Siblings Share One Cellphone, Study at Mall Stairs While Selling Face Masks and Shields


A pair of siblings had to share one cellphone and study at the mall stairs while they sell face masks and face shields to passersby. Though kids are supposedly not allowed to go out of their house to protect them against the virus, their mom said that she’s left with no choice but to do it because of financial hardships.

Jenny Mae Sumbilla, a Grade 5 student, shares her mother’s cellphone with younger sister, Alexis Valdeavilla in North Caloocan. Every day, the siblings accompany their mom to this spot to help her sell face masks and face shields.

Photo credit: GMA News

But now that school has started again, the siblings are juggling time to sell the goods and also study their printed learning modules. Because the Department of Education (DepEd) is using the blended learning system, the children do not go to a physical school to study but when they do have things to pass or stuff that needed to be researched, they had to share their mother’s cellphone.

It was a good thing that Jenny Mae’s schedule for her online classes are in the afternoon while Alexis has hers in the morning. However, the arrangement is still difficult for the siblings though they don’t complain about it.

Photo credit: GMA News

Alexis wishes to become a doctor or teacher so she can help others when she’s older while Jenny Mae hopes to become a teacher. Their mother, Nanette Valdeavilla, vowed to make sure that her children can all go to school but admits that this will be extra hard for her. According to Nanette, she’s the only one raising her children as she is separated from her husband.

Moreover, Jenny Mae and Alexis are just two of Nanette’s six children. The single mom shared that the kids are also experiencing bullying at school due to their situation, but she continues to hope that they can finish their studies.

Photo credit: GMA News

Naaawa nga ako kasi minsan inaasar sila na bakit nandito daw sila sa kalye. Eh wala naman akong magagawa kasi wala namang gagabay sa kanila, walang tutulong, ako lang. Minsan binu-bully din siya, kasi minsan pumapasok sa school walang baon, makapag-aral lang siya,” she said.

Nahihirapan ako ma’am kasi simula noong naghiwalay kami ng asawa ko lahat cargo ko. Naaawa din po ako kasi dito po sila nag-aaral.

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The kids hope that they can have their own cellphones and headset so they wouldn’t have to wait until the other one is finished. However, that’s a big challenge for their mother who only earns about Php300 to Php500 a day but has 6 mouths to feed at home…


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