Jasmine is 15 years old with a beautiful smile and an infectious sense of humour. She is one of nine children that her mum works hard to clean, cook and care for in the slum they live in close to the “Smokey Mountain” area in Manilla, The Philippines.
Their tiny makeshift shack and worldly possessions are comprised of whatever Jasmine’s mum can scavenge from the local rubbish dump. In the summer they make do with their small plot tenement, with some of the older children sleeping under the stars at night, but In the rainy season it can be a hard life – their roof leaks and they have to squeeze into the only dry space, taking turns to sleep.
The family’s prospects were starting to look up when her older brother, who she hugely admired and looked up to, finished his education and got a good job. He was about to move his entire family, including Jasmine, out of the slum. Tragically, however, he was shot and killed when returning from work one evening.
Despite this horrific tragedy, Jasmine was determined to enrol in the small school in her neighbourhood with the support of the Hope for Children Walk 2 School programme – a project that helps children from some of the worst slums in Manilla access education by providing uniforms and school fees. This has helped turn her life around and she has amazingly secured a scholarship and continues to work hard to make the most of the support she receives. She is very proactive in class and balances her studies with extra–curricular activities, especially sport, and is top of her class!
She now dreams of one day becoming a lawyer. When asked why this profession, she replied: “So that people like my brother can get justice”