Dev2 Academy Blog Summary from “The Philippines – The Slum Episode 6: “Breaking Out” – film by Paul Roy, Al Jazeera

Dear readers,

This is the sixth summary for the six-part film series, “The Slum”.

In Aroma slum, Jessa shares a one room house with a family of nine. When the family moved to Tondo 15 years ago, they worked as scavengers. Now, Jessa has won a ballet scholarship to attend classes for 5 years. And she learns she has been selected for a solo performance in the Nutcracker alongside prima ballerina, Lisa Macuja. “Sometimes I look in the morning and say, is that really you?”

Jessie is a top ranked mixed martial arts fighter in the Philippines.  In a few weeks, he will be competing with top international competitors across the Pacific. As of now, he is training for the big day. Jessie earns his keep at the gym by cleaning the gym and teaching children for free. He reflects on his past life in the slums and how he hopes to train till his thirties then open a gym. On the day of his fight, he is recovering from a twisted knee and a sudden fever. Despite the hard work and months of training, Jessie’s injuries fail him and his fight lasts exactly one minute and fifty seconds. He declares, “This is my last. I don’t want to fight anymore.”

17 year old, Justine lives with her family in Tondo. She explains that education is important when applying for jobs. A high school diploma can barely make the mark. A college diploma is essential. To increase the chance of work, Justine and her brother, Garek take up a housekeeping course. But what Justine really wants to do is model. To gain more exposure and earn money, she enters beauty pageants, fashion shows and talent shows. “I always worry about what we’ll eat, things like that but I never lose hope. I know the Lord won’t give us problems we can’t solve. I tell myself I can do it, these are just trials. Other people comment how we don’t seem to get tired with all that we do. I tell them I don’t get tired because it is all for my family.”