She is known to many as Dr. Dayo or Ma’am Helen, the Women’s Rights Champion and GAD Expert.
For me, she is Lola H, a mentor and a mother.
My mother passed away when I was still young. Thus, I constantly searched for a mother figure. I found one in Lola H.
When I was still in college, I would go to her office during my free time and we would sit down for a cup of coffee or tea. I just wanted to pick her brains. She was wise yet unassuming, and had many interesting stories to tell. She would share about her experiences as a graduate student at The Hague in Netherlands, her research projects, and her vision for Filipino women.
She let me read the books and journals from her bookshelf. She let me help her organize the activities of the Center where she was the Director.
She encouraged me to optimize my strengths and make learning a lifelong habit.
What I’m most grateful for is that she inspired me to take an active part in nation building and to work on projects that have lasting social and environmental impact.