Dominic or Doms had a rough childhood, which eventually led him to vices in secondary school and college. He sort of always enjoyed the moment without a thought of the future until he realized that there was more to life than just ‘short and temporary happy times.’ He knew he needed to straighten up his act, so to speak. Years after, he joined RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. a decision that changed his life for the better.

Growing Up Without a Father

Growing up without a father or a father figure in his life, Doms got hooked on different kinds of vices during his youth. Without a permanent address, Doms and his family frequently traveled back and forth from Cebu to Mindanao.

One afternoon, as he lay under the tree, time stood still for Doms as he reflected upon his father’s misdeeds, and about how a person’s choices could define and impact his future.

“My father was not around when I was born because he was in prison. I grew up without any strong connection to him,”

“I lived with my mother together with my grandparents. We lived in Mindanao for a while then we settled down in Cebu until my father was released from prison and had the chance to work as a local seaman,” Doms added.

That was the time when Doms realized that he needed to change his lifestyle and become a better person.

Guided By Faith and His Grandmother

In his early years while living in Mindanao, Doms was very involved in religious activities through the influence of his grandmother. He served as an altar boy and would lead the rosary at the early age of seven.

“Our life was good and simple back when we were living in Mindanao, I was trained in doing household chores, so I did not have time to slack off and play outside until the chores were done,”

Bigger Life Challenges

Everything changed when Doms and his family moved back to Cebu, where he started going out with friends who always got themselves into trouble.

“That was a very dark period of my life when we moved to Cebu. I got involved with friends who only lived for the moment and never thought of their future. When I reached second year high school, I experienced vices that really brought misery to my life,”

His family intervened and they sent him to college. He enrolled in one of the prestigious universities here in Cebu, taking up Bachelor of Science in Computer Science but decided to quit after two years.

“The school was too expensive for our family so I decided to stop. I went back to my old ways of spending more time with my friends. I had issues with the effects of those vices during that time; it was really hard for me since I didn’t want to go to rehab because it was too expensive. Depression sunk in and I really didn’t know what to do,”

Prayers Heals

One day, as Doms was walking down the streets of Colon, he came across Santo Rosario Church and he began to pray.

“That was the first-time that I asked something from God. I prayed hard that day, I prayed that if He would only heal me, I would really change my ways and clean up my life,”

Doms got his answer right away after weeks of self-help and overcoming his demons, he fully recovered from his depression and anxieties, by the grace of God.

Dominic asked his mother if she could give him another chance to finish his education and without any hesitation, his mother supported him.

He took up another course, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He worked hard to pass all his subjects and made a promise to himself that he will not fail again.

“My faith in God is what really helped me recover from my miseries. I pray every day, even up until now I always seek His guidance. Now I know that if God gives you something, it will be limitless,”

A Second Chance

Doms shared an experience he will never forget.

“I remember when I got home one night, I found my father sitting on our chair. He was drunk and told us how life was very hard for him,”

“He told us how difficult it was to endure the strong winds and big waves, not knowing if he would survive the night during stormy weather,”

It was very painful for Doms to hear his father’s story, so he made a pact with himself that he will no longer take for granted all the chances his parents had given him.

“I decided to help my parents in financing my education. I applied as a scholar in our school and luckily, I was granted full scholarship. Though my tuition fee was free, I still needed money to cover for my other expenses like books and allowance, so I applied for another job outside school,”

An Answered Prayer

Doms said that before joining RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. he had tried many other jobs, which led him to pray for the one that will give him his life’s purpose.

“I have had many jobs in different places but I didn’t seem to fit at all. I prayed to God again to help me find my purpose and He didn’t let me down. A few weeks after, a friend of mine called and referred me to apply in RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF),”

The Beginning of Change

In 2011, Doms began his career with RMF as a Branch Manager in Ubay, Bohol.

In just six months, he was assigned to head the biggest RMF branch — the Cebu City branch.

“I was really thankful to Ms. Mel during the time when I was still applying for the job because she was really accommodating,”

“I am likewise thankful to Ma’am Tess (Ma. Theresa Catipay) because she trusted me and hired me to work in RMF,”

“And who would’ve thought that I would be a Branch Manager in one of the biggest branches here in Cebu,”

From Zero to Hero

In 2012, Doms’ branch won numerous awards during the RMF General Assembly.

“I encountered many challenges after the General Assembly and just like any other jobs I have had, I did not see myself growing any more,”

“Later did I realized that God has bigger plans for me… one of the biggest projects of RMF came and I was one of the few people chosen to be a Taskforce Member of the Renoir project,”

Bigger Opportunities

After the project, Doms was assigned to handle the Human Resource Unit of RMF, and then moved on to the Expansion Team Unit.

In 2017, Doms and his team opened a total of 36 new branches, ending the year with a total of 76 RMF branches in the different provinces of Biliran, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Southern Leyte, and Siquijor.

“Working in RMF really helped me grow as a person, a leader, and a provider for my family. Praise God, I was able to buy a house for my family,”

On Being the Expansion Head

Doms was given the new role as the Expansion Unit Head, which handles all the branch openings of RMF.

This year, RMF aims to open 44 branches, targeting to end 2018 with 120 RMF branches across the Visayas.

“Looking back from all my experiences since childhood, I never expected to end up successful, I am very thankful to God because He never left my side, He is the reason why I am here now and why my previous jobs never worked out. He never left me and He made me feel that it’s never too late to change my ways,”

“I owe my success to my family who, despite my vices during my early days, never left me and helped me recover, they taught me how God can be the source of everything and that prayer is a strong weapon that can defeat all woes,”

People That Matters

“When I met my wife, everything was clearer for me. I knew that God gave her to me because the timing was perfect. I had so many failed relationships before but it never worked out,”

“To my wife, thank you for staying with me despite all the problems we had gone through, I dedicate my success to her, my family, the organization, my teammates, and the clients I serve,”

“To RAFI and the Aboitiz family especially the quotes of Don Ramon, Don Eddie, and Sir Bobby that lives in my heart, thank you so much!”

“To my colleagues in RAFI and RMF, especially Raffy, Val, Nen, Junrey, Myra and Renoir consultants, Bugsai teammates!”

“To all building owners/partners in the Visayas who also became my new friends, thank you all for the friendship,”

“To my expansion team & all the clients, whom I have served for many years and one of the sources of my inspiration, thank you for the teamwork!”

“To my RMF family, I have found my purpose in life and I thank you all for giving me the chance to serve our RMF nanays. The joy I find in their eyes could never me measured. Bugsai ta bai!” #IAMRAFI

The Mega Danao Team, in collaboration with Mega Cebu and Club Mega, organized the Mega Cebu Night last June 4, 2018 at the Danao City Civic Center. The activity coincided with the city’s 57th Charter Anniversary celebration.

The Danao Civic Center was filled with Mega Cebu’s informative “Pwede Kaayo” and “Jepoy” videos, which gave the audience some insights on existing conditions in Metro Cebu and what they can do to contribute to address certain issues.

Caroline Ballesteros, stakeholder relationship manager of Mega Cebu, explained the essence of Mega Cebu and what they envision Cebu to be.

Mayor Ramon Durano III, who graced the activity, expressed his gratitude to Mega Cebu. He also encouraged the youth to continue supporting Mega Cebu and align the plans of their respective Sangguniang Kabataan councils to the Mega Cebu vision.

The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-G&L) seeks to foster responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry through awards and recognition, good governance and leadership development programs, and active linkages and platforms of engagement and collaboration.

The activity went with the theme “United Colors of KAC Towards Team Excellence.” It was conducted to promote the wellbeing of participants, develop a sense of belongingness and identity, foster collaboration, build a spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie, and bond and break the barriers among KAC and agency staff.

A total of 80 participants — Youth and Professional Development Program instructors; Operations Support team; Facilities, Admin, Marketing and Finance staff; agency security, housekeeping, maintenance, gardening, and catering staff — joined the activity.

“The KAC Management and Team never fail to always make us feel part of this one big family. They were very supportive during the preparation of the KAC Sports fest, they encouraged us to take part and share our thoughts. Personally, I never felt intimidated because they treated everyone as equals. I will never forget this experience and I am looking forward to the engagement activity. I will forever be grateful to be part of this high-performing team,” said Cristel “Ethel” Montecillo, Blue team leader and a Housekeeping member.

YDP Instructor Hanna Medalle, for her part, said the sports fest gave participants a common experience to talk about over and over again.

“These meaningful conversations promote healthy relationships among teams,” she added.

KAC Camp Director, Marie Sol Gonzalvo said, “It was evident that the team was involved, engaged and strong relationships were built.”

“Let’s do this every year,” she added.

The Kool Adventure Camp of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-KAC) is the first and only fully dedicated Adventure Education Center in the Philippines. RAFI-KAC equips organizations and individuals with the character, competence, and citizenship to be leaders of change through powerful learning experiences.


The non-government organisations, academe, government agencies, local government units, media, faith-based organisations, private sectors, and other sectoral groups have collaborated in organising the first ever event on Resiliency and Wellbeing in Central Visayas dubbed as, “All for Wellbeing, Resilient Together (A Celebration and Launching of the Wellbeing Cluster).”

This event will highlight the best practices, studies, innovations, programs and projects of individuals and organisations in mainstreaming wellbeing and resiliency in the Philippines. In addition, will bring together hundreds of multi-sectoral stakeholders to celebrate their achievements over the years and renew their commitment to continue the work of genuine empowerment of Filipinos towards a culture of disaster preparedness, wellbeing and resiliency.

On the event-opening day, July 30, 2018 highlights the launching of the Wellbeing Cluster in Central Visayas. The purpose of the Wellbeing Cluster is to promote and mainstream psychosocial and mental health programs towards wellness and resiliency in the workplace. This is the first localized cluster in the country — the first of its kind in the world.

Following this, on July 31, 2018 an Understanding Choices Forum (UCF) on Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace will be conducted in partnership with the Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-G&L).

Moreover, parallel learning sessions covering a wide array of topics on mental health conversations with the youth, awareness on hazard mapping and preparedness, youth initiatives on emergency response team (ERT), and urban resilience through integrated risk management are organized in partnership with the University of San Carlos (USC), Cebu Province Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), TUKLAS Innovation Lab (Plan International), and Catholic Organization for Relief and Development (Cordaid).

#All4Wellbeing #ResilientTogether overall is a culmination of the National Disaster Resilience Month, a celebration of the passage of the landmark law — Republic Act 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2017 and a welcoming activity for the World Humanitarian Day in August.

Thus, the Wellbeing Cluster wanted to highlight the works of the humanitarian sector in building resilient communities and emphasizing the wellbeing of the humanitarian aid workers and responders who risk all to reach people in need.

Contact Information

Coordinator: Mikee Pepito +63 942 542 8772 | Lead Convener: Chris Estallo +63 945 348 1434

Email: wellbeingcluster@gmail.com

Facebook: WellbeingClusterPH | Twitter: @WellbeingPH

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IAMRAFI: All for My Family

The Story of Melba Abano, RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) Nanay

By Marco Paulo Trajano Deligero and RAFI Microfinance Inc. | July 24, 2018

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Melba started as a sales lady, and now she manages her own retail store with her entire family. With the help of RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) she was able to expand her business and employ three people to help her run her ready-to-wear/ukay-ukay business.  

 

The Beginning of the Family Business

A native of Ilocos Sur, Melba runs the business together with her husband, a retired army. Before they got married, she was a sales clerk while her husband was in the military.

Upon his retirement, he ventured into the ukay-ukay business. Melba followed suit due to the growing demands of their family.

“We started in my cousin’s backyard, if I remember correctly, we just had 20 thousand pesos as starting capital,” Melba said.

 

Expanding Their Business

Seeing the success of their business and the opportunity for exponential growth, they knew that they needed a bigger capital.

It was at this time that they were introduced by a fellow-entrepreneur to RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF).

“One time, someone told me about RMF, that they help small entrepreneurs like me. That’s the reason why I tried it,” Melba said.

 

On How RMF Have Helped Them in Times of Need

When her husband decided to work in Saudi Arabia, she said that she went to RMF to avail of the loan service for the placement fee of her husband. She appreciated the flexibility of the RMF product. 

“The good thing about RMF is that if you are a good payer, you can choose to pay your loan for either three months or six months,” 

When her husband finally started working abroad, they continuously teamed up to strengthen their business; they used some of her husband’s earnings as capital for their expansion. 

 

Challenges in the Retail Business

Melba said that the retail business is unpredictable, especially with ukay-ukay. She said that there are times when all their stocks are sold out immediately, but there are also times when it is takes so long.

“You have to know your market, if you see that your products are not sold immediately you should lower the price or your mark-up rate, that’s how you will get the customers,”

“You should also know what the customers want: do they like shirts? Pants/jeans? Jackets? Or bags? Whatever it may be, it should be available, you must be ready when they ask for it,” She added.

When asked which item is easily sold out, she answered ‘jeans, especially the good ones, customers know what they want.’

 

The Value of Saving

Melba also shared their family challenges and how she realized the value of savings.

Her husband had to undergo an operation, and they needed money. That was when she realized the value of having some savings that was enough for the operation, not to mention their steady source of income.

 

Good Things Comes to Those Who Work Hard

After the operation, good things came their way — they continued to get more stocks for their retail business, and opened up an additional branch to expand their ukay-ukay.

With all the hard work they put into the business, Melba and her husband were able to buy a 60-square meter lot, build their own house, and most importantly, send their daughter to college at the University of San Jose – Recoletos where she finished her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

“The best achievement for me is to be able to provide the best I can for my family and give them the best in life,” Melba said.

“That’s what mothers always do,” She added.

 

Sharing Her Secrets to Success

Melba never hesitated to share her business secrets to those who want to start their own.

“In the retail business you should always be prepared, like what I have said earlier, you should know your market, know what people like,”

“Second, of course, always have good stock, never run out of stocks,”

“Third is for you to have a good pricing, you should not always think of big profit, you should consider the purchasing power of your customers, how much they can afford and how much they are willing to pay for a certain product,”

“Lastly, always have a clean shop, customers will keep coming back if you have a nice store and have something new to offer,” She added.

 

Her Greatest Motivation

When asked on her motivation, Melba simply answered, her children.

“Me and my husband are getting old, we want to leave something behind to our children, making sure they are okay even if we are no longer around,”

“My parents are also into business, they are also business-minded, that’s why I want them to have that quality as well, that they should always be ready for their future,” Melba said.

She also said that they are planning to expand their business in the years to come and hopes that their children will learn the retail business so that they can eventually take over.

 

Message to RMF Members and Non-Members

Melba, who is known to be outspoken, said that to non-members who are interested in joining or becoming a RMF Nanay, they are ‘very welcome to join as long as their intensions are clear, and will use the money that they borrow to start their own business and not just waste it,’

She also said that ‘new or old members should not consider the loan money as ‘free’ money; they should pay what they have borrowed because if they will not, it is better not to borrow at all,’

“If you use the money well and only for its sole purpose of business or entrepreneurship, you will succeed,” She added.

 

On How She Wants to Be Remembered

Melba admits being frank but assured that it is only for a purpose.

“Sometimes people don’t appreciate someone who would call out their mistakes, that’s why some people find me as ‘maldita’ or ‘suplada’. The truth is I am just speaking up when it matters,” She said.

She said that there were times when some of her co-members borrowed money from her without paying and when she called their attention, they got mad.

“Is there something wrong with what I did? They borrowed money, they should pay, there’s nothing wrong with that, and I am just being honest, being right,”

“We should learn how to return what we have borrowed,”

“Again, I only speak up when it matters,” Melba added.

 

People That Matters

Melba give thanks to her family and husband for being supportive to help their business grow.

She also thanks RAFI Micro-finance, Inc.

“And now, with additional blessings, we have acquired our very own tricycle, house, lot, and a multi-cab that we use for our ukay-ukay business,”

“Thank you very much to RMF, being an RMF Nanay has helped me and my family a lot.” #IAMRAFI

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“The best achievement for me is to be able to provide the best I can for my family and give them the best in life.”

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The Sta. Clara University of California USA is in partnership with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) and the University of San Carlos (USC) for a series of training on basic bookkeeping and social entrepreneurship.

The partnership created a program called Aboitiz Social Venture Cebu (ASVC) that aims to establish social entrepreneurship and acceleration program to capacitate micro-entrepreneurs to improve the social enterprise.

The ASVC is a three-year project that will be conducting series of Growth Oriented Trainings (GOT) and workshops on basic bookkeeping, pricing, and entrepreneurship. The program aims to start with 150 clients of RMF who will undergo these trainings.

The first GOT was conducted last May 25 at the USC grounds where clients learned the basics of bookkeeping and social entrepreneurship. It was led by USC’s Accountancy Department.

The GOT on basic bookkeeping and social entrepreneurship is part of the program that talks about the real importance of bookkeeping and why it is a practice that will benefit business owners and help them if they want to expand their businesses into partnerships or corporations.

“The purpose of the GOT is to empower nanays in developing the businesses they have started. It will give them the opportunity to learn how to manage their businesses and make it grow,” said RMF business development specialist Andrea Pailago.

Bookkeeping, in particular, could open doors for business expansion as it could link business owners to banks and other financial institutions that could lend them funds for additional capital, said Robee Ann Aranas, CPA and Audit Cluster Head of USC.

After the first GOT session, RMF client Joy Suan said she realized that bookkeeping is very important because it tells her how the business is doing. She also said she is looking forward to joining similar trainings in the future to help her business grow.

After the GOT in basic bookkeeping and social entrepreneurship, five more sessions will be conducted and participated by another batch of RMF clients.

The Microfinance Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI Micro-finance) provides financial and non-financial services to micro-entrepreneurs with a mission of elevating lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged communities through stable and rewarding livelihood.

 

Both the government and the private sector in Cebu City should work together to help the city regain its position as among the top outsourcing destinations in the world.

Avinash Vashistha, chief executive of London-based strategic consulting and investment advisory firm Tholons, stressed this during a meeting with representatives from the private sector and Mega Cebu local chief executives last May 17, 2018.

Cebu City was declared by Tholons, as the top outsourcing destination in the year 2008. However, when Tholons incorporated digital transformation and innovation in the criteria, Cebu’s standing dropped to 8th in 2015, 7th in 2016, and 12th in 2017, eliminating it from the top 10 outsourcing destinations.

Given this, Vashistha said the Philippines should optimize its workforce by enhancing their skills in robotic processed automation/consumer relation, data analytics, mobile app testing, digital marketing and innovation.

As regards the government, Vashistha stressed that Metro Cebu, local government units, especially Cebu City, should aggressively promote entrepreneurship and startups. Industry players, meanwhile, should include innovation and startups as part of their operations.

He also encouraged Mega Cebu leaders to inculcate digital transformation and innovation to support IT-BPM because the industry itself is enabled and powered by technology.

“If we want to be competitive, we really need to catch up,” said Wilfredo Sa-a Jr, executive director of Cebu IT-BPM Organization (CIB.O) in his welcome address.

The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-G&L) seeks to foster responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry through awards and recognition, good governance and leadership development programs, and active linkages and platforms of engagement and collaboration.

 

More than 70 delegates from different parts of Central Visayas took part in a three-day camp that aimed to equip them with the skills needed to become good leaders and train aspiring ones.

The first KAC Partners’ Camp 2018 aims to strengthen the partnership between the Kool Adventure Camp of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-KAC) and the Department of Education (DepEd) and equip coordinators with a stronger network of champions through sharing of best practices in youth development.

The activity went with the theme “Strengthening Network of Champions.” It was held last May 21 to 23, 2018 at the KAC Adventure Education Center in Balamban, Cebu.

The participants consist of division youth focal coordinators, human resources representatives and SSG advisers came from the 13 divisions of DepEd in Central Visayas (DepEd-7) — Bayawan City, Bayawan City, Bohol Province, Bogo City, Carcar City, Cebu City, Cebu province, Danao City, Mandaue City, City of Naga, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Tanjay City, and Toledo City.

During the three-day program, participants had a dialogue and discussion on leadership; and mentoring skills necessary to function as SSG Coordinators were introduced to the management fundamentals, and learned communication models.

This allowed them to understand each other’s values, character and personality; assess how they can better manage their resources, improve their communication skills in giving and receiving feedback, and identify areas for challenges, plans and direction for DepEd-7 in partnership with RAFI-KAC.

“We could really coordinate and help one another. Even if we are from different divisions and different schools, it’s always possible for one division to help another,” said Ruben “Ermitanyong Tagabukid” Altubar, first-time SSG Adviser of Naga National High School.

“I joined the camp because I need an inspiration as a leader. I believe that there are things that I need to discover, and as a leader, especially in Mandaue City. I have to equip myself to be ready for the challenges out there,” said Joshua Andrew “Amorsiko” Vega, SSG Federation President of Mandaue City.

“The network of champions that are present here are very remarkable, because I was able to connect with other people and learn from their experiences that made myself very strong,” he added.

The Kool Adventure Camp of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-KAC) is the first and only fully dedicated Adventure Education Center in the Philippines. RAFI-KAC equips organizations and individuals with the character, competence, and citizenship to be leaders of change through powerful learning experiences.


To amplify the awareness, promote and mainstream mental health and psychosocial programs in the humanitarian sector and in the workplace, a multi-sectoral collaboration composed of CSOs, government agencies, local government units, faith-based organizations and the academe will launch the first localized Wellbeing Cluster in the Philippines on July 30, 2018 at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu. Following this, on July 31, the Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-G&L), in partnership with the University of San Carlos, and the Wellbeing Cluster, will be holding Understanding Choices Forum (UCF) on Mental Health in the Workplace; and an array of learning sessions, namely:
  • Mental health conversations with the youth,
  • DRRM innovations,
  • Urban resilience through integrated risk management,
  • Awareness on hazard mapping, and;
  • Preparedness and youth Initiatives on Emergency Response
The vision of this initiative is that by 2020, a locally led multi-sectoral Wellbeing Cluster will be recognized and become fully functional in Central Visayas. The Wellbeing Cluster is the first in the Philippines and potentially in the world. The Cluster recognizes that mental health is a concern, too, in workplaces and not just limited to issues and concerns in the humanitarian sector. The passage of the Republic Act 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law on June 2018, provides an opportunity to promote further the Cluster’s purpose. The law aims to protect the rights of persons with mental health needs. The formation of the Cluster started in an inception meeting in July 2017 and followed by governance and operational meeting. Each of the organizations below had contributed to establishment of the Wellbeing Cluster. Local organizations:
  • Bohol Chambers of Commerce (BCCI)
  • Bohol Consortium on Humanitarian Assistance (BCHA)
  • Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP)
  • Central Visayas Network of NGOs (CENVISNET)
  • Federation of Volunteers through Radio Communications (FVRC)
  • Fellowship of Organization Endeavors (FORGE)
  • Independent POCU Film
  • Kaabag sa Sugbo
  • MINSAC
  • Organization Advocates of Inclusion
  • Philippine Red Cross (PRC) – Cebu Chapter
  • Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)
  • Social Action Center (SAC) – Dumaguete
International Organizations:
  • Action Against Hunger UK
  • Christian Aid
  • Humanitarian Leadership Academy
  • OXFAM
  • Plan International
  • UN-OCHA
  • World Vision
Government Agencies:
  • Cebu Provincial Government – PDRRMO
  • Cebu Provincial Government –Human Resource Department
  • DOH 7
  • DSWD 7
  • OCD 7
The Academic community:
  • Ateneo de Manila University
  • University of Bohol
  • University of San Carlos – Community Extension Services (USC-CES), and Psychology Department;
  • University of the Philippines – Visayas
Hitendra Solanki, a mindfulness and wellbeing adviser of Action Against Hunger UK, first introduced the Wellbeing Cluster, which explores how wellbeing approaches can be improved and transformed within the humanitarian sector. The Wellbeing Cluster aims to create a structured platform that brings humanitarian agencies together to prioritize the wellbeing of aid workers, specifically on supporting their mental health. A 2015 survey by the Guardian Newspaper on humanitarian workers revealed that 79% of the 754 workers surveyed had experienced mental health issues. Of this number, 93% indicated this was directly related to working within the humanitarian sector itself. Another survey conducted in late 2016 also revealed that 48% of deployed staff had indicated they had experienced ‘a threat to their life.’ RAFI through its Humanitarian Disaster Preparedness and Response (HDPR) Unit serves as the lead convener of the Cluster for two (2) years. For inquiries on the activity, one may contact Mikee Pepito at wellbeingcluster@gmail.com or call +63 942 5428 772.

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IAMRAFI: Man With a Mission

The Story of Richard ‘Mansion’ de los Reyes,

Facilitator for Youth Development Program

By Marco Paulo Trajano Deligero | July 17, 2018

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Richard is one of the most recognizable facilitators of the Kool Adventure Camp of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-KAC). Guided by the values his mother taught him, he is making real changes in his community and in the lives of the people he meets, most especially in the lives of the campers he facilitates, campers whose lives are forever changed.

 

‘My Mother Is a Hero’

Richard or Chad to his friends, joined RAFI-KAC in January of 2012. He was exposed to the education setting at a very young age. His adoptive mother, who passed away last year, was a public school teacher. When he was younger, she would bring him to the school where she taught, as well as in DepEd-related activities and summer classes.

Chad said that his mother dedicated her life to teaching, and was very involved in school-related activities including fundraising, because she believed in giving back to the community.

“I believe in my heart that my mother was a hero,” 

 

Greatest Lesson He Learned From His Mother

Chad grew up in the Municipality of Argao. He finished elementary at Langtad Elementary School, and graduated class valedictorian at the Argao National High School.

He attributes his achievements to the upbringing of his late mother, Herminia Almirante-Revilas, who adopted him when he was nine months old.

With the overall initiative of the school, and with his mother given the responsibility to make school projects happen, their school eventually became a model of excellence.

“I learned from my mother not to count the cost, but to always go the extra mile,” 

 

The Formation of a Leader

In high school, Chad developed more of his leadership skills when he became the President of Supreme Student Government at the Argao National High School, and was very active and engaged in school-related activities.

While in college, Chad was exposed to a number of mentors and eventually finished his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Human Resources Management.

He was also exposed to a bigger civic leadership responsibility through the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) for Barangay, Federation and Provincial Federation, where he was elected the Chairman, Argao President, and Vice-President, respectively.

 

Real Change Has Come

One of the notable changes Chad made during his SK Federation leadership was reflected in his advocacy of “No Vote Buying,” a campaign that promoted clean and honest elections.

He also co-established the Alliance of Argawanon Young Leaders (AAYL) which reached out to different organizations to further identify and provide them with their training needs, which is crucial in youth development.

 

‘I Want to Be a KAC Facilitator!’

In college, he met the person who paved the way for his joining RAFI-KAC, on-call instructor Segundo “Kuya Bre” Abrea, Jr. He was introduced to the Kool Adventure Camp (KAC), and there he knew and declared to himself that he wanted to be a KAC facilitator. This was in 2009.

 

‘Mansion’ and the Kool Adventure Camp

Working with RAFI-KAC has helped Chad discover more about himself, understand his full potential and create more opportunities for growth with others.

“Before I was activity-driven, but now, I learned to be more impact-driven, KAC has long-term impact,” Chad said.

When asked on his journey with KAC, Chad said that he ‘never thought that an organization that focuses on youth development ever existed,’

His camp name is ‘Mansion,’ which is a combination of two important things: mission and passion. Chad believes that in whatever you do, if you combine these two things, you could effectively contribute to the community by being of service to others.

“It feels good to be able to help a person become better, and ignite in them the desire to have an active role in society. I want campers to go back to their communities and make a difference in their own little way,” 

 

On His Greatest Lessons Learned From KAC

Being a KAC facilitator for six years now, Chad believes that ‘everybody has the capacity to contribute, to bring out their full potential.’ Part of his responsibility is to encourage campers to awaken the leaders in them, thus, Chad believes that ‘everyone is qualified to serve, it is just a matter of providing a safe environment and creating the right mindset and readiness,’

 

Most Meaningful Contribution: Partnership With DepEd Region 7

Having been exposed to DepEd-related activities at a young age and seeing his mother make lesson plans everyday, Chad contributes to the development of RAFI-KAC by initiating and strengthening the partnership between the KAC and the Department of Education Region 7.

“With what I have experienced from my mom, I thought, I will bring DepEd to KAC!” 

As of today, KAC have forged partnerships with 13 champion-partners, out of 19 divisions in DepEd.

 

On Being an Ambivert

Chad considers himself an ambivert (a person who exhibits qualities of both introversion and extroversion), so being outdoors is a challenge.

“I am not a typical person, being outdoors is a challenge. I need exposure. I often ask myself, how can I blend? How can I deal with pressure?”

“But all of those I have overcome with the help of KAC,” 

Due to his huge responsibility, time management is a challenge, so he makes sure he uses his time properly.

“I learned how to deal with pressure at work, time management, partnership management, everything,” 

 

On Chad’s Biggest Career and Life Motivation

Seeing people discover their purpose is one of his biggest motivations. He believes that through this, he can make a change.

“Every time we have camp activities, I ask the campers, ‘why are you here?’”

“And they get to answer that on their own through their experience in the camp. They learn about their purpose without me intervening — for me that is magic,” 

“Change happens when they feel loved and accepted… change eventually happens… just respect their flow and energy,”

 

On Being RAFInian

For Chad, a RAFInian is someone ‘who knows his worth, someone who learns that there is something that they can contribute, someone who knows where the partners are, and respects and gives each other direction,’

“A RAFInian is someone who can work together with partners, and with a shared vision,”

“I don’t see them as beneficiaries but partners. We should ask the same question: how can we share in each other’s mission? Because if we learn how to, we could do many things,”

 

On How He Wants to Be Remembered

When asked this question, Chad took his time to answer, ‘what could I say?’

“I think I want to be remembered as “Kuya Chad,”

“I want everyone to know, especially the campers, that there is somebody who accepts them no matter who they are; and I will always enjoy listening to them,”

“We must learn to have quality conversations, ask the right questions, and know how to listen,”

“Everybody has the capacity to contribute, to bring out their best potential, everyone is qualified to serve, we just have to help them,”

 

People Who Matters

There are many people that have contributed to Chad’s growth through the years; and this is his opportunity to thank them:

• Sir Charles Bobby Gothong

• Mentors in the Catholic Charismatic Carolinians — USC Group

• Catholic Charismatic Carolinians, is my life changer community in University of San Carlos, most especially to my mentors:

• Engr. Hearty Abadies-Zarsuela, Engr. Jason Buhay, Engr. Regie Gesta, Engr. Gil Guape, and Engr. Annaliza Fe Licardo- Chiong

• Meta-Coach Aldem Walbur Fernan Salvaña

• Fr. Loreto Jaque

• Simon “Tatay Monchito” Mossesgeld

• Atty. Rey Gealon

• Mentors in KAC — Shereen Abrea, Anthony Terrence Ocampo, and Marie Sol D. Gonzalvo

• Kuya Bre Segundo Abrea — Who first introduced to me formally the idea of Experiential Education

• Mentors from Play for Peace Global — Most especially Mr. and Mrs. John Guarrine and Irvin Torralva

• Jodelyn May Seno

• Lafayette Lim

• From the Light of Jesus Community — Daddy O and Bro. Stephen Imbong Nellas of the Radical Brothers, and LLR Batch 2 Sisters and Brothers

• Mentors in Argao National High School, most especially to Mrs. Suzette Omega, Mam Junnah Teo, Althanena Sayson and Mrs. Jessan Caminade

• Mentors and conveners in AAYL most especially to the co-founder — Van Owen Sesaldo

• My Mother Marife de los Reyes, and Father Mauricio “Yoyon” Genabe III;

• And my siblings: Earl Genabe, Denalyn de los Reyes-Warain, CJ Genabe, and Pheobe Jean Genabe

“I am so blessed with our story and forever thankful of the gift of family,”

“And to all the young leaders and community leaders I journey with until now, you are all my mentors,”

“To my Revillas and Almirante Family especially to my Daddy Aquilino S. Revillas, Ate Cheryl Revillas-Reoma, Kuya Neil Revillas, Ate Mimi Revillas and Kuya Ariel, with my nieces and newphew: Xylene, Khylle and Shannen,”

“I understand generosity, kindness and love better because of you choosing me to become part of the family,”

“To God, thank You Lord for these people who have brought out the best in me,”

 “And to my mom, my ultimate hero. Every time I see DepEd; I see my mom, it is my way of honoring my mom. She accepted me, and she never gave up on me, thank you very much.” #IAMRAFI

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“Everybody has the capacity to contribute, to bring out their best potential, everyone is qualified to serve, we just have to help them.”

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RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) clients from Palompon, Leyte availed themselves of free medical consultations and other services during a Community Outreach Program (COP) held last May 26, 2018 at the Palompon Gymnasium.

One of the RMF clients, Wina Mendez, 34, a laundrywoman, came all the way from Isabel, Leyte to avail herself of the free services of medical consultation and circumcision for her son.

“We would’ve spent Php 600.00 if we had the circumcision performed in the hospital. I’m glad I decided to come here; not only did we get the procedure for free, we were also given free medicines and medical check-ups,” Mendez said.

More than 500 clients and residents came to avail themselves of the different services such as free medical and optical consultations, breast and cervical screening, dental services, blood sugar testing, and blood typing. In addition, more than 100 young boys were able to avail themselves of free circumcision.

Nanay Ma. Luisa Verba, 36, said she brought her son Yuri, 8, to be circumcised during the COP to save money.

Aside from the medical services, a livelihood seminar led by Pilmico on hog raising was conducted during the event. There was also a raffle draw where RMF clients won household appliances and a sack of rice.

The COP is a yearlong activity of RMF; it will soon be conducted in Clarin, Bohol.

The Microfinance Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI Micro-finance) provides financial and non-financial services to micro-entrepreneurs with a mission of elevating lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged communities through stable and rewarding livelihood.

 

The Municipality of Samboan is partnering with the Education Development Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EDU) for the construction of 24 new classrooms and provide students with an efficient learning environment.

A pre-construction meeting was held last May 4, 2018 for the five schools. This was attended by representatives from the community, schools, parents and the local government.

One of the objectives of the meeting was to orient stakeholders on their roles during project implementation to foster collaboration and sense of ownership. The project will cost P34 million, with the municipality providing a counterpart of P3.8 million. 

NAME OF SCHOOL

TYPE OF BUILDING/NO. OF CLASSROOMS

Jumangpas Elementary School

2-storey, 3-classroom building with open hall

Samboan Central School

2-storey, 6-classroom building 

San Sebastian Elementary

2-storey, 6-classroom building 

Suba Elementary School

2-storey, 3-classroom building with open hall

Tangbo Elementary School

2-storey, 6-classroom building 

 

“Samboan is lucky to partner with RAFI and to be a recipient of the 24 new rooms that will be intended for schools that lack classrooms. I am glad that RAFI has been supporting DepEd Samboan through the local government unit. These two organizations have greatly helped us in providing critical resources needed for the opening of classes,” said Victoriano Borla, DepEd Samboan district supervisor.

The Education Development Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EDU) helps in the formation of effective learning environments by providing high-quality, cost-effective school infrastructure and by capacitating school communities for the continuous improvement of learning outcomes.