When she was nine years old, Rislie’s parents separated because of domestic violence. She then had to live with her grandmother’s sister. Her father was a farmer and her mother worked at carenderias.
Right after high school, she had to stop studying because her family could not send her to school. And because she was a minor at the time, she could not find a decent job even though she really wanted to. She ended up working at a bakery near their house, and after some time became a stay-in baby sitter for almost a year.
When she found out that one of her high school classmates, whom she knew also had financial problems, was studying at Cebu Normal University (CNU), she was surprised and thought that may be she too can enroll despite her situation. She decided to go to CNU, but because she did not know where it was she followed students wearing the CNU uniform until she got to their campus.
She inquired and was able to take the entrance exam with her own money from babysitting. However, after not receiving any results for months, she decided to inquire at another university; but the applications period had already passed. Recalling this, she expressed, “It was like my world crumbled.”
She eventually just decided to enroll to a different university despite the pricey tuition. She said, “In my heart, I really wanted to finish college.” But her babysitting employer advised her that continuing in the university is not wise since she cannot afford it in the long run. So despite having already paid the down payment, Rislie withdrew her enrollment without refund.
When the applications to CNU reopened the following school year, Rislie reapplied and got in. She then had to live with her aunt in Mandaue just outside Cebu City. They lived at an ice plant because her uncle was a worker there, and they were given a place to stay.
In her first year in college, one of her classmates sold snacks but she was not consistent in doing so that their other classmates would look for her goods. This inspired Rislie to sell biscuits, chips, and candies herself. She enjoyed earning her own money, and she eventually got into direct selling. It did not take long until she was an agent of five different beauty and clothing brands as well as an agent of a well-known insurance company.
It was in the middle of all these that Rislie’s perspective about managing her time changed. During her vacant hours, instead of resting, she would busy herself getting her clients’ orders and delivering it to them. She admits that at first she felt ashamed having to do all these, but when she saw how her businesses were helping her, she started enjoying what she did.
In her third year in college, she became a Real LIFE scholar. Victory Cebu’s senior pastor, Raymund Cañete, and our Real LIFE team had her transferred to a boarding house because her aunt and uncle’s place at the ice plant was not conducive to live in.
Rislie says that the best thing about being a Real LIFE scholar was “We got to experience so many exciting things. And even though I did not have parents or older siblings to guide me, I had my mentors and leaders.”
Just recently, Rislie graduated Cum Laude from Cebu Normal University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education – Early Childhood Education. She is now working as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher and is sending one of her nephews to school. At the same time, she is currently reviewing for the Licensure Exam for Teachers that she will take later this year. She also dreams to have her own business someday.
Rislie’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.