Young Daniel Cabrera’s dogged dedication to his education—captured on camera by a Manila medical student—has moved thousands to consider how far hard work and gratitude can take someone.
The 9 year old boy has lost his home, his father, and has been forced to beg on the streets with his mother, but none of these immense hardships have caused him to waver. In the photo that’s gone viral, the little boy can be seen sitting on the pavement beside a McDonald’s, using the light pouring out from the restaurant windows to do his school homework.
But though there’s been a great deal of discussion about how Daniel’s cheerful devotion to his work should be upheld as an example for all of us, it’s not just been all talk and social media shares.
Donations of cash, school supplies, and even a college scholarship have poured in the wake of Daniel’s unlikely fame. His mother, Christina Espinosa, is stunned by this generosity:
“"We're overjoyed. I don't know what I will do with all of these blessings.”
The 42-year-old widow works as a grocery store employee and a domestic helper, and makes only 80 pesos ($1.77) a day—nowhere near enough to provide a comfortable life for her three youngest children, who currently live with her in the mini-grocery store where she works.
"He is a very studious and determined boy... He would insist on going to school even without his lunch money because I have no money to give,"
But now, Daniel’s noble dream of becoming a police officer is well within their reach. He's even been welcomed by the Mandaue City Police Office to tour their headquarters.
"He always tells me: 'Mama, I don't want to stay poor. I want to reach my dreams'."
“Now Daniel will not have to suffer just to finish his studies.”
This new chapter in Daniel’s life is a happy one—and well deserved. But it’s important to remember that Daniel is one of many “poor slum boys in the city who can’t study because they don’t have electricity,” as social welfare office chief Violet Cavada says.
My heart aches for this child and all other homeless babies around the globe. We must do better by each other. http://t.co/ljok2CFz8S— Halfrican American (@lenubienne) July 9, 2015
The Philippines has had strong economic growth recently, but around a quarter of the population still lives on less than a dollar per day. Let’s make sure the generosity and compassion that the world has shown Daniel continues for all the other little boys and girls whose names we are yet to know.