Sometimes in a person’s life, it may feel like he is passing through an unfamiliar forest. The journey may be scary and every step he takes unsure. But if he only keeps pressing forward without losing the hope of finding the way out, victory will surely come.
At one point in their lives, the Belleza family of Dreamland in Rosario, Cavite went through the same ordeal. Now, having survived that dark, almost hopeless phase of their life, they can look back with happiness and pride.
Being among the indigent residents of Dreamland, Victoria, 47, and Ponciano Belleza, 43, worked endlessly day and night to provide for their four children’s needs.
In 2013, Ponciano decided to go abroad and work as a welder in hopes of alleviating his family’s living condition. He left his wife and children in Cavite. Being away from his family brought sadness in Ponciano’s heart.
Meanwhile, Victoria worked as a street sweeper for additional income. She said she must help his husband ease their family’s suffering.
Since 2007, Dreamland has been among Tzu Chi’s adopted communities. Its residents have been benefitting from the foundation’s quarterly relief program. Aside from that, poor students who want to pursue their studies were also granted the chance to study through Tzu Chi’s scholarship program.
“When Tzu Chi Foundation came here in Dreamland, my husband and I had no job. We were thinking how to survive every day, but Tzu Chi paved the way for my son to study,” says Victoria. At that time, her husband’s contract abroad had just ended. Although welders abroad are paid well, Ponciano’s contracts only lasted for two years. After that, he had to wait for months, sometimes even a year or more, to get another contract.
Being the eldest child, Paul John, 24, had already instilled in his mind that he has to finish his studies to be able to help his family. It is the only way he knows he can improve his family’s situation and create a good future for his younger siblings.
But his parents could not afford sending him to college. Wanting to have something to be proud of, Paul John decided to enroll in a three-month vocational course on Manufacturing Technology at the National College of Science and Technology in Bacao, Cavite.
When Tzu Chi opened an opportunity to get into university through a scholarship grant, Paul John did not think twice about seizing the chance.
Apart from covering his tuition and miscellaneous fees, the grant also provided a monthly allowance.
After years of persevering at school, Paul John finally graduated with a degree in Industrial Technology Major in Mechanical at the Cavite State University, Rosario Campus last 2015. He currently works as a machine maintenance staff at Semitec Electronics Philippines Incorporated in Rosario, Cavite.
The family’s living condition has become a bit more comfortable as Paul John is now able to give additional income into their family. His brother, Michael, 22, has also started working as a maintenance staff, while his sister, Nicole, 16, is currently in eleventh grade.
The family was able to put up a small store just outside their house through their father’s savings. Its profit now helps sustain the family’s everyday needs.
Life is much better for the Belleza family now. The poverty they went through inspired them to become industrious and united; the love and care Tzu Chi volunteers have shown them gave them hope.
To show her gratitude, Victoria volunteers every Tzu Chi’s quarterly relief operation at Dreamland.
“We may not be able to donate money but we can give our service in doing good deeds. We have to pay back the love that the foundation let us feel in a greater extent,” ends Victoria.
Paul John Belleza’s college graduation picture hangs on the wall inside their house. It serves as a reminder of his determination and success to finish his studies despite of poverty.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
After finishing college, Paul John Belleza applied as a machine maintenance staff at Semitec Electronic Philippines Incorporated at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Working hard for long hours is not easy but coming home to a loving family eases Paul John Belleza’s tiredness. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Paul John Belleza’s youngest brother, Daniel,4, serves as his inspiration to work harder and establish a secured future for his loved ones.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
This sari-sari store is one of Belleza family’s sources of income. Aside from Paul John Belleza’s profit as a machine maintenance staff, the earnings from the store also helps them buy their everyday needs.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Ponciano Belleza serves as the store manager. He just finished his contract as a welder abroad for about a year ago.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
These two fishermen, who are Belleza family’s neighbors, sew the fishing net they are going to use for their next trip in the sea.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Ponciano Belleza (left) and one of his fishermen prepares the boat for their expedition.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】