Despite Living Under A Bridge in Paco, This Student Is This Year’s Class Valedictorian

Have you ever wondered what’s life like for people living under the bridge?

In the Philippines, this situation is very common particularly in the Metro. Because of poverty, many people resort to building their shelters under the bridge. Undaunted by its harsh conditions, they manage to build their lives and dreams under the bridge.

Take for instance Cienna Igano, a girl who is living with her family under a bridge in Paco, Manila.


This year, Cienna will be graduating as her elementary school’s class valedictorian proving that poverty is not a hindrance to one’s success.

Despite not having an allowance and not being able to submit projects due to lack of resources, the pupil managed to consistently place as top 1 from Grade 2 to Grade 6.

“‘Pag pumapasok po ako, wala po akong baon. Tapos po kapag may mga project po, ‘di ko po lahat nasa-submit. Kaya po minsan sa project ako bumababa,” she told a 24 Oras reporter.

I don’t have an allowance when I go to school. I can’t submit all projects. This is why sometimes my grades get low.

For Cienna, education can improve her family’s economic status.

“Gusto ko po kasi maiangat po sa buhay ang magulang ko. Kasi simula nung bata pa po sila, mahirap na po sila.”

I want to improve the lives of my parents. They have been poor since I was a child.

In the same report by 24 Oras, it was revealed that poverty is one of the main obstructions to finishing elementary and high school education in the Philippines. About 4.6% of marginalised children fail to finish their studies, while 0.7% of kids coming from rich families stop their studies.

Currently, there are about 1.5 million out-of-school youths in the country.

The Philippines ranked fifth among the countries with the most number of out-of-school youths, according to a 2013 study conducted by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Written by mmalabanan

Mini is a work-at-home mom from Laguna. Aside from writing, she's passionate about breastfeeding and homeschooling.

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