As a 19-year-old who comes from an aspiring country, I have always thought that success is graduating with honours from Polytechnic, get a place in my desired university, get a high-paying job, and so on.
This is a story about how a different success Lisa has achieved and how it had changed my perspective.
Lisa Tina is one of BagoSphere’s graduates from Batch 3. I have often heard Lisa’s story from my colleagues, and I was excited to meet her. So, when Lisa visited BagoSphere, I asked her if I could visit and interview her. Enthusiastically, Lisa agreed and she invited me to her youngest sister’s 10th birthday celebration the following week.
During our short chat in her house, Lisa recounted about her family, her training days in BagoSphere, her job as a call centre agent, and her future dreams.
Lisa is the sixth out of eight children in her family. Her father works as a farmer, and her mother stays at home to take care of the house. She was distressed seeing her aged father walking home after long hours of work every day. Thus, when she graduated from high school, Lisa decided to drop out of school and work to ease her father’s financial burden.
For two years, she took up odd jobs such as housekeeper and shopkeeper at an internet cafe, earning an average Php 2000 (USD$46) per month. One day, Lisa realised that her income as a housekeeper would not be able to sustain her family’s expenses. Heeding a friend’s advice, she applied at BagoSphere for training to be a call centre agent, hoping that the job will be able to support her family’s finances.
Fast forward, Lisa graduated from BagoSphere and went on with her classmates to apply for jobs at call centres in Bacolod. She failed--- not once, not twice, but thrice. On her fourth try, Lisa succeeded in landing a job at Panasiatic.
With her income now, Lisa bought a motorbike for her father on installment. Her father now rides suavely on his motorbike after work. Lisa also shared that she can now support her family’s expenses and that she was able to buy a mobile phone for her father on his birthday.
It will be Lisa’s 6th month at Panasiatic this June, and she looks forward to be a regular employee soon. She also looks forward to the employment of her older sister who just graduated from college, so she can explore her options of pursuing an Education degree in college.
Listening to Lisa’s story has taught me two things:
First, filial piety. We often get so engrossed in chasing our own dreams that we forget about our parents who have worked hard to provide for us. Not many of us would have made Lisa’s sacrifice. Lisa’s story reminds me to look past my own interest and to prioritize my family’s interest.
Second, humility. As Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life but by the obstacles which he has overcome.” Comparing both our 19 years of life, Lisa has faced more obstacles and achieved much more than myself. While I am waiting for my father to buy me the upcoming iPhone 6, Lisa has bought a motorbike and a phone for her father. While I am still getting allowance from my parents, Lisa has been supporting her family with her income. The sense of determination, pride, and joy that Lisa gives off is something I have not achieved--- and that, for me, is success.
Laksmi Cahyady has a passion in Social Innovation Projects and has participated in many Overseas Community Involvement Programmes around South East Asia. A current third year student of Diploma in Business and Social Enterprise in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, Laksmi is interested to explore further in the social entrepreneurship field. She feels strongly for the cause of global poverty and believe that children and youths are the catalyst of change in the society.