AGE DOESN’T MATTER

By Flor Tatoy

A 60-year-old mother of three sons, a good wife, a reliable provider, and a person with a good heart. That’s how residents of Manila North Cemetery (MNC) describe “Nanay” Lilian Tiglao. This impression was not different from that of the staff members of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), who know her as a trustworthy, dependable and very strong woman.

Physically, though, Nanay Lilian looks very ordinary—her skin is tanned, her hair is cut short and blond, and she’s uncommonly thin, which she attributes to lack of nutritious food to eat. It is apparent that she has survived life’s many, many trials. But there’s one thing about her that’s remarkable—she always wears a beautiful smile.

She lives in a mausoleum inside the MNC with her husband and grand-daughter. Her sons have left them after they decided to take their respective live-in partners. Nanay Lilian provides the basics needs of the family and spends for her grand-daughter’s education, as well. She earns by scavenging and taking care of the tombs in MNC, from which she is paid P50 a month by the family of the deceased.

“Age does not matter. I can take good care of my granddaughter and help other young children too,” Nanay Lilian said.

“Masaya ako kapag nakakatulong ako sa kapwa ko.”

God’s provision has kept her family alive all these years, that’s the only way she could explain how they have been surviving. Despite her predicament, Nanay Lilian has a dream—for these young children to finish their studies so that they will be capable of helping others.

It was 2011, when Nanay Lilian came to know about KKFI through one of its social worker, Vince. She became a fan instantly, a firm believer of what KKFI is trying to achieve. She could tell that her dream and KKFI’s objective are aligned. So, she has made it a point to always get involved in its activities. Wherever KKFI needs her help, she was always there to give a hand.

Nanay Lilian, indeed, has been making herself available in almost all the activities of KKFI in MNC. She is even an active member of the SAMANTAGANOR, a group of caretakers of tombs and mausoleums inside the Manila North Cemetery (MNC) that KKFI helped organize.

In June 2016, she became an assistant teacher for the Supervised Neighbourhood Play (SNP) Program in MNC. The SNP is a home-based early childhood service for children ages 2-4 years old. It utilizes play as an approach in providing early stimulation activities that are developmentally appropriate for each target age of children in the community. It helps children develop relationships, skills, social values, self-confidence, self-respect and self-expression through unstructured time for play and socializing using the SNP manual of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Every day Nanay Lilian goes to house-to-house to fetch children and ensure that they will attend their classes. Even when sick, she still helped the main teacher handle the young students, teaching them how to write, draw, count and sing. She said she felt utmost fulfilment in what she does.

By helping KKFI, she is able to uplift the children by helping them finish their studies. Nanay Lilian does not feel she’s too old to extend help to the needy. She’s not the type who limits one’s self, especially when it comes to giving herself to others. She said that even a smile, a warm hug, or simple greeting of “hello” can impact the lives of young children. “These children only need our acceptance,” she said philosophically.

Advertisements

UNILAB: A PARTNER IN SERVICE

by: Nitz E. Nicolas

“We believe we cannot do everything without partners.”

These were the words expressed by Mr. Joey Ochave, EVP-Development Group, during the appreciation lunch for partners of UNILAB, a leading pharmaceutical company in Asia.  The theme is, “Isang Taos-Pusong Pasasalamat sa Ating Samahan at Sama-samang Paglilingkod sa Bayan.”  The ceremony was held at UNILAB’s  Bayanihan’s  Center last February 14, 2017 in Pasig City.

unilab4
KKFI Executive Director, Nancy Nicolas, was featured in the video presentation during the appreciation lunch.

According to Mr. Ochave, the celebration was UNILAB’s way of saying thank you to everyone especially its partners.  Partnership are a testament and an affirmation that through the Bayanihan spirit, UNILAB and its partner NGOs, LGUs, CSOs and other related organizations would work together for the common good of all.

“Husay at Malasakit,” UNILAB’S motto would continue to “inspire us as one family to help change the world which has become cruel and forgetting kindness.”

unilab
The author, Nitz Nicolas offers KKFI products to guests and employees

He challenged all institutions and organizations which were present to network with each other; to talk and find commonalities and areas for collaboration; and maybe through this collaboration, we could achieve a better world for the future generation of our nation.

UNILAB’s vision is to promote a culture whose work ethic revolves around family and community, cooperation and sharing.

During the celebration,  Mr. Ochave thanked all UNILAB’s partners including Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. , which was represented by Mrs. Christian Love Daroy-Gagno, Program Director and Ms. Juanita Nicolas, Admin and Resource Director.

unilab5
LIlia Bejer, Livelihood Coordinator was also featured in the video.

KKFI exhibited its products at UNILAB’s X-Quadrant, the venue for introducing UNILAB’s new products. KKFI is one of UNILAB’s valued social partners in promoting economic empowerment in marginalized communities in Quezon City.

A video featuring the interview with Ms. Nancy C. Nicolas, KKFI Executive Director, and Ms. Lilia Bejer, KKFI Livelihood Coordinator was also shown during the event.

VOWING TO HELP HER FAMILY

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.

MAKING WEAKNESSES INTO STRENGTHS

by Glenda B. Gutierrez

 

“There are people who look down on me. Therefore, I made my weaknesses into my strength. ” says Algin Tan, 17.

Gin, as he is fondly called is gay. He experienced discrimination due to his gender preference. He knew when he was in grade school that he had a female heart in a man’s body. But he says his family especially his parents supports him. Outwardly, he looks happy but he has some insecurities.

He stopped his schooling due to an unexplainable illness. He had skin sores that lasted five months. Due to embarrassment, he went to Nueva Ecija, a province north of Manila, to recuperate. He was in fourth level of high school then at the San Roque National High School in Navotas, a city north of Manila.

Their family also experienced financial lack. His father, Avelino, is a laborer and his mother, Ma. Gina, is a “kasambahay” (housekeeper.) Gin has a sister who is in second level of college.

He learned about the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) from his aunt.

“I really want to continue my studies so I enrolled in ALS,” says Gin. “I want to get a good paying job so I can help my family,” he added.

Surrendering never entered his mind. He is set on his goal to pass the Accreditation and Equivalency (a & e) examination.

When asked what he did to pass. He answered “I prayed and encouraged myself I could do it.”

“I feel blessed and proud to be me,” exclaimed Gin. “I am ready to achieve my dreams. My passing is a sign for me to achieve my dreams.

Indeed, he did it. He passed the A & E examination and has enrolled in a university to take up BS Accountancy. People may looked down on him but he never made it an obstacle in achieving his dreams. He made his weaknesses into strengths.

REGAINING SELF-CONFIDENCE

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.

NOT AN ORDINARY DORMITORY

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.

gayondato
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?

FOR THE LOVE OF GRANDMA

by Glenda B. Gutierrez

 

“The Alternative Learning System (ALS) will help me get a better-paying job with which I would be able to help my family. ALS would also widen my knowledge,” says Mark Anthony Tado, 16, in Filipino.

Mac, as he is fondly called, enrolled in the ALS of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) in Tondo, Manila because he wanted to finish his studies. He learned about the program from his grandmother who frequents the Barangay Hall to avail of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the government.

Ian
Mark Anthony Tado left with batchmate Ian Leonardo Sabdao

Mac grew up with his grandparents. His mother, Laila is now living in Bacolod and has her own family. Mac has three half-siblings.

He stopped schooling after the second level of high school due to financial constraints. Both his grandparents are no longer working.

Mac idolizes his grandmother, Lola Anlay, whom he considers his inspiration. She took care of him despite her ailment. She is the reason why he refrained from bad habits and vices. He hopes to earn to help his Lola soon.

Mac admitted that his cousins did not believe he will not be able to pass the Accreditation and Equivalency examination. He even thought of giving up the ALS to take care of his grandmother.

But he really wanted to finish his studies. So he persevered and did his best. His folder which is full essays and mock tests is a testament to his dedication.

Mac wanted to become either a seaman or a basketball player who is included in the roster of a team included in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the premier professional league in the country.

But first, he said he wanted to get a college diploma from the University of the East (UE) then work hard so he can buy a house and a car of his own. But before that, he knew he has to take a more practical and realistic step– enroll in a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) course, have a job the soonest possible time, earn and save.

Mac will do whatever it take to offer the best for his grandparents, especially Lola Anlay.