How a poor parish is sending students to college
MANILA – Despite being one of the poorest communities in the Diocese of Parañaque, the San Pedro Calungsod Quasi-Parish is helping poor students get into college through a scholarship program.
“The primary objective [of the program] is to support a student’s dream of getting a college degree and be a positive contributor to the transformation of society,” said parish priest Fr. Didoy Molina.
Supported for four years, 17 students of the first batch of scholars graduated in June 2017 from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa with degrees in psychology, education, criminology and management.
According to the priest, supporting the first batch of scholars was not easy but was made possible through the efforts of the entire parish and the surrounding communities.
“It costs Php 6,000 to support a college scholar. The money goes to either their tuition fee or school materials. It also covers transportation and daily expenses as a student,” said the priest.
Molina thanked the many donors from St. James COPA, Sweethearts of Christ Foundation, MBG of the diocese, parishioners, friends, relatives, tennis pals, and classmates.
Giving back and accountability
Far from a dole-out, the scholarship requires beneficiaries, both scholars and their parents, to fulfill their end of the agreement through active service and ministry in the church.
Beneficiaries help organize youth activities and community programs, prepare and participate in street and Sunday Masses, and teach catechism.
Molina and the community leaders are committed to accountability and transparency in managing the scholarship program.
“We have an excellent and well-tested screening process. Our ‘Damayan’ community leaders recruit and approve the applicants after a background check,” he shared.
According to Molina, parents and scholars undergo panel interviews and go through a month-long probationary period before receiving full approval.
“Financial reports are given to institutional sponsors every semester and the books are open for [checking]. In short, all the funds intended for the scholarship are used for what they are intended for,” he explained.
While the quasi-parish still has no church building and holds Masses in a covered court and in the streets, it is committed to sustaining their scholars through college.
Parties interested to donate, may directly email Fr. Didoy Molina, San Pedro Calungsod Quasi-Parish via firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Riz Ponti/CBCPNews