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Laundrywoman Sends All 6 Children to College

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Malou Certeza, a 67-year-old mother, has proven that love, hard work, and perseverance can overcome any obstacle. Despite facing poverty and a challenging economic situation, Certeza managed to put all six of her children through college.

Certeza’s journey began when her husband lost his job, leaving her as the sole breadwinner. She took on the demanding role of a laundrywoman, working for five different households to make ends meet. But Certeza’s dedication extended beyond providing for her family’s basic needs. She believed in the transformative power of education and encouraged her children to pursue four-year college degrees, despite the financial strain and skepticism from others.

“My eldest daughter, after coming home from school, would sell fried bananas and sweet potatoes to earn an allowance for the next day. My other child helps me with the laundry. My husband delivers the laundry and takes down the clothes once they are dry,” Certeza shared, highlighting the family’s collective effort to support their children’s education.

Certeza’s determination stemmed from a desire to break the cycle of poverty that had affected her own family. “With just two years of schooling, they could start working. But with four years, it means two more years of hardship for me. I want my children and grandchildren to have a good life,” she explained.

Her eldest daughter, Apple, graduated from college and fulfilled her promise to her mother: “I promised my mother that after I’m done studying, she won’t have to do the laundry anymore. I’ll lift you from poverty to inspire my siblings.”

Today, Certeza is enjoying the fruits of her hard work and sacrifices, witnessing her children’s success and the fulfillment of her dreams. “I have been dreaming of a house, and I now have my dream stove, sidecar, and car – that’s all. They say to dream big and work hard for it,” she said with a smile.


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