Jhunnel Sarajan, a Filipino real estate professional, recently posted the above caption on his Facebook page, alongside a photo of a gaunt father watching his two young daughters eating at a fast-food chain. The “Selfless Father” image, posted on March 11, has since brought the family into the international spotlight, with offers of aid now flooding in from around the world.
The photo shows Ryan Arebuabo, 38, seated on a plastic orange chair, gazing down at his daughters, 8-year-old Rose Ann and 6-year-old Rose Mae, as they dig in to their fried chicken meals. Sarajan later learned that they had been celebrating Rose Mae’s upcoming graduation.
Once details of the family’s life came to light, it’s easy to see why so many people wanted to come to Arebuabo’s aid.
Four years earlier, Arebuabo had suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and with difficulty speaking. When he was unable to continue selling boiled corn around the neighborhood, he told Sarajan, his wife left him and took their two little girls.
Though he was unable to convince his wife to return, he did eventually gain custody of the children.
They now live in a plywood shanty in a poor area of Tondo, Manila; Arebuabo uses a combination of government-issued grants and the small income he makes selling everyday items from a stall cart – also provided by the government – to provide the necessities for his daughters.
It’s amazing that just one photo and a three-line caption rallied people from around the world to come to this family’s aid. In fact, Sarajan received so many requests for additional information about how people can help after seeing his initial post that he posted the following day with all the necessary information.