Sa LikhAral Nahubog ang Aking Pagkatao

Ni Axel Mendoza

 

Sa LikhAral ko natutunan kung paano tumayo sa sariling kong mga paa, kung paano humarap sa maraming tao at kung paano makisalimuha sa mga bata.

Dati ay sobra ang aking pagkamahiyain sa pagharap sa maraming tao. Pinagpapawisan ako ng malamig kapag ako ay humaharap sa kanila. Nanginginig ako sa takot kapag ako na ang tinawag ng aking guro.

Pero nagbago ang lahat nang ako ay nasali sa LikhAral at iba pang aktibidad ng Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI).

Ayon kay Brenadette Rojas, kapwa ko LikhAral teacher, “sa LikhAral nagsimula ang lahat sa amin,” tulad ng pagkakatuto sa mga bagay-bagay tulad ng pagmamahal sa Diyos na lumikha sa sanlibutan at ang magturo sa mga bata upang maibahagi sa kanila ang salita ng Diyos.

Nahahati sa dalawang salita ang “LikhAral”: “Likha,” tulad ng pag-likha ng Diyos sa mundong ginagalawan natin at “Aral,” na siyang ibig ng Diyos na gawin, lalo na ang pagtuklas ng kahulugan ng Kanyang Salita na nasa Banal na Kasulatan.

Nahubog ako ng LikhAral, na siyang nagturo sa akin kung paano tumayo sa sariling mga paa, kung paano humarap sa maraming tao at kung paano makisalimuha sa mga bata. Dito ako naturuan nang lubusan kung paano humarap sa mga kabataan nang walang takot na na-raramdaman at buong tiwalang matuturuan sila.

Ang LikhAral 2018 ay isa sa pinakamagandang nangyari sa akin sa loob ng dalawang taon kong pamamalagi sa Kapatiran. Sa tema pa lang na “MAHALaga Ako,” ay nararamdaman ko na ang pagmamahal sa akin kahit ano pa man ang mga kata-ngiang meron ako.

Mahal Niya tayo dahil mahalaga tayo; kaya nga’t siguradong wala tayong talo.

Mula sa pagsasanay ng mga guro sa Gilead Center sa Pulilan, Bulacan hanggang sa mismong pagtuturo ng mga kabataan sa kani- kanilang komunidad ay talagang “smooth” ang implementasyon ng LikhAral.

Nakita ko sa mga kabataan ang kasiyahan na bihira ko lang makita sa kanila. Bumabalik sila hindi dahil sa pagkaing aming handa kundi gusto nilang magsaya at matuto kahit wala silang maisuot na maayos at kahit sira-sira ang kanilang pangyapak. Walang makakahadlang sa kanila sa pagdalo sa LikhAral.

Sobra ang aking kasayahan na naramdaman kahit ako ay napuyat at napagod sa paggawa ng aking ituturo sa mga kabataan. Lahat nito ay nawawala sa munti nilang pasasalamat at sa mahigpit nilang yakap. Hindi mo mapapansin kung sila man ay marumi o may sipon.  Niyayakap ko pa rin sila dahil kapag ginagawa nila ito ay nawawala ang pagod ko.

Dati ay hindi ko alam kung sino talaga ako at kung anong landas ang dapat kong tahakin. Dahil sa LikhAral, nasagot na ang mga tanong kong ito. Alam ko na kung saan ako pupunta at kung saan lulugar.

Kaya nga’t nasabi kong sa LikhAral, nahubog ang aking katauhan.

 

 

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Ang Sarap ng Magturo sa mga Bata

Ni Ruffame Todoc

 

Marami ang nagsasabi na kursong edukasyon ang kunin ko sa kolehiyo dahil bagay umano sa akin ang magturo.

“Ayoko!” ang parati kong tugon. “Mahirap ‘yun” Alam kong hindi biro ang magturo lalo na sa nursery. Ngunit tila ba tinutulak ako ng sarili kong tadhana palapit sa pagtuturo.

Dumating ang buwan ng Abril, panahon ng “LikhAral,” ang bersyon ng “vacation church school” ng Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI). Gaganap na naman ako bilang isa sa mga “main teacher” ng “nursery class.”

Naobliga akong magturo sa mga batang may edad mula apat hanggang anim na taong gulang. Sobrang hirap bantayan at turuan ang mga may edad na ganito. Mahaba-habang pasensiya ang kailangan.

Totoong sobrang hirap pero sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam din pala! Ayos lang mapuyat sa kagagawa ng mga leksyon at iba pang gagamitin sa pagtuturo mapasaya lang ang mga tinuturuan.

Nakakalibang palang magturo kaya’t hindi ko namalayang napalapit na ako nang husto sa mga bata. Kahit mahirap gumising sa umaga dahil sa pagod, sakit ng ulo at kulang pa sa tulog, ngunit kapag naisip ko ang mga bata na naghihintay sa akin ay nakakaramdam ako ng kakaibang lakas at motibasyon upang buma-ngon.

Siguro nga ay nagiging inspirasyon sa akin ang mga bata. Maisip ko lang ang mga ngiting isinasalubong nila sa akin at ang pag-uunahan nilang mahawakan ang aking mga kamay ay sapat na upang tiisin ko ang malamig na buhos ng tubig sa umaga sa paliligo upang makarating agad sa lugar kung nasaan sila.

Akala ko noong una ay mahihirapan kaming mga magtuturo dahil dalawa lamang ang tutoong teacher na kasama namin. Subalit madali naming natutunang tumayo sa sari-ling paa at gumawa ng paraan upang makuha ang loob ng mga bata.

Napagtanto ko rin na kaya ko rin palang maging guro, na kaya ko ring magturo. Higit sa lahat, natuklasan kong masaya ako kasama ng mga bata.

Marami nang nagtulak sa akin na maging guro, ngunit dedma lamang ako. Pero may isang tao ang nagpaantig sa aking kalooban, si Eddrose, 6, na isa sa mga estudyante ko sa LikhAral. Heto ang aming pag-uusap noong “graduation day” ng LikhAral:

Eddrose: “Ate Fame, bukas ba ay magtuturo pa rin kayo?”

Ako: “Hindi na. Sa susunod na taon ulit. Kaya dapat ay lagi kang good girl, ha?”

Eddrose: “Sana ikaw na lang ang teacher ko sa school.”

Nabigla ako sa sinabi niya. Nahalata kong malungkot siya kaya niyakap ko siya. Pagkatapos ng seremonya ay isa-isang lumapit sa akin ang iba kong estudyante. Nagtatanong sila kung kailan ako babalik. Gusto ko sanang sabihin na bukas na bukas rin ay babalik ako upang turuan sila. Pero alam kong hindi tutoo ‘yun kaya’t sinabi ko sa kanila ang tutoo.

Dahil sa LikhAral, naramdaman ko ang sarap magturo sa mga bata. Hindi ako mahihiyang isang araw ay sasabihin ko sa aking mga kaibigan na: “Binabawi ko na ang sinabi ko noon. Gusto ko palang magturo.”

 

Abigail: Transformed by Love

By Flora Mae T. Tatoy

 

Abigail Ambay, 19, is one of the scholars of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) from Navotas City.

As an incoming 3rd year college BS in Entrepreneurship student, her volunteer work at KKFI is not in line with her educational background.

Last April 17-19, she joined the LikhAral Teachers Training, which was held at Gilead Center, an extension office of KKFI in Pulilan, Bulacan.

Naturally shy, Abigail did not talk much since she did not know anybody then. Gradually, however, she developed friendships among other participants and began to be more animated.

She shared her talents by participating actively during both the training and teaching material preparations. According to her, she admires the talents and skills of her co-participants and how they willingly shared them.

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Abigail (center) poses with her students.

During the LikhAral implementation, Abigail admitted being terrified and uncomfortable talking in front of children. She was one of the teachers in the Paredes Street, Manila area. She said she was not confident enough to teach the lessons, saying she preferred to do paper works instead of teaching.

However, on the second day of the LikhAral training, her confidence grew. She was able to face the children to share the objectives and activities of the lessons.

“Dati, naartehan ako sa kanila” she said but she realized that there are too  many  unseen  and  unheard stories behind each character that she needed to understand.

She said the children would hug her after class ”kahit na malagkit sila” and she would always feel a certain, unexplainable happiness and contentment.

“Behind the smiles of children, I know that there are stories that I don’t know,” she said.

In the five days of LikhAral she came to know more about her students and co-teachers. According to her, these children were deprived of their basic needs and are seeking attention.

She said she is now willing to extend the love that the children long for.

“LikhAral is not just five days of feeding and teaching. It transformed these children and let them know that they are ‘MAHALaga’.  They are ‘loved’ and ‘worthy’,” Abigail said.

Somebody else was transformed by the LikhAral training–Abigail herself. After experiencing the joy of teaching underprivileged children, she plans to take up BS in Social Work after she graduates from her present college course.

Of course, she is looking forward to next year’s LikhAral and be with the children again. Why not? LikhAral made her feel that “lahat tayo ay MAHALaga!”

 

Create and Learn Towards Transformation

By Christian Love D. Gagno

 

For years, KKFI is making the summer not only fun but also fruitful. Through its program “LikhAral” (Likha+Aral) or Create and Learn, hundreds of children from different poor communities are reached.

In the past, KKFI used Vacation Church School (VCS) modules from the United Methodist Church (UMC).  The KKFI, however, has been tailor-fitting the VCS materials according to the needs of the communities it serves.

The KKFI envisions, “transformed communities of people as stewards of God’s creation living in a society where peace, justice, integrity of creation and abundance of life reign.”

A four-year theme, “Create and Learn Towards Transformation,” was set. This year’s LikhAral reached 725 children, 50 youth volunteers, and six communities.

In the coming years, KKFI will focus on transformative lessons that will touch the self, families, community and nation. Guided by biblical principles, KKFI will write its own modules that will address the needs of the children and the community.

We have seen and experienced the impact of LikhAral to children and youth alike. The KKFI has always been proud to say that, because of LikhAral, young people who who used to be out-of-school are now the leaders and teachers of children.

We saw lives transformed and we believe that Likharal has the power to transform more lives.

This year, KKFI used “MAHALaga Ako” which tackles about love for self. It came from “Mahal” or Love and “Halaga” or Worth. Transformation should start by knowing our worth and loving ourselves.

The module included: “Masaya Maging Ako”(I’m happy to be me!), “Mahal Ko, Sarili ko” (I Love Myself), “Aalagaan ko, Sarili Ko” (I will take care of myself), Iingatan Ko, Sarili Ko (I will protect Myself) and “May Pangarap Ako” (I have a Dream).

The module is a product of the collaborative efforts of the KKFI chaplain’s office and the program department’s staff and volunteers.

Children have learned their rights and advocated for themselves. A powerful day happened when children did the advocacy walk in each community, enabling the children to speak and share their thoughts about themselves and their rights.

LikhAral Revitalized

By Glenda B. Gutierrez

 

“LikhAral” is a program of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. that was first conceived as play-cum-tutorial service for children living in the Manila North Cemetery (MNC).

This unique community was introduced to the KKFI management by River of Joy Ministries, which recommended the admission of several MNC children to the Gilead Center for temporary residential care and educational assistance in 2008. Realizing the need to minister to the children of the MNC, the KKFI Management introduced LikhAral as a-twice-a-week activity.

LikhAral is a combination of two Filipino words—“Likha” and “Aral”—meaning “Create” and “Learn,” respectively. The initial objectives of the LikhAral were to provide tutorial services for elementary-aged children and youth of poor families living inside the MNC and to provide opportunities for youth, both out-of-school and in-school, to develop their leadership skills.

To help in the program implementation, KKFI forged partnerships with Sta. Mesa Heights United Methodist Church on Mayon Street in Quezon City, the University of Rizal System—Rodriguez Campus, and the College of St. Benilde-La Salle. The partners deployed volunteers, who taught and played with the children.

Later that year, the LikhAral sessions were also held at the KKFI compound on P. Paredes, Sampaloc, Manila and Gilead Center in Pulilan, Bulacan. The KKFI staff made the activities fun and interesting by coming up with creative activities.

Some well-to-do but kind-hearted students donated extra-large storybooks, which were used during the story-telling sessions. The books were a hit, especially because of their big and colorful illustrations.

In 2009, formal classes at the Child Development Center were started at the Barangay 372 Hall and the LikhAral merged with the KKFI’s Vacation Church School (VCS), thus becoming summer activities.

Usually, the KKFI uses the VCS modules produced by the Board of Christian Education and Development (BCED) of the United Methodist Church (UMC) and that of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). This year, however, the LikhAral modules were prepared the by KKFI staff especially for the communities catered by the Foundation.

Before, the VCS classes were only conducted at the KKFI Compound. After the merging, LikhAral classes were expanded in the MNC, KKFI Compound, Gilead Center in Barangay Tibag in Pulilan and Barangay 107 in Tondo, Manila.

In 2015, LikhAral were also conducted in Looban and Tramo, both in Pulilan, in partnership with the Church of the Living Water UMC.

What makes the LikhAral truly special is the transformation that develops not only in the children-participants but also in the volunteer teachers. Not only do they learn, they are transformed to be God’s “new creation.”

Kapayapaang May Kagalakan, Posible Ba?

Ni Nancy Caluya-Nicolas

Executive Director

 

May isang popular na awiting parati kong naririnig na kinakanta ng mga grupong relihiyoso: “Let there be peace on earth….”

Nakakaindak ang saliw ng awiting ito. At kung iyong nanamnamin ang lyrics ay titindig ang iyong balahibo. Bakit? Marahil dahil ang tinutukoy nito ay ang pangarap ng ating puso at kaluluwa—ang kapayapaan.

“Sumainyo ang kapayapaan,” ang bati ng ating Panginoong Jesu-Cristo sa mga apostol Niya nang siya ay muling nagpakita sa kanila matapos Siyang nabayubay sa krus. Kapa-yapaan ang isang bagay na pinakakailangan ng mga apostol nang oras na iyo. Nag-aalala sila para sa kanilang kaligtasan. Walang katiyakan ang kanilang hinaharap. Higit sa lahat, halos masira ang kanilang katinuan dahil sa lungkot na nararanasan nang mawala ang kanilang pinakamamahal.

Kailangang-kailangan nila ng kapayapaan ng isipan at kalooban. Alam ito ng Panginoon kaya’t ang pagba-ting “Sumainyo ang kapayapaan” ang isinalubong Niya sa kanyang mga pinakamamahal na apostol.

Ano nga ba ang “kapayapaan”? Hindi magkatulad o “synonymous” ang kapayapaan at katahimikan. Maaaring maging tahimik nang walang kapanatagan. Kung minsan ay napaparalisa na lamang sa isang tabi ang isang tao o hayop mang natatakot. Pinipili nilang manahimik maka-survive lamang.

Ang tunay na kapayapaan ay katahimikang may kapanatagan ang kalooban at kagalakan sa puso. Ito ang pinakananais ng lahat.

Ngunit mailap ng kapayapaan. Sa buong kasaysayan ng daigdig, uhaw na uhaw ang mga tao at mga gobyerno dito. Kaya’t kahit mababaw lamang ay ipinagmamalaki na ng mga namamayaning uri na naabot nila ang “kapayapaan” o “peace” o “pax” (sa salitang Latin).

Mula noong 27 taon bago isilang si Jesus (27 B.C.) hanggang 180 taon matapos Siyang mamatay ay ipinagmalaki ng Roma na napanatili nila umano ang kapayapaan sa buong emperyo. “Pax Romana” ang tawag nila dito.

Diumano’y nakaranas naman ng “Pax Mongolica” noong ika-13 at ika-14 siglo sa mga bansang nasakop ni Genghis Khan at Mongol army niya. “Pax Britannica” naman ang itinawag kapayapaang naranasan mula 1815 hanggang 1914 sa Europa.

Nang magsimulang ang ika-20 siglo, “Pax Americana” naman umano ang naranasan ng malaking parte ng mundo, partikular ang Western Hemisphere, salamat sa “pagbabantay” ng Estados Unidos.

Sa lahat ng mga nabanggit na “pax” o kapayapaan, may mga kaakibat na pananakot o pagbabanta ng pwersa. Hindi ba maaaring walang ganito? Hindi ba posible maabot ang kapayapaan na may kagalakan at kapanatagan ang mga taon?

Bakit hindi natin subukan ang Pax Cristiana?

Hindi mababaw o “superficial” ang kapayapaang Kristiyano. Ang kapanatagang dulot ni Kristo ay sagad sa buto, ‘ika nga. Tumitimo sa puso’t isipan. Damay ang kaluluwa.

Ito ang kapayapaang “may kaga-lakan” na tinutukoy ng tema ng ika-68 anibersaryo ng Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI). Hindi ito pulitikal tulad ng Pax Romana at Pax Amerikana.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” ayon sa awitin. Hindi kailangang magkaroon ng alyansa ng mga grupo o maraming indibidwal upang maranasan ang Pax Cristiana. Madali lamang gawin upang makuha ito—tanggapin ang Panginoong Hesus bilang Tagapagligtas dahil inalay Niya ang kanyang banal na dugo upang tayo, bagama’t mga makasalanan, ay maligtas at makaranas ng buhay na walang hanggan.

Ngunit mahirap din sapagka’t hindi kailanman madali ang maging tapat sa sarili na magpakababa at tangga-ping hindi tayo maliligtas kailanman ng sariling pagsusumikap, gaano man ito kabuti sa ating pag-aakala. Mahirap manatiling tapat sa Diyos at matulungin sa kapwa.

Ngunit ang gantimpala naman ng mga mananatiling tapat ay ang walang katapusang kapayapaang may kagalakan. Ito ang uri ng kapayapaan na matatagpuan sa langit.

Ngunit hindi ibig sabihin nito ay hihinto na tayo sa pagsusumikap na makamit ang kapayapaang may kagalakan sa daigdig na ito pa lamang. Bilang mga Kristiyano, tungkulin natin ang iparamdam sa ating mga kapwa, lalo na ang mahihirap, ang uri ng kapayapaang ito upang mapatunayan lamang na ang Diyos ay sumasaatin sa Lupa at maging sa Langit.

Ito ang papel ng Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc.—ang ilapit ang Diyos sa mga mahihirap at nangangailangan at gayundin ay ilapit ang mga mahihirap at nangangailangan sa Diyos.

Sa tulong ng Panginoon ay tapat nawa nating maisakatuparan ang ating tungkuling iparanas sa tao ang kapayapaang may buong kagalakan na nagmumula sa Diyos.

 

Beyond the Call of Duty

By Evelyn Tendero

 

When I retired on May 1, 2015, Tirso Estriba was one of the security guards of KKFI. At that time I learned that when he is not on duty, he tended the plants in front of the KKFI compound fronting P. Paredes Street.

When I visited KKFI in 2016 and July 2017 I learned from the staff that Tirso was already a permanent employee, working as a janitor-gardener with five working days and two days off. Now that I am back to KKFI to work with staff of the dormitory operations, I am sharing to the readers who is Tirso Estriba.

The following are the things I knew from him in our one-on-one conversation. He graduated with a nautical engineering course from Mindanao. He went to Manila after he finished his course to apply for job as a seaman, but failed to land a job for six months.

He was hired as a worker in a construction firm in South Korea when he was only 22 years old. Since he worked as a farmer while studying, he didn’t mind the hard work in South Korea. He learned welding skills and other related works in construction until he had a family of his own.

He worked in South Korea for 10 years but he overstayed with serious consequence–he was imprisoned for two months for staying without a visa. Thankfully, a Korean organization helped him get a lawyer who facilitated his return to the Philippines.

 

He and his wife Teresa have a 13-year-old daughter, Juliana, who was born in South Korea. They now live in Project 2, Quezon City.

When he learned that Ryan Mateo’s position as janitor-gardener was about to be vacated on May 2016, he applied for it even though the salary was lower than his job at the time. He was after his and his family’s security like SSS, Philhealth, Pagibig and other employee’s benefits.

He became a permanent employee on November 1, 2016 and was given the recognition as the Male Employee of the Year in 2017.

I observed that Tirso comes as early as 5:30 a.m. and starts his work way before the start of his working schedule, which is 7 a.m. He is the kind of person who always greets you with a smile in the morning, even as he was doing his job sweeping the grounds with his big broom. Oftentimes, I would see Tirso stop working at around 6 or 7 p.m.

Every time I make my rounds, I would often see Tirso perspiring and hard at work. At the same time, I could feel that he loves what he is doing. He obviously has a “green thumb” and he know how to make use of this gift.

Tirso claimed his joy comes from seeing the plants healthy and the flowers in bloom. He is approachable and he has no problem relating with his co-workers. He has not had any conflict with anybody.

Now, who can dispute the decision of the management to bestow upon him the prestige of being the 2017 Male Employee of the Year?