"I'm only letting this be told because I'm being forced to. You keep your trap shut, or you'll regret it. That's not a promise, nor a threat. That's the future."
The Philippines isn't a first world country. Everyone is aware of that. So how come that even though everyone knows, why are there people starving in the country by the daily? Same reasons why every place in the world has someone starving on the streets.
To call what Zoraida experienced a childhood would be a pure, hard-hearted lie, and don't let anyone else convince you otherwise. She was the eldest daughter born to Nieves and Joseph Marasigan and at age four was stripped of any right to her childhood. Her father was always away, being a military man, and he died in war. Nieves was left with a mound of debts, no job, six kids to feed, and barely enough money to attend the funeral.
Zora and her siblings almost starved as their mother scrabbled to make ends meet. While the four year old insisted on wanting to help, even offering to give up school to help her mother, Nieves was stubborn and argued that "she should leave it to the adults and that she was just a child." This line of reasoning grated on Zora immensely, and when her mother's back was turned, she rebelled.
Stealing her classmates' lunch money was easy enough, and the young 'un's thieving streak was missed by the radar. She gave what little food she could spare to her siblings and ate as little as she could - just enough to get up and move and steal more. As she matured, innate criminal instincts resurfaced, and her knack for stealing was soon accompanied with manipulation, lying, and general chicanery. Learning the ways of the streets, Zora soon figured out the ostensible system and worked it to her favor. It wasn't a way a child should've grown up in. It wasn't a way any child should be conditioned to accept. Horrors that would've left most people screaming started to have zero effect on her.
Magic had not been in Zora's calculations, and it had certainly had made one hell of a bang when it came into her life. One moment some person was holding a knife to her throat, the next they were unconscious against the wall. That frightened and fascinated her to no end, but she quickly realized that relying on these outbursts would not be sensible in the slightest.
It almost seemed that everything was going along smoothly, but it wasn't. Zora was always hungry, no matter how long and hard she hunted. It was never enough, but they were recovering. Chip by chip, but recovering. Zora refused to allow her younger siblings to join her in her nightly escapades, and was firm in this statement. They could do nothing else but grudgingly oblige and turn a blind eye.
Knowledge of her family's magical heritage came to light when her invitation to PSS arrived. Her mother was mildly shocked, but apparently was fully aware of the wizarding world - Joseph had been a Squib while Nieves' parents had been magical. All in all, a frankly interesting day in Zora's life. This was, however, a crucial turning point, as it meant leaving her family for a good part of the year. Zora managed to construct a plan that would appease her mother's wishes for her to attend and still secretly support her family. Stealing from her now magical classmates and sending the money via owl to one of her siblings? Went pretty well in Zora's case. She was good
at not getting caught.