Bright Lights Student Success Story

Maricar’s Story

Hello my name is Maricar Ani. Growing up, I always felt unloved and of little value.  I am the middle child among five siblings. My parents are both plant vendors and they needed to travel around the Philippines to provide for our basic needs. Often times we were left alone by our parents and we just accepted that this was life and we embraced it.

When I graduated from Elementary in 2010, I was the Valedictorian. I was so happy because my parents came back home then to attend my graduation. However, my sister was also graduating Valedictorian from High School on that same day and time. To my dismay, they both attended my sister’s graduation and I was left alone without any one from my family applauding my Valedictory address.

manila poverty

A year later when I was only 13, my whole family except for me left for Manila to try their luck in a Plant Business. For almost two years I was alone, doing everything on my own until Typhoon Yolanda hit our hometown in Leyte and over 3000 people died.  The remaining residents in our area were transferred to Evacuation Centres. 

Scared, terrified and in a hopeless and helpless situation, I was uncertain of what would happen next.  I didn’t know when or if I would ever see my family again.   At that time, I felt angry and abandoned.

Our province was in a state of calamity at that time but no relief, donations, nor health assistance had reached our place and I found myself begging for food from our neighbours just to survive. It took three months before my mom rescued me. However, the moment I saw my mom, my anger disappeared.

I continued my schooling in Laguna, a two-hour drive from Metro Manila.  In this place things got worst. I was bullied in school and I started to hate the reality of life. I witnessed how my parents got hooked with vices, quarrelled and almost killed each other.  I have seen how my siblings cried for peace and I got to the point of asking God,

What have I done to deserve this?

In 2016, my parents parted ways and my mom brought us to the San Buena community in Metro Manila.  I was seeking for peace and love in this new place and came across the Bright Lights Center through our local church and met our Lord Jesus Christ.  At Bright Lights, I was assisted in my studies, I was given support and hope, help for my mother and family through 12 waves of food pack relief which enabled us to survive the Covid 19 Global Pandemic.  It is through Bright Lights that I felt loved, valued and supported.  I saw in these teachers and pastoral staff the real love of our God and found the strength to forgive my parents, extended family and ugly circumstances.

After being given the opportunity to finish my high school and a college degree in Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in English last April 2020, I was employed as a College Instructor but was laid off due to COVID19. Currently I am working at  VOICE OF GRACE COMPASSION MINISTRIES as the Sponsorship Coordinator for Bright Lights school.

Through Bright Lights, God rescued me from darkness to light, from fear to faith and from hopelessness to a bright future.

I am now convinced that God’s love is greater than all my failings and His ways and plans for me are more beautiful than mine.

I am Maricar Ani, a life that was changed, because of your generosity, love and prayers.  Never give up on helping others for you never know where they will end up in life.

At Bright lights, lives are being changed one by one… and I am one of them!  With my love and appreciation, Maricar.