Scholarships for social justice in the Philippines

Children, teenagers and young adults from the Province of Quezon, Philippines, met up several times during the past academic year, to share and reflect on their experience as beneficiaries of scholarships from the Congregation.

The scholarships were awarded through Notre Dame de Sion’s social justice grants scheme, which caters for communities where NDS sisters serve. The sisters in the community of Real, Quezon, consulted local teachers for guidance on suitable candidates.

Introductions at a gathering of scholarship awardees.


The students

Forty-two grants were issued under the scheme for the academic year of 2023-24. The recipients have had the opportunity to attend school at different levels, from primary to tertiary.

Many of the young people involved were conscious of the difference it could make in their lives.

Thirteen-year-old Andrei said he felt blessed to be part of the programme, because it means he can attend high school every day.

Leo, the eldest of three children of a farming family, is studying for a university degree in Social Work. “The financial support I’m receiving from the Sisters of Sion helps my parents a lot to pay my miscellaneous fees and other school expenses,” he said.


Strength and sacrifice

Some students have shown extraordinary resilience in trying circumstances.

Mark, a student of criminology, is one of six children of a fisherman and a laundry worker. “Our family struggles every day,” he said. “We all need to sacrifice and understand our situation. This is my inspiration to study well and value the times.”

Marco, Ediela, Mario and Pauleen reach their elementary school by swimming across the Umiray River every day. They arrive with no pens or paper, no shoes, wet clothes and empty stomachs. Yet they are always jolly and indeed they turn up early to attend classes and enjoy breakfast and lunch with their companions.

Group sharing.


Hopes for the future

The scholarship project aims to offer young people social equality and a chance to map a future for themselves.

While Renelou, nineteen, is dreaming of becoming a policeman, Mharjinnel’s goal is to be in a position to support her mother financially. Patricia, who has almost completed her university degree course, is clear about her career aspirations: “I want to be a teacher someday,” she said, “to be able to share my learnings and myself with others.”


Sion’s commitment to education

The tradition of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion is deeply rooted in education. The Congregation upholds the right for all children to schooling and advocates for education as a means to reduce poverty and child labour.