by Glenda B. Gutierrez
“We have sunk deep in debts,” narrates Toni Rose C. Fuentes, 17.
Thoni Rose, as she preferred her name to be spelled, is one of the out-of-school youth in Barangay 109, Tondo, Manila. She stopped schooling due to financial problems. She was then about to enter the third level of high school at the Antonio J. Villegas Vocational High School.
Though her father, Antonio, has a steady job as a butcher, her mother, Julie, has a penchant for material things. The latter would borrow from loan sharks. This has been a cycle of borrowing and payments. She would even borrow to pay previous loans.
“Life had been better when there were just two of us children,” relates Thoni Rose. “But there were three more and our mother’s loans became too big to manage. “
Their grandfather, who also lives with them, added to the family expenses. Their eldest, Jhenny Rose, is a high school graduate but has also stopped schooling and just laze at home.
Thoni Rose took advantage of the opportunity shared by a friend to enroll in the Alternative Learning System of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) in partnership with Barangay 109. She said free classes at the Barangay Hall has eased their family‘s financial burden. Added bonuses are free snacks and no uniform/shoe requirements.
She thanks the Lord God for answering her prayers. She enrolled at the Bookkeeping course of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) at the Don Bosco TVET Center in Tondo, Manila.
Indeed, Thoni Rose considers the ALS program a blessing. She is now a high graduate with a chance to better their lives. She vows to help her mother financially when she is able.
She thanks KKFI for guiding and teaching her. Indeed, KKFI is indeed a blessing to OSYs like her.