Do you remember the young boy who went viral after a photo of him while studying on the pavement and using faint light from a McDonald’s outlet in Cebu?
In 2015, 9-year-old Daniel Cabrera made rounds on social media and captured the hearts of many with his photo showing his determination to study despite his difficult situation. The photo was taken by a college student from Cebu Doctors’ University (CDU), Mandaue City Campus named Joyce Torrefranca.
Daniel’s widow mother, Maria Christina Espinosa has to take care of her three kids with her job as a caretaker of food stall during the evening and a laundry woman during the day. She only earns Php60/day with these jobs, that’s why they can’t afford to rent a proper space for her kids to sleep.
“It’s tough to have no husband. In one day, we only get to eat twice. Sometimes, I wait for someone who wants their laundry done by me,” his mother told Cebu Daily News.
In the evening they would sleep in the food stall which is close to the McDonald’s outlet where Daniel was photographed studying. She would only use flattened out boxes on the floor and put some chairs around to protect themselves from stray animals.
Daniel was only a Grade 3 student at Subangdaku Elementary at the time. He regularly visits the McDonald’s outlet at the North Reclamation Area and uses the light of the store so that he can study his lessons and finished his homework.
The young boy is determined to go to school because he dreams of becoming a policeman someday.
After his photo went viral, the young boy and his family received a stream of aid from different groups who were moved by his inspiring story. Daniel also received a scholarship grant, including a Php 1,500 monthly allowance and school supplies from McDonald’s branch in Cebu which would last until high school.
Fr. Carmelo Diola of the Dilaab Foundation Inc. gave a cash donation worth Php 3,000 which his mother used for the down payment of a room where the family is currently staying. The family was also given financial assistance to start a small sari-sari store business.
On top of that, a Mandaue police official promised to support his college education.
Now at 13, Daniel already finished elementary and will soon be enrolled in junior high school and hopes to take up BS Criminology in college.
In return for all the help he received, he promised to focus on his studies and perform well in school. Just recently, Daniel received an award for ‘Best in Math’ and ‘Best in Attendance.’
Daniel and his mother were very grateful to all the people who helped them to start a new life.