41-year-old chicharon vendor earns education degree: ‘Poverty not a hindrance to success’

MANILA, Philippines – A 41-year-old vendor is set to graduate with a degree in education, all thanks to his chicharon.

Jesus Fuentes, a father of four and a breadwinner of his family, earned the praise and admiration of many netizens. At the age of 41, he proved that there’s no age limit when it comes to pursuing an education. He achieved his dream of finishing a degree in education while selling chicharon and providing for the needs of his family.

Jesus Fuentes achieves his dream of finishing college
Jesus Fuentes achieves his dream of finishing college as the juggles selling chicharon and studying | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ Jesus Fuentes

Jesus, who hails from Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, will graduate this August 2022 with a Bachelor of Elementary Education from Talisay City College.

In a Facebook post, Jesus used a Bible quote to thank God for his achievement. He wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to our God for always being there for me everytime when I needed him in all my ups and downs.”

Writing in Visayan, Jesus went on to share how his family supported him in achieving his dream.

“Next, I want to thank my family for supporting me. Despite us living in poverty, you supported me in finishing my education. All my hardwork is for you. Because of you, I was able to finish my studies and you are the reason why I wake up each day to work and sell. You’re my inspiration,” the translation stated.

According to Jesus, being poor shouldn’t be a hindrance to success. Instead, you should use it as an inspiration to work hard to reach your goals in life. He added that God will never leave you and will always be looking out for you. If you continue doing good things, God will give you the desires of your heart.

Born to a poor family, Jesus finished high school at the age of 22. He had to work odd jobs to survive. He worked as a gas boy and a promodiser before he started selling chicharon.

In 2018, he thought of his dream of becoming a teacher and inquired at the Talisay City College admissions. Luckily, the school was able to offer a schedule that allowed Jesus to report to school only 3 times a week. The setup allowed Jesus to continue working while studying.

During his class days, Jesus would bike to school bringing his chicharon. He would sell to his classmates, teachers, and other people in the school. Soon, he was able to “expand” his business because there were other students who were also willing to sell his chicharon. He would distribute his goods to other resellers and he would collect their payments at the end of the day.

Now that he’s at the end of his college journey, Jesus said he couldn’t believe he made it work for four years. He plans to look to take the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) but is still looking for a free review.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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