by Jesusa L. Ramos RSW

Aside from the psychological and emotional strain of having a family member in jail,  money becomes the greatest worry of most families. Whether or not a parent is guilty, children do not deserve to suffer. Yet almost inevitably, children have to discontinue their schooling which may expose them to a vicious cycle of violence and criminality. This is the context that led Jesuit Volunteer Philippines (JVP) to help with its latest project. 

Philippine Jesuit Prison Service [PJPS] believes that if given access to education, the child of an inmate can break the cycle of poverty and violence. With the child’s education, he/she is given a better chance of having a stable job. With such assistance, the incarcerated parent is also relieved of the burden of worry and can focus on personal rehabilitation.   

Currently, the PJPS scholarship program has a total of 83 scholars (27-elementary, 26-high school and 30-college) in NCR and Davao. 

JVP has been helping PJPS for many years now by providing volunteers/staff to assist in our programs and services. In this latest project, 9th Grade students of KEYS School Manila came up with the idea of ‘Balik Biyaya’ where JVP facilitated in identifying beneficiaries. Olivia Torres, Hao Tay, and Julie Lahoz helped disadvantaged school children by providing needed supplies to better their learning experience. 

On June 24, 2021, staff and volunteers of PJPS with Mr. Blas Descallar, JVP Executive Director, distributed 100 kits of school supplies at PJPS office in Ina Ng Awa Parish Compound, New Bilibid Prison Reservation, Sampaguita Rd, Muntinlupa City. Mothers of the elementary and few high school scholars received the school supplies. They were so grateful for what they received and it is a big help in the children’s studies.

[The writer is a registered social worker and the Scholarship Program Coordinator of the Philippine Jesuit Prison Service-PJPS]