For Christmas, Lizelle went to Quebec. There she took a picture of Santa … Turns out, Santa may exist in real life…
This is Lizelle. She loves life, New York, Karaoke and Christmas! She’s from South Africa.
I met this superstar at the Maya’s Hope Glitter Karaoke. Soon after, she sponsored a girl in the Philippines.
I wrote her one day: We’re sending Christmas presents… do you want to send a gift?
Lizelle wrote: What does Diana want? I want to get her something she wants.
So I asked Diana.
Diana was introduced to me via email by a reporter named Edmund. He sent me her story.
Seventeen-year-old Diana is a third year student in High School in Quezon City, Philippines.
Diana is second in a brood of five who all depended on their laborer-father. But with his meager income, the father could hardly support the family’s daily needs. When their mother got ill, she died without being seen by a doctor in October 2008.
Soon the surviving family members got separated from one another. Diana doesn’t live with any of her siblings anymore—one, an elementary student, stays with an aunt on the father’s side also in Quezon City; while she has lost touch with the other three who lived with their father in a far flung town in the province of Samar. The last thing she’s heard was that her three siblings have been abandoned by their father.
At present, Diana is staying with her mother’s sister in a cramped house in a slum/depressed area Quezon City. Her aunt, a housewife, has 9 children—4 of which are in high school and elementary, two are factory workers, and the rest unemployed. None of her aunt’s children got to college. Her aunt’s husband is a jeepney driver, whose income is not enough to support them all.
Despite their situation, Diana wouldn’t give up her education and her aunt is doing her best to help Diana finish high school. But there are times whenDiana had to miss school because there’s no money for her food and transportation.
Diana is an “above average” student, according to her teacher who is helping her to just get by. Ms. Mance, her teacher, said Diana was once on top of her class (No. 1) during her first year in high school. But she was not able to sustain it the following year due to absences, and failure to submit projects and meet other requirements for lack of funds. In fact, she only has one set of school uniform which she has been using since her freshman days.
Last year, in her sophomore year, she passed out several times in school due to hunger. At the time, she was living with her father’s cousin, who maltreated her and didn’t feed her regularly. She later moved to her present aunt who is treating her well. The present aunt is also poor and helpless but she treats her well like a family member and supports Diana’s dream to become a teacher someday that’s why she never discouraged her from pursuing her studies.
Ms. Mance said Diana is a precious human being–bright, driven and kind-hearted. The young girl has a lot of potential and helping her fulfill her goals in becoming a teacher will benefit not just herself and her family, but her community as well. Someday, when she becomes a professional, she is hopeful of being reunited with her four siblings and their father.
When I posted her story on Facebook, Lizelle decided to sponsor Diana right away.
Diana’s Christmas Wish
Thank you very much, I had received the stipend last September. I promise that I’m going to study very hard and make updates about my school standing…
Regarding the sponsor who is interested in getting for me something special, I badly need of dental assistance because I lost my front teeth due to tooth decay. It was extracted naturally.I need a denture to fix the lost teeth for my oral hygiene. Thanks again Ma’am Maya.
Lizelle was determined to make this wish come true. She sent email after email following up on the procedure.
On December 7th, I finally received an email from Diana. The first time I saw a picture where she was smiling.
Thank you very much mam Maya, and pls. extend my warmest thanks to my sponsor for the wonderful gift. I will now have a confidence facing people that I can give a sweet smile when talking with them. Again thanks for all the generosity and may God bless you both.
Attached is my picture and my report card.
Diana’s Christmas wish came true! She got her smile back… all thanks to a Santa from South Africa named Lizelle.
Thank you to Lizelle for restoring Diana’s smile and confidence!Perhaps Santa exists after all!
If you think that’s impressive… Look at what Dave Kovach did!
I thanked him by making a video.
Read Diana’s first letter!
Hello, ms. Maya Rowencak
I am Diana C., a 3rd year high school student. I am earnestly hoping that I will be part of Maya’s Hope because I really want to be able to finish my schooling so I can fulfill my dream of helping my family and helping my other siblings. I apologize for not having responded to your email sooner because I did not have an email account and there is no computer at my aunt’s house where I currently live. Ma’am Mance’s child opened an email account for me but she is always busy at college too. I am here at Ma’am Mance’s house today to email you. We don’t have classes today because of Ramadan. I promise you that I will study harder. I was top one during my first year high school but I did not make it during 2nd year high school because I got sick for 2 months but my general average was 84. I am very grateful to you and Maya’s Hope for your generosity and concern!!!
Thank you very much
Diana is doing good in all of the subjects.. The teacher marked the first grading ” It’s a good start, keep it up.” – wrote her teacher.