A homeless Filipino boy has been overwhelmed with aid after a photograph of him studying on the pavement using faint light from a McDonald’s outlet went viral on the internet.
Nine-year-old Daniel Cabrera will now be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a policeman after donations of cash, school supplies and a college scholarship poured in, his mother, Christina Espinosa, said on Friday. “We’re overjoyed. I don’t know what I will do with all of these blessings,” said Ms. Espinosa, a 42-year-old grocery store employee and domestic helper. “Now, Daniel will not have to suffer just to finish his studies.”
The photograph, posted on Facebook last month by a college student, showed Daniel doing his homework on a wooden stool placed close to a McDonald’s window to catch the light from the store. The 20-year-old medical technology student, Joyce Torrefranca, captioned her Facebook post: “I got inspired by a kid.”
It was then shared close to 7,000 times on the social networking site and reported by local television. Local politician Samuel Pagdilao, of the Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement & Support (ACT-CIS) party, awarded Daniel an unspecified “scholarship grant”, ABS-CBN reported. The local police force also raised funds and provided groceries for the family. Ms. Espinosa and her three youngest children, including Daniel, have been living in her employer’s mini-grocery store since their shanty home was gutted by fire five years ago.
Ms. Espinosa described her son as a tenacious child with a single-mined focus on getting an education. “He is a very studious and determined boy… he would insist on going to school even without his lunch money because I have no money to give,” Ms. Espinosa said. “He always tells me: ‘Mama, I don’t want to stay poor. I want to reach my dreams’.”
Ms. Espinosa said, aside from the cash, school supplies and a scholarship offer that would guarantee his education through college, people had given school uniforms and a reading lamp. The local church and government social welfare office had also received aid on his behalf. “Our problem is how to manage all this financial assistance,” said Violeta Cavada, the city’s social welfare office chief. “He has become a symbol of poor slum boys in the city who can’t study because they don’t have electricity.”