Kahirayan ay hindi sagabal sa tagumpay

Translation: Poverty is not a hindrance to success.


This Filipino proverb was passed down from my informant’s mother, who worked several jobs and had to raise six children on her own. She believes that it reflects the lifestyle in which she grew up as a child in a low-middle income Filipino neighborhood where people were less prosperous than most Filipinos, let alone Americans. As a result, my informant spent most of her time working and helping out her mom. As she was the youngest child, her brothers would also do the same thing and eventually most of them would move to the US, where they encountered varying degrees of success. This proverb was also passed down to her child, who managed to enter USC through scholarship.

I believe this proverb is reflective of this family’s history, showing how they encountered success despite coming from a non-affluent background. I also think that the generality of this statement can also be applicable to other situations outside this family since it shows that the American Dream can actually come true and proves that social mobility can occur in other places outside America.