by Glenda B. Gutierrez
At the age of 15, Rachelle Cruz had to stop her formal education because “I got pregnant and got married.” Rachelle, still a teenager at 19, is very candid about. Yet one can sense regret in her voice.
She has reached the second level of high school and she is determined that the change of her marital status would not be a barrier. She knew that she has her whole life ahead of her and the lack of education would not stop her from dreaming of a better life.
Rachelle admitted that she lost her self-confidence when she got pregnant. She thought her future would be bleak. She said her mother, who is into direct selling of beauty products, supported her financially.
But Rachelle is a resourceful person. She buys goods from Divisoria, a business center in Manila, and sells them online.
“I earn enough for my baby’s milk,” narrates Rachelle.
Rachelle and her friend, Jonalyn Villaruel, were among those who enrolled in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) at the St. Peter United Methodist Church (UMC) in Navotas City.
She was among the youth who were visited by staff members of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) to promote ALS.
“I enrolled in ALS because I want to have a well-paying and stable job,” says Rachelle.
Despite the difficulties due to her second pregnancy, she persevered. She studied at home whenever she was unable to go to class. She was advised by her doctor to rest near when her due date neared.
She initially thought that she would not pass the Accreditation and Equivalency Examination. That was how low her self-esteem was. Drawing inspiration from her children, she studied hard, reviewing thoroughly for the exam. Imagine her joy upon the knowing the results.
She is passed the entrance examination and interview of the Don Bosco TVET Center for the Bookeeping course of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Their classes will start this November 2016. She plans to look for a job to save for a college education. She dreams of putting up her own business or a restaurant.
Rachelle is slowly but surely regaining her self-confidence that she once lost.


By Jenny Santos Gayondato


I moved to the dormitory of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) in 2013 after I was burglarized in the dormitory I previously stayed in. To a student like myself then (I was in my third year in college), losing a laptop computer, a wallet and clothes all in one night can be totally devastating and tragic.

Indeed, I was traumatized enough that I had to look for another place. A safer place. It should also by convenient proximity-wise to McDonald’s in Mendiola, where I worked part-time, I thought.

I started to ask around and it was a blessing that I had a classmate who told me she was staying in this dormitory called KKFI. I went to P. Paredes street just across my school, the Far Eastern University (FEU), surveyed the compound, found it to my liking, especially its affordable rental fee, and the rest is history. A very pleasant history that goes on still to this day.

Now, I am still staying at KKFI even though I already graduated from college and have passed the Medical Technology Board Exam. Why? For many reasons.

Jenny Santos Gayondato

One, my workplaces are near here. I work at Mary Chiles General Hospital as a junior medical technologist. I am also a part-time lecturer at Lemar Review Hub and Pioneer Educational Review Center. I also work part-time as a faculty member of FEU-Manila.

I am also taking up my master’s degree in Medical Technology at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) located on Taft Avenue in Manila.

Hence, a big “check” in the proximity factor.

Moreover, I love the serene surroundings of KKFI (to think that it is located in the middle of the University Belt of Manila with all its hustle and bustle). Aside from the peaceful surroundings, it is student-friendly because it has a library and many study areas and peaceful spots where anyone can study or meditate or be with one’s self.

I really think the KKFI environment it helped me focus in my studies. While staying in the KKFI dormitory, I finished my bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology from the Far Eastern University magna cum laude (modesty aside).

I passed the board examination given by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in September 2015 and God blessed with the 10th place, among the 4,000 test takers, with an average of 89.30 percent.

I have other reasons to adore KKFI dorm. It is among the few dorms that still hold activities for its residents, like the Welcome and Orientation Party every time a semester starts. Then, there’s the Christmas Party (always a much-anticipated event).

I tip my hat off to the KKFI staff for their efforts in preparing memorable events year in and year out, while being very kind and understanding on a daily basis. The guards, for example, would always ask me how my day went whenever I get “home.”

The dormitory facilities are not perfect, not yet, anyway (although I observed that improvements are being done constantly), but I like it just the way it is, nevertheless.

What I love about the KKFI dormitory is the fact that 100 percent of its income goes to its many programs that benefit the poor and the marginalized people. After all, the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. is the social development institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

In very clear way, I, as a dorm resident who pays my rent, is helping the less fortunate. Extra-ordinary, isn’t it?