At 16 years old, fresh out of high school, Justine came to Metro Manila from Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte to become a housemaid. Because her father is a tricycle driver and her mother a housewife who is only on call for catering services, finances did not come easy for the family. She became a student assistant at the Human Resources office of her school to support herself.
When she became a Real LIFE scholar, she was grateful that Real LIFE not only provides financial assistance for its scholars, but also hones their character. In 2016, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy. The life lessons she learned as a scholar were put to the test when she worked at her first company.
Her manager had extramarital affairs with one of her co-workers. She approached her co-worker to advice her that what she was doing is not right. Her manager later told her not to tell his wife about the affair if she asked. To this, Justine responded, “Sir, we are poor. I only have integrity, and I cannot risk it. If your wife asks, I cannot lie to her.”
One night, the manager’s wife called her up and asked her if she knew anything about the affair. Because of hesitancy, she initially told only half of the story, but by the leading of the Lord, she met with the wife the following day to lay out everything she knew. They continued to correspond after this as Justine continued to pray for the manager’s wife. After some time, the wife told Justine that her prayer for reconciliation might be answered because she was no longer filing a case.
Justine recalled, “It was all painful because I’m not used to having people mad at me. But it’s okay, because God has to be glorified. It can be hard to stand for what is right. It’s easier to just shut up, but there was no peace in me. Whatever the results of standing for the truth, God will be there.”
As everything was happening, Justine was working under a contract and was already up for a regular position once her contract ends. But she chose not to accept the opportunity for regularization to avoid further friction and conflict. She now works for a different company, and believes that for this season in her life, God is calling her in the corporate world to be able to help her family financially. She is currently helping one of her siblings graduate.
Real LIFE teaches its scholars leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence. It is Real LIFE’s desire that all its alumni continue to live out these values long after they have graduated from the scholarship program. And because Justine continues to live a life of integrity, Real LIFE awarded her the Integrity Award of the Alumni Achievement Awards during the first ever Real LIFE Alumni Homecoming in April 2017.
Justine expressed, “When I got the award, I felt pressured that I have to keep my integrity. But God reminded me that as long as He is in me, it will come naturally. People say God gives the hardest battles to His bravest soldiers. But I’m not the one who’s brave. It’s because He is my Lord.”
Justine’s life is just one of the many that have been impacted by Real LIFE. Many more lives will be changed through the continuous support of our partners as we change a life and change the nation. To be part of the stories of our scholars, click here.