SM Foundation uplifts scholars’ economic status through scholarship program

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During a recent ‘kumustahan’ with its scholar-graduates, scholar alumni shared their experiences post-graduation and as a member of the country’s workforce.

Mary Justine Torres, an SM scholar alumna and a graduate of BS Commerce Major in Banking and Finance from the National University Batch 2013 recalled how the scholarship from SM helped pave the way to achieving her dreams.

Mahirap man ang naging buhay naming noon, naging instrumento ng Diyos ang SM Foundation upang matulungan ang isang katulad ko na makapagtapos ng pag-aaral [While our life had been filled with hardship, God paved the way for SM Foundation to be an instrument for helping people like me who want to finish their studies],” she said.

As the daughter of a tricycle driver and a housewife, who spent time repackaging peanuts, sampaloc candies, for resale to sari-sari store owners within their area, Justine says her mother would stay up till 3 a.m. doing this chore aside from doing other household chores like doing the laundry, cooking their meals including their daily baon and cleaning their small “hole in the wall garage cum living quarters.”  Looking at her uncomplaining mother, she realized that a good education would be the key to a brighter future for her whole family. 

Justine explained, “Nakapahalaga ng edukasyon para sa akin dahil alam kong ito ang kailangan ko upang magkaroon ako at ang pamilya ko ng maganda at maayos na kinabukasan [Education is very important for me because I know that I need education to provide a good future for me and my family].

Justine shared with the SMFI Officers one of the most important lessons learned during her time as a scholar. “Tinuruan ako ng SM Foundation na lalong magsikap at siguraduhing ibigay ang lahat ng makakaya sa anumang bagay na aking gagawin. Ito ay nadala ko hanggang ako ay magtrabaho na [SM Foundation taught me the value of industry and making sure to give my all in everything that I do. I brought these values with me until the time I started to work],” she further shared. She is also thankful to her alma mater, National University who was instrumental in her journey for “di ako binabayaan ng NU sapagkat kung nasa Dean’s List ako ay binibigyan pa ako ng bonus na tinutulong ko sa pagbayad ng aming ilaw at tubig [When I made it to the Dean’s List, NU even gave me a bonus which I used to help pay for our family’s electricity and water].”

After graduating with Academic Distinction, Justine was offered a job by a bank during an interview conducted before the Presentation of Graduates to their benefactor “Tatang” Sy and family. Shortly after, she was recruited by a multi-national company and now has been promoted as a Credit Support Specialist II. Through hard work and perseverance, she has acquired a townhouse unit for her family and is able to support her parents and a younger sibling’s education.

SM scholar alumna Mary Justine Torres

Another scholar alumna who shared her story was Luche Angsinco of Davao City. An only child of a company driver and a housewife, Luche recalled her humble beginnings. She applied for the SM scholarship in 2001 at SM City Davao, which was still under construction at that time.

Luche obtained a degree in BS Accountancy from the Ateneo de Davao University. After graduating, she immediately looked for a job to support herself and her family. Through hard work and dedication, she rose from the ranks and is now a Bank Manager.

As a big sister to the scholar-graduates, Luche reminded them not to be picky with their first jobs. Each job is a source of work experience.

“Starting your first venture into the working world early also allows you to use your youth to your advantage. Chances are, your first job is going to be mainly about learning to work as much as working itself. With this, you need patience and perseverance to learn—and soon you will genuinely smile as success will always be your twin,” Luche said.

Luche continued by saying, “Our job experience will further our skills and knowledge. Getting out there and getting the experience is a surefire way to learn more. It gives us the opportunity to apply the skills that we learned from the academe. And by applying these skills, your significant accomplishments can then be cited on your resume to further your career.”

Now Luche not only supports her parents, but also actively gives back to her community via supporting an orphanage run by sisters in Davao, and organizing and participating in feeding programs for the poor, including the garbage collectors in their area.

Whenever possible, Luche also volunteers her time to support SMFI’s efforts to reach its stakeholders. She said that it is her way of passing on the kindness received from her benefactors.

“I am forever grateful to SMFI. Without my scholarship during my college days, I might not be where I am right now. Now, I am able to provide a comfortable life to my family. Thank you, Tatang. Kahit saan man ako magpunta sa buong Pilipinas, SM Mall pa rin ang hahanap-hanapin ko[In whatever part of the country I might find myself in, I will still look for SM Mall]. I am a forever supporter,” she ended.

SMFI, through its Scholarship program, provides deserving and qualified students with access to college education and technical-vocational studies since 1993.  SMFI continues to uplift the economic status not only of these students but also their families and communities by providing them with access to quality tertiary education, a major factor to subsequent gainful employment.

To date, SMFI has supported almost 5,500 scholars nationwide.



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