David Baluarte Jr., a former scholar of Tzu Chi Foundation, now works as a senior high school teacher at the San Sebastian College—Recoletos de Cavite. Although he was born to a poor family, he persevered to achieve his dreams. David is now able to help ease the family’s situation and is currently sponsoring the renovation of their house.
“Problems are always there but it is up to you if you will spend your time thinking about the problem or planning the solution.”
This serves as motivation for David Baluarte, Jr., a former scholar of Tzu Chi Foundation.
For David, living in the impoverished community of Dreamland in Rosario, Cavite is just a challenge he was born with, not a chain that restrains him from dreaming a college diploma and a better life for his family.
But for decades, a higher education seemed an impossible idea for the children of Dreamland, and David was no exemption. That was until Tzu Chi Foundation discovered the situation of the community in the aftermath of Typhoon Dodong (Wutip) in 2007. Tzu Chi held relief aid distributions, provided long-term assistance to the neediest families and scholarship grants to the children. These programs are aimed at empowering the families so they can lift themselves from poverty.
In 2013David became one of the recipients of the scholarship from Tzu Chi. That fateful day when he found out Tzu Chi will support his college education, the course of David’s future changed.
Before this, David’s mother, Helen had encouraged him to find a job in a factory after his high school graduation. His parents could not afford to send him to college. David’s father is a fisherman, while his mother stays at home to attend to his two siblings’ needs.
It was a tough battle, and David was torn between earning money to help his family and fighting for his dream of getting a college degree as being the youngest child.
In the end, he chose what he believed will benefit everyone involved. He chose to continue his college education. Once he graduated, he knew he will be able to find a more stable job and support his family better.
Determined, David had saved the money that his mother had given for his job hunting to pay for the entrance exam fee at the Cavite State University in Rosario.
“I realized that it’s better to finish my education because it would lead to a new and brighter chapter of our life,” says David.
David was persistent to study and create a better life in the future. Fueled by his parents’ support and the financial, as well as spiritual support, from Tzu Chi, David graduated from college this year with a degree in Secondary Education Major in English.
Currently, David is a Filipino and English senior high school teacher at the San Sebastian College–Recoletos de Cavite. He is living his dream and aims to be a role model to his students.
“He is committed to the profession. Not everyone has the calling of being a teacher, so I see in him that he would be able to carry it for the years to come,” Department Head Farrah Columna commends David.
On David’s part, the life lessons from the monthly Humanity Class for Tzu Chi scholars had molded him to be the person and teacher that he is today.
“Master Cheng Yen aims to spread the love, and now I can apply it through teaching my students the lessons from the Master. I can share it with them whenever our topics are related to her teachings, two of those are compassion and charity,” the former scholar adds.
Now that David is already earning money, their family situation has become a bit more comfortable. David is currently funding the renovation of their house while his father is the one in charge with the construction.
“Thank you so much because now we can already feel and see that his hardship produced good fruits that will help him have a better life. If not for Tzu Chi Foundation, our life would have been harder,” says his father, David
David is like a gem shining amidst life’s troubles. May his perseverance and courage to dream despite the odds serve as inspiration to many poor students to continue chasing a better life for their families, and contribute in creating a better society through education.