GAS) to refresh her mind on the lessons in classes.
“Because of the program, I continued to dream as I realized the importance of education and finishing it. I hope our home will not just improve but we will also grow in wisdom. I want people to also know how to avail the services of the government like going to the health center,” she said.
Chelia wants to take up midwifery someday to help more people in her community, which she sees her place to perform duties once she gets the degree. She also wanted other parents and those who have stopped school to reflect on her and that it’s not too late for them to continue to dream and finish their studies.
Chelia as a community health advocate
Chelia is active in her community and serves as a barangay health worker (BHW) and is also part of the barangay monitoring team of locally stranded individuals where she earns P3,000 a month. She has been serving the people in her community as a BHW for 20 years and over those years, she thought only of the joy of serving the community despite the minimal allowance she received.
“Isip BHW, akong kanunay gipahinumdom nga ang kalimpyo sa palibot ug kahimsog sa pamilya maoy labing mayo.” (As BHW, I always remind them that cleanliness and the family’s health are the most important things.) Chelia said.
She realized that being an advocate for health gives her satisfaction and fulfillment and that through service, she could touch more lives of different ages. She wanted people to pay attention to their health by visiting the health center. Especially pregnant women and mothers.
She believes it is her greatest advocacy to continue her services to the people even without anything in return. “I want to help, especially in health, nutrition, and women’s rights,” she added.
Chelia has also been active in different organizations in her barangay, such as the Women’s Organization, Salog Farmer’s Organization (SAFARO) as a secretary, and Malungtarong Mag-uuma sa Salog (MAMSA).
At home, Chelia’s main source of income is farming and raising livestock with her husband, Magno Jr., who is a bamboo worker.
Chelia shared that prior to their inclusion in the program, the family experienced difficulties in their lives especially in finances, because their sources of income were not enough to sustain their daily needs, especially when their children were still young.
“Sukad nga ako namembro sa 4Ps, adunay dakong kalambuan sa among panginabuhi og labi na kay usa ko na nahimong parent leader.” (Since I have become a 4Ps beneficiary, there has been improvement in my life, especially that I have become a parent leader),” Chelia bared that the Family Development Session (FDS) of the program led them to become more knowledgeable about improving their way of living.
As a parent leader, Chelia shared that she is delighted to help and touch the lives of other people, especially her fellow beneficiaries of the program and sees this as her way of giving back to the program and the community.
She shared that on December 16, 2021, typhoon Odette totally damaged their home but they managed to rebuild it with hopes that things will be better again and that they will achieve what they have envisioned their family to become-to live a stable life.
With her contribution to the community and an inspiring story that touched the hearts of the people, Chelia was chosen as one of the representatives from Bohol for the Search for 4Ps Reynanay 2022 that was held in Dumaguete City on June 16, 2022. She won third place in the best advocacy video category.
Regardless of whether she won the crown in the event honoring empowered 4Ps mothers, Chelia took home the pride of how she transformed herself, the honor of representing their town, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience that brought a plot twist in her life that she had never imagined of joining a pageant.
As she continues her journey in life along with her family, Chelia always believes and embodies her motto: “Walay imposible kong imong kayanon!” (Nothing is impossible if you work for it!).