#KwentongEWaste | The Resilience and Power of Motherhood: How a Mother, ALS learner bagged the top prize at the Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project's Spoken Poetry Contest

Jonalyn Vinoya, an ALS (Alternative Learning School) junior highschool student and mother to two kids, bagged the first prize at the spoken poetry contest of the E-Waste to E-Learn Community Edition held last December. JOVER LARION/ECOWASTE COALITION

How did a 30 year old mom and ALS (Alternative Learning School) junior high school student win a national spoken poetry competition? The answer is simple  she wanted to be a great model to her kids, and give thanks to her mentors and school who believed in her talents and capabilities.

Jonalyn Vinoya is a mother of two children ages 4 and 1 years old. Being a mother in itself is hard, especially with all the demands and expectations society has placed upon them; however, Jonalyn still pushed through with ALS despite all the hardships because she wanted  a better life for herself and her children. She shared that her dream is to be able to teach, tutor, and guide her children once they enter formal school, and this is her everyday driving force to do her best in school.

Being a mom is hard; being a mother and a student is harder; but being a mom and a student while suffering in a global pandemic is a whole new level of hardship in itself. According to her favorite teacher, Teacher Sanrio Canilo, the hardest thing for ALS learners right now is connectivity since not everyone has the financial means to buy gadgets for learning.

So once Teacher Canilo heard about the Spoken Poetry Contest of the E-Waste to E-Learn Initiative under the Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project wherein the prizes were learning gadgets, she instantly grabbed the opportunity by encouraging her students to sign up. She believed that the gadgets will immensely help the winning students in terms of learning and accessing their modules. On top of this, she knew that it can also be a good learning opportunity for the students to know more about the harmful effects of e-wastes and how to properly dispose them.

“Noong nalaman ko yung mga harmful effects of PCB at e-waste, lalo na sa mga magulang at nag-eexpect ng baby, lalo ako na-motivate magsulat kasi ayoko maging biktima yung ibang mga nanay at soon-to-be-moms sa harmful effects nito lalo na sa kalusugan.”

One of the students Teacher Canillo tapped was Jonalyn due to her love for the English subject. Jonalyn said that she was hesitant at first since her only experience in writing is song writing, but because of her love for her school and learning, she wholeheartedly agreed and signed up. And once she learned about all the harmful effects of PCB-WEEE, she became more inspired. She explained, “Noong nalaman ko yung mga harmful effects of PCB at e-waste, lalo na sa mga magulang at nag-eexpect ng baby, lalo ako na-motivate magsulat kasi ayoko maging biktima yung ibang mga nanay at soon-to-be-moms sa harmful effects nito lalo na sa kalusugan.

Jonalyn claimed that she doesn’t want any other mother and children to be affected by the harmful effects of mismanaged e-wastes. Through her poem, which was written together with her partner, they painted a picture of how children playing in the mountain of trash is so normalized. And through their poem, they wanted to open the eyes of the readers why this is wrong, how harmful mismanagement of e-wastes are, and what we can do about it.

When asked if they were expecting to win the contest, she said, “Noong nanalo kami, nashock kaming dalawa. Nashock kami nung tinawag ang Camarin, lalo na’t nung time na yun wala kaming practice. Before winning, ang isip lang namin ay kahit na manalo o matalo kami, at least ma-experience namin, lalo na yung learning kung paano sumali sa ganoong competition.

Indeed, Jonalyn has shown that we can achieve anything as long as we know and are passionate about our “why.” According to Jonalyn, she did it for her children’s future; for Teacher Canillo who truly believed in her; for Camarin High School that made learning accessible for people like her; and lastly, for all the people who are victims of the climate crisis, especially the mismanagement of e-wastes.

She said that if given another opportunity like this, she would grab it in a heartbeat. The competition prizes have tremendously helped her in finishing her tasks and modules in school, and she said that she will forever be grateful for the project and the organizers. 

Hopefully, the gadgets will further help and inspire her to graduate high school with flying colors. Because at the end of the day, that’s the goal of the project  to educate people about the harmful effects of mismanaged e-wastes and to help people like Jonalyn. | PATRICIA NICDAO