Rose Ann’s Story
Rose Ann is a young, sensitive, and thoughtful girl. At seventeen years old, she stands just shy of five feet tall. She is shorter than most people, but typically gives a much larger amount of effort with the youth group, football trainings, or anything else she commits to with us.
Rose Ann has lived her entire life in Payatas. She provides us with great insight about what is happening in the community, with the people around us, and who needs more help than usual. She is beginning to understand the deeper causes of the problems in the area; the history, the political and economic background, and social problems here.
Considering everything she has been through, this is nothing short of amazing.
Rose Ann is the second youngest of eleven siblings. Like most families in Payatas, their family is big. Very big. Everyone needs to contribute to the family, for their basic needs. As we wrote about before, poor families have many children because they are poor, they are not poor because they have so many kids.
We first met Rose Ann when she was 9 years old. Small for her age, even in Payatas, Rose Ann joined the football sessions in the early days and joined regularly at the drop-in center. She was among our first sponsored children, a clear case of a child whose education, through no fault of her own, would have halted entirely without support.
From a very young age Rose Ann has had to fight for everything. As a quieter, younger member of her family, Rose Ann has been overlooked for the majority of her life as the daily grind of scavenging all day and emergencies overtakes any normal day.
With her older sisters and friends, Rose Ann has had to teach herself things we take for granted. In an area like Payatas, you grow up fast. Her mother, now over 60 years old, cannot read or write. Her father was cared for by the family after he lost a leg to diabetes, and other health issues meant he was incapacitated and mute. In October, 2018, he passed away.
Rose Ann is no stranger to the garbage industry. Even with some financial support and some access to a safe space in the drop-in center, Rose Ann dropped out of school a couple more times. Like many children on the edge, they are often in and out of school due to problems at home, financial issues, and the poor quality of the nearby schools.
At 17 years old, Rose Ann will be 20 years old before finishing her High School education at the current rate. But in a community like Payatas it takes a lot of patience and flexibility to develop new pathways. Nothing here gets done the traditional way. Nothing here is ‘normal’. And by finishing her High School education, she will have accomplished something many in her family have not.
But now, more and more, Rose Ann is finding her voice.
In 2018, Rose Ann was part of Team Philippines at the Street Child World Cup in Russia. Manager Roy Moore and Coach Ronalyn (who is also her older sister!) did not expect her to be part of the final squad when we included her in the first pool of players. With 16 candidates for Team Philippines and only 9 spaces in the final squad, they thought it would be a great experience for her. Rose Ann could see the level of performance and dedication needed to get a University scholarship through sport, and to learn from the seminars and workshops throughout the training camp off the pitch. They thought it would serve as a good motivator for Rose Ann to complete her schooling and dream beyond High School.
And that proved to be the case and more.
From day one of the training camp, Rose Ann made herself heard. She wasn’t the loudest in the group. She wasn’t the most talented in the group. But she quietly worked hard and gave her best in the football and mentoring sessions. It was an intense time, but Rose Ann took the challenge and ran with it. And that left the Coaches with a difficult decision to make.
Rose Ann’s commitment and effort to the cause meant she was selected as part of the team in Russia. On the pitch, she helped the team reach the Semi Finals of the competition (playing in defence through the five games, she helped the group concede only three goals in the whole tournament, with the team unlucky not to progress further).
Off the pitch she was a perfect example of what Team Philippines is all about. She spoke about her own experiences, she listened to others, and she continued to work hard and learn. Afterwards, she also got the chance to speak about her experience at a United Nations event in Switzerland. Now she hopes to become a successful lawyer in the future, in part to help the many people who have been rounded up and put in jail without proper charge or process, and who are still in jail years later with no conviction.
This year has been a real turning point for her, as Rose Ann now sees that she can dream bigger than ever before, and that there is a pathway to get there. Rose Ann’s experience shows why we must be patient and flexible, and also creative about making a better way.
We are excited to see what happens next with Rose Ann. She is overcoming many difficulties and serious issues that would have set back many people. With the right support at Fairplay, and the financial help from our supporters, Rose Ann has a chance. The end of her story hasn’t been written yet… but we are excited to see what Rose Ann writes for her next chapter.
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