At the age of three, Cristy Bernado was adopted by her aunt when her parents could no longer afford to raise her. Reared by her kind aunt in San Carlos, Cristy met Ernesto, a young man with whom she fell in love and married before finishing high school. She bore two children, Daniel John and Justine. In 2003, they moved to Downtown Manila in search of a better life for their children. She was determined to be able to ‘afford’ to raise their children and avoid her and her parent’s fate.
In Manila Ernest drove a tricycle for a living, bringing home an average of $4 per day, while Cristy started a biscuits buy-and-sell business to help her husband provide for their needs. She borrowed from loan sharks for her start-up capital, only to learn that the interest rates were so high that making a profit was not even possible. Then she discovered Mentors Philippines. Cristy received her first microloan for $60 and with that purchased more inventory for her biscuit business. At that time she was earning just $5 a day. Today, Cristy is on her 14th loan cycle of $450 and is netting $34 per day. She has added frozen foods to her line of business and has purchased a refrigerator and a freezer. She plans to send her young sons to college and no longer worries about not being able to ‘afford’ her children.
Most of us have probably never had to give up our children because we couldn’t afford to raise them. Now, because of donations from people like you, Cristy and Ernesto don’t have to either.