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Simone Gabrielle Balaba needs help to travel to US, avail of scholarship offer

By: Futch Anthony Inso - CDN Digital Correspondent | April 18,2023 - 08:14 PM

Simone Gabrielle Balaba and her parents visited the office of Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Annabeth Cuizon on Tuesday, April 18.

Simone Gabrielle Balaba (center) visited the office of Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Annabeth Cuizon (2nd from right) on Tuesday, April 18, with her parents. | Contributed photo

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – Simone Gabrielle Balaba may already be excited of the idea of studying in the United States, but she still has a lot of preparations to make.

On top of her list is the need to raise money that she could use for her travel.  Her family is also required to show a bank statement with deposits of at least P1.4 million as counterpart fund for her scholarship, according to Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Annabeth Cuizon.

“Kanang P1.4 million mao nay ilang counterpart sa scholarship. Unya ila gyud tan-awon sa school nga naa ka anang kwarta. Although dili na kuhaon sa school, to ensure lang nga naa ka anang kwarta,”  said Cuizon.

Cuizon said the city government would try its best extend whatever help it could to the young Oponganon.  She would also refer the girl to some benefactors and foundations that may be able to help in her financial needs.

Balaba, a resident of Barangay Basak, visited Cuizon’s office on Tuesday, April 18, with her parents.

Her father, Ray Anthony, is a government employee while her mother, Anne Gail, is a housewife.

Scholarship Offer

“Daghan-daghang gyud siya ug kinahanglanon kay dili man diay siya full scholarship. Akong gipangutana nga nganong dili kadtong eskwelahan nga mo-grant ug full scholarship? Miingon sila nga wala gyud kunoy full scholarship kuno. So wala. Naa gyud siyay bayranan,” Cuizon said in an interview with CDN Digital.

Balaba announced in a Facebook post that she received scholarship offers from ten US-based colleges.  The scholarship offer amounts to P55 million or $1.1 million.

Her scholarship offers came from Hollins University, Augustana College, University of La Verne, Fisher College, Hawai’i Pacific University, DePaul University, Knox College, Xavier University, Whitworth University, and The University of Akron.

Cuizon said that Balaba has already decided to accept the scholarship offer from Augustana College in Illinois as she plans to enrol in Creative Writing and Asian Studies.

Balaba, a Humanities and Social Sciences Strand (HUMSS) student at the Science and Technology Education Center (STEC) in Barangay Basak in Lapu-Lapu City, is now asking for help in order for her to pursue her dream of studying abroad.

Commitment Fee

“Ako lang siyang giingnan unsa man gyoy kinahanglanon nimo? Initial ba lang? So, mao to kinahanglan niya sa iyang enrolment kay kinahanglan pa sila mo-commit pa diay gyud sa eskwelahan kung mopadayon sila sa scholarshp. So if you would commit, naa kay bayranan nga $350 dollars, equivalent to P19,250,” Cuizon said.

In addition to the commitment fee, Balaba would also need to process her VISA and undergo US Embassy interview.

During their conversation, Cuizon said that Balaba’s parents admitted that they do not have cash to spend for their daughter’s studies abroad.

“Ako personally I will help her to scout mga benefactors. Naa ba ta ro’y NGOs nga pwede siguro motabang. We can approach mga foundations nga pwedeng motabang niya,” Cuizon said.

Cuizon said that she would also talk to Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan to determine the kind of support the city government could extend to her. / dcb

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TAGS: barangay Basak, financial assistance, Lapu-Lapu City, scholarship, US

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