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Sometimes, all it takes is a chance at a better future. Ana Marie dreamed of having it.

Ana Marie, simply and fondly called Ana, lived in a humble household in Sto. Tomas, Batangas with five other siblings. With the daily earnings from her parents’ everyday labor in their near-bankrupt carinderia, sending them all to school was bound to be challenging.

Ana felt the daunting adversity, too. She knew she could do little about it but her parents wanted her to continue studying anyway. “My mom even had a dishwashing liquid business on the side,” she shared. At the time, it almost seemed impossible to get through high school. Let alone realize her simple dream: landing a stable job to support her family’s needs.  

While Ana described herself as an average 14-year-old student, she worked hard on what she knew she could do something about: academic excellence. She studied hard being well-aware of their family’s apparent financial struggle, even if it meant going to school without allowances or relying on relatives’ handouts.

SCG Sharing the Dream Brought Hope

But all that changed when Ana was granted with a scholarship from SCG. She was one of the first recipients of the company’s one-year educational assistance.

As a part of the SCG Sharing the Dream program, she received school uniforms, shoes, school supplies, transportation allowance and miscellaneous allowance for school projects, field trips and any other school expense she needed.

The program, in partnership with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), demonstrates SCG’s commitment to creating better living for people in communities where it operates by supporting students to pursue education worry-free, allowing them to focus on what matters the most: learning and achieving life goals.

SCG Sharing the Dream means empowering the youth to continue chasing after their dreams through educational opportunities. It opens doors for underprivileged teens who are working hard for a better future for them and their family.

SCG also envisions itself to not only be a provider of educational assistance and opportunities, but also to help in their scholar’s holistic progress through sessions of values education, personality development and financial literacy – all geared towards helping the students find their preferred career path.

In Southeast Asia, more than 6,000 scholarships have been annually granted in countries including Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Since its establishment in the Philippines back in 2008, the number of scholars steadily increased. As of 2016, the program has already benefited more than 1,700 high school students like Ana from Bulacan, Batangas, Malabon, Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, and Navotas.

“I was very happy when I got the news that I got the scholarship. I felt more motivated than ever. I studied even harder,” Ana recalled.   

Ana’s school performance took off from there. She eventually earned her way in to Sta. Anastacia-San Rafael National High School’s star section, a class filled with some of the brightest students in campus.

She also earned academic honors and was consistently recognized as an honor student throughout her secondary education.

Ana was eager to finish school at the top and eventually help in putting an end to her family’s hardships.

Living the Dream

Upon graduating high school, Ana was elected Sanggunian Kabataan counselor. At the same time, she successfully pursued a Psychology degree at the Batangas State University (BSU).

She was also very active in various organizations. She became president of the Alliance of Future Psychologists in 2013. She also promoted mental health awareness and served as secretary of the Philippine Mental Health Association alongside Psychology students from various colleges and universities.

Now at 22, Ana is living her dream. She says the feeling is surreal.

As a Human Resource officer at her former internship site and one of SCG’s core businesses in the Philippines, Mariwasa, she is now able to support her family financially and extend her work benefits to her family.

“Being an SCG Sharing the Dream scholar fills my heart with fulfilment. Not only were they able to help me financially, but they encouraged me to be a better person, work harder, dream higher, and to pay it forward by sharing my dream to others as well,” she explained.

Despite losing her father and brother three months apart, Ana is soldiering on to take care of her family and is setting her sights for an even brighter future.

“I was just an ordinary student who only wanted to learn and finish my studies. The opportunities I had here in SCG really brought out the best in me. They made me realize that I can still do more. They inspired me to aim high and focus on my studies,” Ana shared.

Currently working on pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology Management, Ana said she is not settling for less just yet. Ana believes she’s still very much a ‘work in progress’.

But make no mistake, this is definite triumph for a girl who had humble beginnings and whose growth and self-discovery took off all because one company shared her dream of education

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