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  SIA Women's Opportunity Award
Mispah Evangelio - First Filipina Winner
 
 



The Women's Opportunity Awards program is the major program of SIA which receives a strong support from SIPR. Through this program, Soroptimist clubs in the Philippines assist women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills, and employment prospects. Recipients, many of whom have overcome enormous obstacles including poverty, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse, may use the awards to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, such as books, childcare and transportation.

The first candidate from the Philippines to have received one of the three finalist Women’s Opportunity Awards is Mispah Evangelio, a nominee of SI KALIBO. A standing ovation was accorded to her as she received the Certificate and cash award of US$10,000 during the SIA Convention held at the Taiwan International Convention Center on July 17, 2008.

Mispah belongs to the poor Ati Tribe from the mountainous region of Kalibo, Aklan. Her tribe’s tradition disallowed girls from going to school but she defied this tradition when she found a teacher who supported her financially from elementary to high school. Mispah suffered discrimination but withstood the pains inflicted on her by classmates who sometimes called her “monkey” because of her dark skin and kinky hair. No one wanted to sit beside her in class or even in jeepneys. Supported by a nun, Mispah enrolled in B.A. Elementary Education not only to uplift the lives of her family but also that of the children in her community.

After a semester, due to her parent's illness, Mispah was forced to stop her schooling. She fell in love with a man who bore her a son who eventually left her. She thought she had lost the opportunity to go back to school when she heard about the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards. She applied to and was chosen by SI Kalibo and soon became the Western Visayas District’s first place winner. She became an overnight celebrity in her tribal community when she appeared in the trimedia in the whole province. She also bagged the Region first place award and then, one of the three SIA finalist awards.

Mispah started teaching children in her Ati community with SI Kalibo providing the children's learning needs. Congratulations to Mispah and SI Kalibo! Mispah LIVED HER DREAM - and HER DREAM BECAME A REALITY

By Celestina C. Ng
SI Makati

 
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Last Updated: 27 Aug 2008