In a story that encapsulates the essence of resilience, dedication, and the transformative power of education, Hanelie M. Lopez’s journey from being a waived beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to representing the Philippines in the Luxembourg Global Learning Event is nothing short of remarkable.

Born into a family reliant on the support provided by the 4Ps program, Hanelie and her sister found relief and opportunity through the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) Scholarships that funded their college education.

The ESGPPA is implemented by the Commission on Higher Education together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

Currently, three members of the family have earned college degrees, and three others have successfully completed vocational courses. Moreover, one family member is on track to graduate from college in 2024, while two are presently enrolled in senior high school.

“We firmly believe in the transformative power of education to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, which is why we prioritize and focus on education as a key factor in uplifting our family’s well–being, especially in the future”, Hanelie expressed.

For her, the pursuit of academic excellence did not end with her graduation. Armed with a degree in Sociology with Latin Honor (Cum Laude) last 2015 and fueled by a passion for social justice, she embarked on a career path dedicated to serving others.

Her journey led her to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), where she assumed the role of a Community Facilitator under the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT-IP) on July 31, 2015. After this, she assumed her new post as the Regional Indigenous People Unit Focal.

However, it was not just her professional accomplishments that defined Hanelie’s journey; it was her unwavering commitment to her family and community that truly set her apart. In 2017, recognizing their newfound ability to support themselves and driven by a desire to give others the opportunity they had received, Hanelie and her family made the selfless decision to waive their status as 4Ps beneficiaries last 2018.

This act of generosity and foresight not only paved the way for others to benefit from the program but also exemplified their belief in the power of education to break the cycle of poverty.

“With determination and hard work, our family have already acquired residential and agricultural land near school facilities while continuing to prioritize education as a means of empowerment”, she added.

Today, as she prepares to represent the Philippines at the Luxembourg Global Learning Event, Hanelie’s journey serves as a proof to the resilience of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities that arise when one dares to dream. Her story is a reminder that regardless of where we come from, with determination, perseverance, and a belief in the power of education, we can defy the odds and create a brighter future for ourselves and those around us.

“Being nominated to participate in a global event like this will provide me with invaluable insights and knowledge that will enhance my ability to effectively engage and collaborate with Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups”, Hanelie stated.

From a 4Ps beneficiary to a global advocate for humanitarian causes, her story is a testimony to the strong human spirit and the limitless possibilities that await those who dare to dream.