Princess Jane has been enrolled in Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) since 2019. Her mother, Carmela, admitted that being in the SNP program of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) has done a lot of good for her child.

Both mother and daughter refused to allow the lockdown the government implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 virus starting in March 2020 to stop Princess Jane intellectual, social, and psychological development and insisted on enrolling the child to SNP, albeit, online.

Carmela has been a fan of SNP even before the lockdown. The first year she enrolled Princess Jane, the latter has shown visible progress. She could easily identify different colors and parts of the body. She has become conscious in her manner of speaking and she intentionally uttering certain “bad words.” Instead, she learned to use the words “po” and “opo” to show respect to elders.

“A virtual SNP is much better than not having SNP at all,” Carmela reasoned. The SNP, a community-based school based in MNC, aims to be a venue for a child’s value formation.

Although virtual classes need getting used to, Princess Jane managed to join every session. At her age, Princess Jane loves to impart to her young siblings what she learns from her SNP teacher. Perhaps, she is turning out to be a future teacher herself.

Princess Jane and her mother live inside the Manila North Cemetery (MNC) compound. They are among thousands of MNC residents who belong to a sector called the “urban poor.” In the larger marginalized sector of the urban poor, the MNC residents are ostracized because of the stigma of literally living among the dead. Indeed, they dwell inside mausoleums or in-between graves.

Given a choice, they would rather live somewhere else but are too poor to actually do it. But not even poverty can stop them from dreaming that their children will have a better life than theirs. Their hope is for their children to have proper education, land good-paying jobs or have an opportunity to put up even a small business so they can save enough money to buy a house or rent an apartment outside MNC.

It is a long and difficult process that requires much patience and determination. For Princess Jane, SNP is the first small step in her thousand-mile journey.

Joining KKFI’s SNP program has provided an apparent edge to Princess Jane over her playmates in MNC. This boosted her confidence tremendously. It shows in the way she carries herself and the way she interacts with children her age.

It is particularly crucial to build the confidence of a person at an early age. The same goes with someone’s values and faith. Carmela is wise to insist that her daughter continue her participation in SNP.

She needs not to give on her dream of a life beyond MNC; who knows, she might still make it. God moves in mysterious ways. But she is not wrong in nurturing this dream in Princess Jane. After all, it’s a mother’s, nay, parent’s, instinct to pass on a dream to her child.

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