The greatest blessing to ever have is the opportunity to bless others. This is our goal here at Ripple VAs— to create more waves of hope, inspiration, and generosity for the future generation.
Our scholarship program started last year, with our two brilliant and hardworking scholars: Jayle and Kim. This 2021, they are still here with us, and we have added two new scholars to give financial support to. We also aim to help them hone their skills by involving them in some of our company’s projects, and to guide them in their spiritual and humanitarian journey.
We are so blessed to be able to become a part of the lives of these two new scholars, who both have a passion towards learning, towards justice, and towards community-building.
Meet Nielson and Serg!
NIELSON VILLARCAMPO GOMERA
“I believe that I am a resemblance of a ripple. I make the ocean move without being as destructive as the surge.”
Such are the powerful words of Niel, one of the new scholars at Ripple VAs— and deservedly so. He has been through so much adversities in life, but he has also overcome all of them. His life is a blessing, and his unending hope and passion towards his dreams inspire us here at Ripple.
Niel is currently a college student taking up BA Political Science, as he aspires to be a lawyer someday. He was also the former SSG President at Pusok National High School (S.Y. 2016-2017), a Red Cross member, and a former feature writer and journalist all throughout his high school years.
His love for his passions and for his dreams have been shaped since he was young, because his family has always filled him with joy and inspiration. His father works as a Security Guard, his mother was an ex-sewer and is now a diligent housewife. Niel is the eldest of the three children of my parents and the anticipated breadwinner, and his brother and sister are students at Pinamungajan National High School.
“Like most families, we have been experiencing a plethora of adversities in life, but we were able to surmount them with the help of the Dividend Providence,” Niel says. The greatest challenge they faced as a family was on May 21, 2017, when they were one of the hundreds of victims during the fire incidents at Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City where they once lived. “That was a big turning point in our lives, but eventually we got back on our feet and continued braving all the storms that came our way.”
However, where there are storms, there are also rainbows. Niel talks about the things that make him happy, and a few of these are lying down on his bed while reading books, magazines, and articles, and binge-watching YouTube videos. He also loves going to low-cost beach trips with his family and friends.
Niel also shares his love for literature. “As a reader, listener and an audience, I always desire for something that astonishes me and makes me motivated in life. Novels like Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist and Mitchell Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie are books that captivate my soul and teach me to always grasp the littlest hope in the darkest of times.”
The hope he is looking for is the hope that is in him, too. He is the light in his loved ones’ life, and he wants nothing more than to live life with his whole heart on his sleeve.
“My purpose in life is to be happy. To radiate this happiness to my family, relatives and to all the people around me. I want to see their bright smiles, and use the capability that God gave me. I want to create a positive impact on the community as well as glorify the greatness of my Creator.”
Not only does Niel want to elevate the moods and feelings of other people; he also dreams to elevate them from social injustice, poverty, and inequality. Ten years from now, he envisions himself as a lawyer—defending the rights of the exploited, the deprived and the marginalized.
On a more personal note, Niel shares his dreams for himself and his family:
“Ten years from now, I already have my own house with my family living in it happily. Ten years from now, I'll be travelling to my favorite destinations (e.g. Maldives, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Norway, Germany, Netherlands & etc.) and will be involved in various humanitarian programs.”
With Niel’s skills, hardwork, and incessant faith, we have no doubt that his dreams are within his reach. We at Ripple are grateful to be part of his life and to help him in small ways, so he can build a life he wants for himself, his loved ones, and for the society.
“The opportunity that Ripple Vas has offered me is a blessing. This will greatly help my family's financial inadequacy to sustain my education and the education of my two younger siblings. But beyond that, the opportunity will also help myself to be exposed in various people with amazing intellectual wavelengths,” Niel expresses.
“I think there is a bigger reason why I became one of the Ripple VAs scholars, and I'm ready to discover that reason with the company and with the people I may work with during my journey.”
As one of the recipients of Ripple VA’s scholarship, Niel looks back at his most challenging times in life, as well as his proudest ones.
“After the fire incident that victimized our family, I helped my mother to earn a living and sold ice candies at school. The money that I acquired was spent for our daily necessities and for the educational needs of my siblings. Throughout those years, I endured the adversities and managed to graduate as the school's top student. My proudest moment in life was when I was able to graduate as a Senior High School student, holding several medals hung on my neck. At that time, I felt that I had my loved ones with me when I walked on the stage — my family, relatives and all the people who helped me to reach the triumph I attained.”
Nielson is indeed a ripple of positive impact, and with him joining us at Ripple, we will be able to make more waves of kindness, compassion, and love.
SERG JHUN CALIBAT
“I believe in the audacity of hope, helping us to be daring, strong, and courageous.”
If there is anyone that believes in the hope of humanity despite the crises we have faced all throughout our existence, it is no other than one of our new scholars at Ripple— Serg Jhun Calibat.
Serg is currently taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Social Studies at Negros Oriental State University. Since 2015, he has been an enthused community volunteer and youth facilitator in Gaba-an Youth Lead and became its President for the service year of 2017-2018.
“As a boy, I was inquisitive. Since childhood, I had always been eager to ask my family elders about social issues."
This curiosity led him to dig deeper into various concepts and ideas, and his desire to share his knowledge to the world has inspired him to pursue one of the noblest professions there is: teaching. “In 10 years, I can see myself facilitating my own university class as a licensed teacher and a juris doctor.” He also wants to take up law because he is terrified that maybe there will come a day where we are all stripped of our rights, dignity, and freedom. He wants to make sure that day will never come.
As for his love for knowledge, for teaching, and for leading is sustained because of his mother, who has always been his inspiration in life. “She has in her the purest love more than I could ask for. As my strongest believer and supporter, she will always remind me to think about failures as stepping stones to success, that I need to aspire more and stick to what I believe in and dream of,” Serg says, adding that his mother constantly reminds him that whatever his dreams are, “they will become.”
Of course, his journey in life is not without bumps in the road. He shares with us his biggest personal challenge, which occured when he was in high school.
“I became susceptible to pleasures and temptations. It was a perilous time, for I had to deal with my own inner demons, and as a result I became indolent. I drowned into my own abyss. My health deteriorated, and my anxiety was ever-increasing. To deal with this experience, I tried my best to cast away the sources of bad influence, and I rekindled my goals and aspirations. I tried reaching out to honest and good people within my circle, and then I started to motivate myself, revisit my values, and do community work as my way of repenting and getting back on track.”
Serg has developed healthier coping mechanisms to be able to deal with life’s challenges better, and he shares with us his joy towards listening to songs, singing, watching movies, volunteering, and traveling. These are the things that make him feel free.He has also learned a lot about life from reading books, which taught him to love himself more, to accept his flaws, to deal with his insecurities, to cope with failures, and by being adventurous as his approach to life. He shares to us his favorite line from Rick Riordan, the author of Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
"If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself."
Serg is still uncertain what his purpose in life is, but he believes that it will be unraveled and seen in the things he is and will be pursuing, and on how he deals with the experiences. He wishes to be remembered as someone who had done something worth achievable that ended a crisis and changed lives.
“I am proud that I have lived most of my days making my own choices, for I have learned unexpected things. What I am mostly proud about was becoming a community volunteer, because I was able to share my stories to others, while at the same time listening and learning from them as well. Unconscious of the magical effect, when I lended my hands to change lives I was also changing mine.”
Here at Ripple VAs, we are glad to have someone like Serg, who uses his knowledge and good heart to help out the marginalized and vulnerable sectors in his community.
“I offer my biggest thank you to Ripple VAs for opening a door this year by making me one of their academic scholars. From this, I am intrinsically motivated and I feel even more blessed. They have already influenced my personal learnings through the many stories they have shared especially in their blog — which awed and inspired me. I am looking forward to learning more from my experiences here at Ripple, while at the same time developing my spiritual bearing, character, and skills.”