September 1, 2010
I’ve been waiting to post the exciting news that Leah had received her public school teaching position. Sadly, she didn’t.
Leah taught two years at a private elementary school with the dream of securing a government job in a public school. The public school position offers the security of a lifetime appointment, benefits and a salary that is nearly triple what she earned at the private school.
She did everything right. She was number three on the waiting list. The first two candidates had received their job postings. She was next. She did not renew her private school contract. Instead she accepted an offer to fill in for a teacher who took maternity leave. She was told she’d have the next available position at the school.
When the position became available, the school administrator awarded it to someone who had family connections to the local mayor or the school administrator (I can’t remember which now). The person who got Leah’s job was ranked 11th on the waiting list, eighth behind Leah.
Leah said she cried and cried when she learned she’d been passed over. She hasn’t yet received her salary for the two months she served as a substitute. Her family went without electricity for a while because Leah didn’t have the money to pay the bill. She sold their pig to secure funds to help with expenses.
Leah doesn’t complain, though. She takes action. She went to the governor’s office and explained her situation. She asked for a teaching position and she’s been promised one in a school in a neighboring village. She said: “God is always taking care of me.”
She wants a job in a school near her village so she can stay in her home and continue to care for her aging mother and her two brothers. She’s helping pay for her brother’s education now.
When I posted this news on Facebook, my friend, Michelle Jolin, left the following comment:
“We’re so lucky on so many levels–including the one in which most of us get through life without ever having to pay a bribe or worry about such entrenched nepotism that you can’t get a decent education or a good job without powerful friends helping you.”
Leah refuses to pay a bribe. She said she knows it would make the path easier; however, she doesn’t believe in bribery. She has faith in God, herself and her hard work.
I am so proud of Leah. She has faced obstacles ever since she returned to college 15 years after she’d left high school to earn money for her family after her father died. She continues to believe and to push for what she wants, what she’s earned. I look forward to the day I can write a post announcing Leah’s new job.
And I’m so grateful to my friends and all who support Isis Initiative.
August 14, 2009
I called Leah with the news of our decision.
“Who is the lucky lady, Cheryl,” Leah asked.
Earlier this evening, Isis Initiative board members discussed our four scholarship candidates. We had a tough decision, weighing each young woman’s financial needs, GPA and family situation. It was close between two candidates. We wished we could offer all four a scholarship.
Our local Filipino committee had offered a recommendation. In the end, the input from the three women who had met and interviewed the candidates–and who understand the local culture–swayed us. The local committee recommended Marethel.
I spoke with Leah and she assured me that Marethel is a excellent choice and would be a serious student who would value the gift and the opportunity of a college education.
I trust Leah’s judgment. The board members trust Leah’s judgment.