Emotions and Freezing the Moment

By Maria Abigail Ambay

I was invited by Ate Glenda Gutierrez, communication officer of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), to attend a free photography workshop. “A photography workshop for free?” I asked just to be certain and when Ate Glenda assured me it would cost me nothing, I blurted out, “Count me in!”

It was called “Photo-Voice Workshop” and it took three days to finish, from November 29 to December 1, 2018. The venue of the workshop was at Gilead Center, a KKFI-owned farm-cum-retreat-center located in the town of Pulilan in Bulacan. Little did I know that it would teach me a lot.

On the first day, our mentor, Prof. Allan Cledera, taught us the basic lessons we needed to know in photography, such as angling, framing, lighting and other simple things that I could hardly remember because, I had to admit, I wasn’t listening as intently as I needed to. I told myself that I already knew these things, so what’s the use?

I learned very soon after that answer to my “what’s the use?” when he ordered us to capture and freeze in picture moving ants, among other “simple” things.

How I regretted not listening! In any case, I learned to see ordinary things in an extra-ordinary way. The rules of photography “forced” me to look and listen into even the simplest things around me that I only ignored before.

I made sure I listened to the lectures of Mr. Cledera when the seminar-workshop continued on the second day. And, yeah, listening was really very effective. It gave me more confidence in taking photos and writing captions or photo essays. And the third and last day of the workshop went well, too. The key was listening, I learned the hard way.

There’s one word that stayed in my mind—focus. In taking photos, the photographer should not just focus on the subject but also on the story behind it. I also learned the importance of conveying emotions of moments frozen in time by photography.

The whole seminar made me realize that photography isn’t just photography. It’s saving a moment in order for it to be savored and enjoyed again and again in the present and future. Because things don’t happen twice.

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Equipping Children Through Education

My name is Tapiwa Audrey Manyonga, I come from Zimbabwe and I am a Global Mission Fellow serving in the Philippines through the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI).

I was assigned in Pulilan Bulacan and I work in two communities—Tramo and Looban.
In these two communities there are different challenges which children face. Among them is a need for children to acquire education.

Every morning I attend to Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) class with other staff members and help in teaching lessons to children. In the afternoon, we have tutorials with scholars as well the little children from KMKK. The elementary students come for extra lessons once a week. Usually, we try to help them comprehend the school lessons they find hard to understand in order for them to pass their examinations.

It is a great accomplishment to equip children through education in order for them to have a bright future. In as much as children need education, they also love to be remembered, to know the importance of the concept of family, to have safe space and to have access to basic needs as other children. Thus, the organization also has the programs such as Family Fun Day as well as Wish of Wonderful Christmas (WOW Christmas) party that gives children a chance to celebrate Yuletide Season and receive gifts.

Being part of the KKFI and part of these children’s lives has made me realize that children need us. They have dreams they want to achieve. At this point, it is important for them to aspire for education so that they can more easily reach their dreams when they grow up.

GOD’S TIME IS THE BEST

by Lweendo Janny Hachilenge

A few months ago, I was struggling with what I was going to do since I did not get the visa for my first placement, which was Brussels, Belgium. What if I will not like the next placement that will be offered to me and decide that I will not go? I was in a low point of my life I prayed that God would give me a direction.

After a month of prayer, I received an email saying I was reassigned to the Philippines. My heart was filled with so much joy and gladness! I shouted and praised the Lord as I remembered Jeremiah 29:11, which says: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.”

On January 20, 2019, I came to Manila to work with an organization called Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI). The KKFI is an ecumenical institution that has a vision of “[t]ransforming communities of people as stewards of God’s creation living in a society where peace, justice, integrity of creation and abundance of life reign.”

All the programs of KKFI are geared towards the transformation and empowerment of individuals, families, and communities through education and capacity-building.
I’m a community development worker. I help in community organizing as well as in the Alternative Learning Systems (ALS), a program that teaches people who, at some point, dropped out of school but would wish to continue.

This has been a very successful program because 52% of the students passed the Accreditation and Equivalency examination. Meaning, they can now enter into secondary or college level. I feel so honored to be part of their journey and I pray that God will lead me through.

STARS OF HOPE

By Rey Oliver “King” Fabros

The star plays a major role before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ. It led the three wise men to the manger where Jesus was born.

At the time, the Israelites were waiting for a Savior who would save them from captivity. The star of Bethlehem served as a guide to the hope people needed at that time. After 2,000 years, many people are still in captivity. They are imprisoned by fear, doubts, anger, and other worldly emotions and feelings.

The members of F.R.E.E.D. program can be compared to the Israelites. They are still hoping that their loved ones will be freed from jail, that their family be complete again soon or to have a bright future despite the absence of other members of the family.

In November 2018, the F.R.E.E.D. Program of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) launched a project called “Stars of Hope.” The goal was to teach the beneficiary children of Sigla Tala drop-off center to make star lanterns made of plastic straws that they can decorate in the shelter and as part of life skills development.
The project was well-received by the beneficiaries, turning the one-day workshop to a one-month project. Some of the lanterns made by the beneficiaries were given to their parent/s in penitentiary as a gift.

The Stars of Hope were sold for P100 each. The beneficiaries were able to learn new skills, not just on making lanterns but also hardship, perseverance and entrepreneurship skills.

Due to high demand, the recipient mothers of North cemetery also helped in the production of “Stars of Hope.” The project sold a total of 53 lanterns and raised over P6,200. The amount was used to buy “noche Buena” packages for the families.

The remaining stars were given as gifts to those who supported the program and served as souvenirs for the F.R.E.E.D beneficiaries to remind them that there’s always hope in their search for liberation from pain and incompleteness.
The FREED project is implemented in partnership with the United Methodist Women.

Ang Totoo Kong Nadarama sa Proyektong Aming Ginagawa

Ni Zennie Balatico

Nais ko nang sumuko
Hindi totoong
Masaya ako sa proyektong ito
Dahil ang totoo
Nahihirapan na ako
Hindi ko na kaya at
Ayoko na talaga
Walang katotohanan na
Ginagawa ko ito ng bukal sa puso ko
Dahil
Napipilitan na lamang ako
Hindi naman totoong
Mahal ko ang mga batang ito,
Buo ang aking araw sa tuwing ako ay nagtuturo
Dahil ang totoo
Wala akong sayang nadarama
Walang katotohanan na
Ang pagiging YLEAD leader at teacher sa akin ay may halaga

(Eto po ay isang ehemplo ng reverse poetry. Ang totoong nadarama ko ay kung basahin mula ibaba pataas)

Zennie2
Zennie Balatico (left), KKFI scholar, finds joy in teaching the children of the Manila North Cemetery. She creatively wrote a reverse poem which depicts how she feels.

Called to Ministry

By Flora Mae T. Tatoy

Pastor Josua G. Policarpio, a 22-year-old student-pastor from Compra, San Mateo, Norzagaray, Bulacan, was chosen as a recipient of the La Verne and Nellie Mercado Scholarship Program last September 2018. The Mercado Scholarship Program is an endowment fund set up by the family of Bishop and Mrs. La Verne and Nellie Mercado for student-church workers.

Pastor Josua was chosen based on his credentials and documents he submitted. He is currently assigned in Martha Memorial United Methodist Church, which is supervised by East Bulacan District of the Bulacan Philippines Annual Conference. He has been assigned there since 2015.

At present he is a second-year full-time student in the Master of Divinity Program at the Union Theological Seminary.

He finished Bachelor of Science in Education but he did not take the Licensure Examinations. Instead, he pursued his calling to be a pastor. He has a twin brother and they were born prematurely. They experienced a lot of trials in life, including financial problem and physical illnesses. But because of the grace of the Lord, they are still alive and they continue to pursue their dreams and serve the people. He was inspired by his experiences as a minister.

The topic he picked for a sermon in a preaching class once was “Memorial Sunday.” He expounded on the theme “takip-mata”.

Josua
Ptr. Josua Policarpio delivering his sermon during preaching class.

“Nahanap nila ang Diyos sa kanilang pagpikit. Inukit ng Diyos ang Kanyang kawalang-hanggang pag-ibig at pag-asa sa tabing ng ating takipmata. Kaya’t sa oras ng lungkot at saya mas pinili nating pumikit at isipin ang pagkadakila ng Diyos,” he said.

Pastor Josua emphasized that God is faithful and will always be there when we need Him.

Ang Karapatan ng mga Bata

Ako si Monica Gayola na naging representative ng Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) sa 5th Philippine National Children’s Conference (PNCC).

Sa unang araw pa lamang ay magkakasama na kami nila Allyn Figueroa at Charles Cachuela na, kapwa kasama ko sa KKFI na taga-Maynila. Pagdating ko sa conference ay pagod na pagod ako sa aking biyahe mula Bulacan hanggang Maynila. Sa kabila nito, nadiskubre kong worth it naman pala.

Noong una halos hindi ako makapag-halubilo sa aking mga kasamang participant ng conference, na pawang nasa edad na mula 11 hanggang 17 taong gulang. Ang dami nila! Nahiya tuloy ako.

Ang unang ipinagawa sa amin ay ang magpakilala sa isa’t isa. Inaamin kong inaasahan kong mabo-bore ako nang husto pero nagkamali ako. Natuwa pa nga ako na kahit ang nakilala kong person with disability (PWD) na nakipagsabayan sa amin. monica

Sa pangalawang araw, may isang tagapag-salita na nagturo sa amin tungkol sa karapatan ng mga bata laban sa pang-aabuso at pambu-bully, ito man ay verbal, physical, cyber o social. Ipinaliwanag sa amin ang epekto sa mga batang katulad namin ang paggamit ng gadgets at social media.

Natutunan ko ang kahalagahan ng PIBSS sa paggamit ng social media. Ang ibig sabihin ng PIBSS ay: P-private your account I-information B-block S-secure S-screen shot. Natutunan ko ring may epekto pala ang sobrang paggamit na social media sa self-confidence ng isang bata. Kapag nagtsa-chat kasi ay kayang-kaya magsabi ng mga kung anu-ano ngunit nahihiya kapag personal nang nakikipag-usap. Bukod pa ang pagkasira ang mata dahil sa radiation.

Maaari palang ma-depress ang isang bata na nabu-bully. Maaari pa nga humantong ito sa pagpapakamatay.

May ipinapanood sa aming video tungkol sa mga bata na ikinukulong. Nagulat ako dito. Sobrang tumatak ito sa aking kaisipan. Maraming activity bawat session.

Siyemprenagkaroon kami ng mga bagong kaibigan. Sa huling araw ay nag-bonding kami.
Marami akong natutunan. Kino-consider kong malaking oportunidad ang napasama ako sa nasabing conference. Napakagandang experience. Kaya sobrang pasasalamat ko sa KKFI dahil napili ako na mapasama ako sa ganitong aktibidad.