After graduating from a four-year course, former Tzu Chi scholar Erwin Cervantes is now helping his widowed mom in their family’s expenses. Just this year, he celebrated his first work anniversary in a top company in Quezon City. He expresses his thanks to all donors of Tzu Chi Foundation for making the dreams of so many children like him come to life.
To a son who has witnessed the struggles of his widowed mother, nothing could ever match the joy of finally giving her the one thing that she has hoped for through the years—a child with a college diploma.
Erwin Cervantes graduated from the University of the East-Manila Campus in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting Technology. This year, Erwin celebrates his first work anniversary as an auditor in a top company in Quezon City.
Erwin’s mom and the several ups and downs in their life are the strength that kept his determination strong. His father died in 2003, their house was burned in 2009, and their mother had to work twice as hard to rear four children.
Because of her high hopes for her children, Erwin’s mother, Elizabeth, works for almost 24 hours a day. She is a store helper by day and gets domestic jobs like laundry and ironing of clothes by night. Sometimes, even Erwin could not comprehend his mother’s persistence to send them to school despite the life they lead in poverty.
“Of my four children, the two before him were not able to graduate (from college). It’s all thanks to Tzu Chi that Erwin was able to continue with his studies. I am happy about his determination so if he wants to study, I will do my best to give it to him. As long as I am able to work, (I will support) my children,” the 60-year-old mother says.
It was in 2008 when mother Elizabeth got a shoulder to depend on through the assistance provided by Tzu Chi. Erwin was a third year high school then in a Chinese school in Manila. The relief that swept through his mother and the hope rising in her heart—all of these were witnessed by Erwin, which motivated him to double his efforts to pursue college.
For six years, Erwin has been granted a full scholarship, waiving his parent from the high cost of college education in a private school.
As a form of his gratitude to the charity group, Erwin is always present whenever Tzu Chi would call their attendance for the monthly Humanity Class. He also committed himself to be a member of Tzu Chi Youth, actively joining the community recycling, outreach programs, medical missions, and relief activities. This way, he widens his social involvement with people his age and realizes some of the most important things in life.
“I appreciate not only Tzu Chi’s financial assistance but also the learnings that I gain from them such as loving our parents and helping them as well as doing outreach activities,” he says. Every month, the Tzu Chi Youth visits Bahay Mapagmahal (House of Love) Home for the Aged and Munting Tahanan ng Nazareth (The Little House of Nazareth) in Pampanga.
Now, Erwin’s youngest sibling is enrolled as a fourth year high school student and he vows to help his mother support her studies.
“If not for Tzu Chi, I will not be able to reach college. I will not be able to finish the course that I want. I will not be able to have a decent job. I will not be able to help my mom and I will not be able to inspire other people with the things I learned from Tzu Chi,” says Erwin.
“To all donors who continue to support the education of so many children, thank you very much and hopefully you could help more students,” he adds.
Once there was a child whose dream is for his mom. Once there was a mother whose dream is for her child. Where their dreams have met are people whose dreams are for the future. Through the donors of Tzu Chi Foundation, more and more children like Erwin are able to finish their studies and become a productive human resource of the society.