MANILA – Daniel Cabrera a Nine-year-old homeless Filipino boy touched hearts around the world after he was photographed doing his homework in the dim light of a McDonald’s carpark. Now the young boy’s determination has earned him more than just admiration.
Daniel Cabrera and his family were flooded with donations and offers of assistance after the moving image was posted online last month. It quickly went viral, amassing more than 8000 shares on Facebook.
“We’re overjoyed. I don’t know what I will do with all of these blessings,” Daniel’s mother, Maria Christina Espinosa, told AFP.
Daniel had received donations of cash, school supplies and a college scholarship, Ms Espinosa said.
It takes him much closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming “a policeman … and a doctor”.
“Now, Daniel will not have to suffer just to finish his studies,” said Ms Espinosa, who was left raising Daniel and his three siblings alone after her partner died from illness while in jail.
The family was often forced to sleep in the small food stall where Ms Espinosa works because they had no electricity at their home in Mandaue City.
But that couldn’t stop Daniel from diligently doing his grade three homework each night in the carpark of a nearby McDonald’s outlet.
“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,” Ms Espinosa said.
“He always tells me: ‘Mama, I don’t want to stay poor. I want to reach my dreams’.”
Daniel owned just one pencil which he guarded in his school bag with rosary beads. Now he has an endless supply of school stationery and several reading lamps.
The local church and social welfare office has also received aid on his behalf.
“Our problem is how to manage all this financial assistance,” Mandaue social welfare office chief, Violeta Cavada, told AFP.
“He has become a symbol of poor slum boys in the city who can’t study because they don’t have electricity.”
Ms Torrefranca said she was taken aback by Daniel’s diligent dedication to his homework.
“I’m fortunate my parents were able to send me to school,” she said. “I seldom go to coffee shops to study, but this kid just hit me. You really don’t need much, you just have to be determined and focused on the things that you want to achieve.”
Her friend, Giomen Probert Ladra Alayon, was with her when they spotted Daniel and he stopped to talk to the nine-year-old.
He said Daniel was completing a homework task to identify animals in English.
“This kid’s perseverance in studying makes this picture such an inspiration,” he posted online. “Despite the lack of personal space or inadequate lighting, still he chose to study. Keep it up kid!”