Homeless teen in Quiapo graduates from college
This graduation season, Rodallie Mosende joins the list of students who are celebrating the end of a long academic journey.
On the eve of her graduation ceremony, Mosende couldn't sleep — afraid that the last few years might turn out to be a dream.
On April 23, Mosende graduated from the Lyceum University of the Philippines (Manila campus) with a degree in International Hospitality Management, specializing in cruise line operation in hotel services — something she never thought possible, having lived on the streets of Paterno since childhood.
"Kahapon po kinakabahan ako. Kagabi po hindi ako makatulog," Mosende said in a video shared by Rick Rocamora, "Baka panaginip lang po 'to kasi!"
Blood, Sweat, Hope and Quiapo from Shodensan on Vimeo.
Mosende and Rocamora first crossed paths in 2011, while Rocamora was documenting the homeless in Quiapo.
Her determination to graduate from high school struck a chord in Rocamora, who shared her story through vivid photographs.
[Read: Homeless teenage girl in Manila graduates from high school]
The attention Rocamora drew to Mosende's situation inspired an anonymous benefactor to support her college education by giving her a monthly stipend.
Other people on social media also extended help, impressed by Mosende's perseverance and dedication.
Up until her sophomore year in college, Mosende was working as a street sweeper to pay for food and transportation.
She would also stay late in the library to finish school work and when she could, she would also tutor kids in Paterno.
"Nagpapasalamat po ako sa inyo't binigyan niyo po ako ng pagkakataong mag-aral," she said, "Sana po someday, makabawi naman po ako."
A job in the cruise industry is waiting for Mosende and having a home is now within reach.
Mosende's journey is documented in the book "Blood, Sweat, Hope, and Quiapo: Rodallie S. Mosende’s Story" as well as the exhibit "The Rodallie S. Mosende Story: A Photography Exhibit by Rick Rocamora" at the Ayala Museum, which runs until May 5. —APG, GMA News