Meet Ms Estrellita G Purugganan (photo at left), Treasurer of SAS Ai, Inc. Like most of our volunteer officers and board members here at SAS Ai, Estrell (we fondly call her), grew up on a farm in Santa Cruz, a town north of Tagudin. Hers is the all too common circumstance of dire poverty and hardship.
She tells her story about how she traveled to and from SAS high school daily from home, sometimes hitch-hiking, at times walking, and riding the small commercial bus, courtesy of the conductor who had taken a fancy toward her. She grins as she recalls those days of riding the bus. She continues with her childhood recollections:
“We had no electricity or running water. My mother prepared our meals on the most primitive of stoves – three stones arranged in a triangular configuration whereupon she placed the pot and burned firewood underneath. Speaking of firewood… after we depleted the pieces of dried bamboo and the fallen wood bark for firewood, we resorted to gathering for firewood, dried cow dung in the fields. I never enjoyed gathering dry cow dung but to survive we had to do it. Looking back now, education translates to freedom. My high school education freed me to pursue a college education and eventually freed me to apply for a job in industry.”
For this reason alone, Estrell strongly supports SAS Ai’s mission donating to the scholarship fund. She declares with a big smile, “I sure could have used this kind of financial help when I attended high school.”
She concludes, “It would be a crime indeed to allow the minds of these bright kids who come from poor families go to waste. Our duty extends beyond recognizing their need; our responsibility includes actually funding their high school education. Let us help them break the shackles of poverty.”