Born as the 5th child in a family of 11, Juvelyn Glorio learned to juggle both work and study when her father died due to a lung problem. With the meager salary as a laundry woman, Juvelyn’s mother could not fully support them.

This time, Juvelyn knew that she had to support herself in her studies. She worked as a saleslady in one of the general merchandising stores in Bogo City, Cebu. She worked full-time during summer; her salary meant food on the table and additional savings for her allowance in the next school year.

Juvelyn’s hard work paid off when she graduated from high school but in as much as she wanted to pursue college, her family’s needs had to be prioritized. She chose to work to support her younger sisters and brothers since her elder siblings got married early. The responsibility of helping her mother fell on her. 

Juvelyn got married in 2006 and she moved to Sibonga, Cebu with her husband. Both of them worked as security guards. In 2011, Juvelyn’s sister from Bogo shared her knowledge on chicharon making and that was when her chicharon-making business began which she co-managed with her husband. 

During the early years of the business, they could only produce a few packs of chicharon because they had limited access to capital. They had to wait until they were able to sell their products before they could produce another batch. That was when Juvelyn decided to join RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF).  She borrowed Php 5,000 pesos in her first loan and used it to buy all the needed equipment and ingredients for her business.

She started producing larger amounts of her product and sold them to the market and sari-sari stores for Php 8 per pack. Her business flourished until she started selling her products to nearby municipalities of Aloguinsan, Argao, Asturias, Balamban, Badian, Carcar, Dumanjug, Moalboal, Pinamungajan, and Toledo.

Over 700 packs of chicharon are produced per day depending on the bulk of orders from Juvelyn’s loyal customers.

For her, giving back to the community is very important and so she hires every student who could use an extra income through the packing of the chicharon, paying them P1/per pack. In most weekdays, about 18 students go to Juvelyn’s place for packing while during summer time, over 30 students come over to her place and help her with the packing together with their mothers. 

Juvelyn wants to show to her three children the importance of giving back to the community. She is very close to her working students, as can very well relate to what they are going through, also having juggled work and studies while in high school.

It’s not every day that business went well for Juvelyn. One of the major challenges the business often encounters are the rainy days since they have to sun-dry their chicharon before cooking. Thus, Juvelyn and her husband made it a point to produce more of their products and store them before the rainy season.

Juvelyn’s life may have been very hard but she learned a lot from her experiences. She worked hard so that her own children will not be able to feel the hardships she experienced before. It made her strong and have the heart to serve the children that needs help in their education. Her little act impacted the lives of those children. She also now serves as a role model not just to her children but also to the community.

RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) celebrates its 20 years of elevating the lives of Micro-entrepreneurs. RMF is a program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) that provides the vulnerable and disadvantaged with comprehensive financial services that enable them to have a stable and rewarding means of livelihood to elevate their quality of life.

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IAMRAFI: Eleven Years and Counting 

The Story of Ariane A. Zarraga, Branch OIC,

RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. 11 Years in Service

By Marco Paulo Trajano Deligero | December 19, 2018

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Ariane Zarraga started working with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. in 2007, formerly known as CMEDFI, as Trust Staff. Eleven years after, she is now a Branch Officer-In-Charge. This is the story of her career growth and celebration of her first decade in service.

 

On Her Journey to Being Part of RAFI

On August 7, 2007, Zarraga started her career with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. as CMEDFI Trust Staff in Argao, Cebu before being assigned in Argao, Carcar City, and Dalaguete.

Four years later, she was transferred to the Minglanilla/Naga branch and eventually moved to the Talisay City and San Fernando town branches. During those times she was recognized as Best Trust Staff under her line manager Naomi Navacilla.

Still, after another two years, Zarraga was transferred to Argao area as the Assistant Branch Manager under her line manager Charen Rabasano. When her line manager was transferred to the Balamban branch, Zarraga assumed the role of officer-in-charge but was eventually transferred to the Balamban branch. She is now back in the Carcar City branch, where she has been since June 20, 2017.

 

On Working With RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. and on What Made Her Stay

Ownership of her job pushes Zarraga to do her best every single day, especially because she deals with different clients. Her job discipline goes beyond fieldwork, overtime, and ensuring 100% target collection.

“I love and enjoy my job. Every time I approach clients, my ownership of the job pushes me to do my best. I remember there were times when we had 100% target collections, and I was reminded by the words of my line manager, “’do not return to the office if there are still past due accounts,’”

For Zarraga, choosing this job means prioritizing the clients’ needs through sustainable entrepreneurial financial assistance over her personal convenience. The gratitude she receives and all those “thank you’s” are overwhelming, she says.

“This job means more than just being able to feed my family and send my children to a good school or buy things I really like… my job is my mission — to help people through the services I render to them. That’s the reason I am still here,”

 

Finding Meaning

Zarraga said that providing heartfelt service is her greatest contribution to this institution. For her, working without commitment is worse than not working at all. 

“Every time I work, I do it from the heart and with commitment. You can only feel fulfillment if you are committed to doing good in what you do,”

Zarraga remembers when super typhoon Yolanda hit Bantayan Island hard, RAFI was among the first few responders to reach the place. She and her colleagues also helped out in packing relief goods at the Casa Gorordo Museum.

“I’m so proud of those times when I volunteered. I was one of those who gave Bantayanons their emergency packs. There was no time to rest, to be with family, to sleep but is all worth it because I know that I was rendering my time for the betterment of the survivors of Yolanda. For me, it gives me meaning to be a RAFInian,”

 

On Influencing Others and Career Impact

Being in a job and committing to it for the past 10 years is a very important feat for Zarraga. She believes that people should enjoy and be grateful for their jobs and do their obligations without hesitations in order to achieve success in their careers. She also hopes that one day, people will know her story and find inspiration from it.

 

On Her Biggest Career and Life Motivation

Family and being able to help provide for them are her biggest inspirations because every time she is faced with challenges, she eventually learns to solve these. This, she said, keeps her grounded and makes her value her work.

One of her inspirations is RAFI President & COO Dominica B. Chua after she heard the latter deliver an inspirational talk where Chua said, “Doing things from the heart is a great contribution you render to the community.”

“That makes me more inspired to do the job I’ve signed up for the last 10 years with this institution,”

On Her Greatest Career Accomplishment and Career Challenge

Zarraga said that being a RAFInian is her greatest career accomplishment.

“It is a great opportunity to do a mission that RAFI is dedicated to do,”

She also shared an experience where she was involved in a robbery holdup.

“I was so scared — I was shaking during that time. After the incident, I went through debriefing, and I realized that it is just one challenge of this job. I never thought of quitting,”

There was also a time when Zarraga got hospitalized due to her lack of sleep and inability to sleep well at night brought about by the demands of her job. Her family had to tell her to forget about work first so she could rest and recover. 

 

On Being a RAFInian

“I treasure the fact that I am a RAFInian,” Zarraga said.

She said that this helps her to always follow policy and procedures in order to have a smooth flow of transactions.  

“I am proud that I am part of the RAFI family, which keeps on inspiring and doing things for the community. I am proud that I get to take part in Touching People and Shaping the Future by providing them with services that help improve their lives,”

 

On Leaving a Mark

“Don’t aspire to be the best in the team but aspire to be the best for the team,” Zarraga said.

“Because as RAFInians, we are a team and we put people first before ourselves and we should always think that we should touch lives and reach our goal as a team: hard work, commitment, perseverance, patience, time management, engagement, accountability, and teamwork,”

“We should serve as a good example and should be committed to serving the community at all times,”

 

On Her Greatest Lesson

Zarraga said that to be committed to serving the community is the greatest lesson she has learned while working with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. Through this, she was able to realize that her 10 years have made an impact on people’s lives.

“The countless challenges you have faced and will be facing will help you do things even beyond the extra mile,” Zarraga said.

Sacrifices are made for the common good. That is also one lesson Zarraga learned. 

“The extra mile and distance will never be a hindrance, even though I only get to hug and kiss them during my twice-a-month visits. It is sad to think but I have to do this for my family and the clients,”

 

To the People Who Matter to Her

Zarraga is grateful that she works with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. because RMF prioritizes the community whom it wants to help to.

“To our Chief Operating Officer, DBC for her countless services to make the RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) stand and grow,

“To Ma’am Maria Theresa Catipay for her commitment in serving RMF, to Ma’am Charen Rabasano who has always coached and mentors me to follow the path of policy,”

She also gives thanks to her mother and family who has always been supportive of her in fulfilling her job.

“To my mother who always understands me and helps me especially when I need her companion and monetary assistance, to my siblings who always supports me even if they don’t agree with my fieldwork exposure,”

“To my children who always listen and love me even if I don’t get to prepare their meals and dress them after taking a bath and send them to school, and they don’t have a mother who is always present to assist what their needs in school, [and] to my life partner who understands our distance and supports me no matter what,”

“To my colleagues, especially to Ma’am Naomi Navacilla, who has inspired, motivated and cheered me up in those down times. They encouraged me to see those times as challenges,”

“It hurts sometimes but I always keep in mind that this is part of the challenges and hindrances and this will never keep me down. I will continue to pursue my mission to help others, to touch their lives and shape their future.” #IAMRAFI

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Anita Wasquin didn’t need any diploma to prove what she’s good at — being a businesswoman. Growing up in a less fortunate family, Anita made a promise to herself that even though she wasn’t able to finish elementary, she will strive hard to give a comfortable life for her family.

Anita’s father was a farmer while her mother was a plain housewife and they lived in a small house in the City of Naga, Cebu. Anita lost interest in going to school given that they didn’t have enough money to support her and her siblings’ education, but deep down she knew what she really wanted to do in life. 

In 1972, Anita got married at the age of 19. Innate in her was the heart of a businesswoman, she pursued her passion in business and started selling ready-to-wear clothing products in their neighboring barangays while her husband works in an oil company as a contractor.

With her husband’s salary of Php 14.00, Anita knew that she had to help her husband in providing for their family. Anita’s keen hand on saving money is also one of the many reasons why their business flourished; whenever she receives money from her husband’s salary, she would always keep at least 10% of it as savings to assist them whenever there is an emergency.

When Anita was able to save enough money, her sister came up to her and encouraged her to venture into another business — natural rocks selling. They would go to Danawan, Naga where there was a mining area which allowed them to buy solid natural rocks and sell it to the big companies. Anita then realized that a rock selling business would be a great investment.  Around that same time, her husband lost his job because the company he worked for closed down and he received a separation fee of Php 72,000.00. 

Anita used the money to renovate their house and also invested more in the rock selling business. To be able to expand her business in 2000, Anita joined RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) and was able to borrow Php 5,000, which she used to buy the equipment for cutting natural rocks according to designs for buildings and houses. She was also able to provide employment to 14 individuals in the community as rock cutters and partnered with big companies that sell natural stones.  At present, she supplies rocks in the regions of Visayas and Luzon.

One of the greatest challenges that Anita and her family experienced was when one of their buyers gave them a bouncing check worth of Php 70,000. They were not able to regain the lost money, which caused her to miss out on her weekly obligation in RMF until she used up all her savings to pay for her loan balance.

Eventually, with Anita’s wisdom in business and her strong will, she got back up and was even able to build another business of hollow blocks making and general merchandising which she already gave to her two children. Her only daughter is a school teacher and is now learning the ropes of running the stone slicing business.

Anita has many plans for her children. She wants to give them what she didn’t have when she was young. Today, Anita is 67 years old and is living a comfortable life without the fear of her children’s future even without her. 

She is also a role model in her community since she often leads and guides the youth during their once a week Purok clean-up drive, and she sponsors many barangay activities. She also serves as the adviser in their women’s group. Her kindness to the people in their barangay is clearly felt through her giving away of excess materials of natural rocks to her neighbors so that they might be able to sell it as well.

Anita may not have a diploma but she proved that the greatest weapon in life is one’s attitude towards every situation one is facing. It was indeed a rough ride for Anita and her family but all the challenges she faced enabled her to build a very strong foundation not just in their family but also in their community.

RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) celebrates its 20 years of elevating the lives of Micro-entrepreneurs. RMF is a program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) that provides the vulnerable and disadvantaged with comprehensive financial services that enable them to have a stable and rewarding means of livelihood to elevate their quality of life.

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IAMRAFI: More Than a Decade of Commitment 

The Story of Evelyn Jayma, Bookkeeper,

RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. 11 Years in Service

By Marco Paulo Trajano Deligero | December 11, 2018

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Evelyn started with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. in 2007. And since then she has been grateful for all the blessings she has received from her being part of RMF. She now celebrates her eleventh year as the Bookkeeper at RMF.

 

The Beginning of Ten Years

 

Evelyn Jayma started working with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) on September 7, 2007. She already knew RMF since her mother is an RMF Nanay or client, she then learned that RMF was actively recruiting for some position to be filled.

 

She applied as Trust Staff but eventually was encouraged to apply as a bookkeeper.

 

“At first, I only applied as a trust staff. Then one of the trainers approached and encouraged me to apply as a bookkeeper,”

 

“Luckily, I got picked even if I didn’t have a college degree and I’m forever thankful for that,” Evelyn said.

 

 

Overcoming Insecurities

 

For Evelyn, being an undergrad has been a challenge for her, with some people underestimating her capabilities.

 

“Being an undergrad gave me a lot of insecurities and worries every time I applied for a job before, but RAFI gave me a chance to grow and showcase my abilities. It opened many windows of opportunities for me, and all the relationships I have built with my colleagues is unbreakable,”

 

Evelyn also said that she believes her contribution to RAFI Micro-finance, Inc., after all those deadlines and sleepless nights, has paid off.

“For me, the most meaningful contribution I have made is ensuring to meet the demands of our (RMF) clients, having those sleepless nights and beating the deadlines, it’s all worth it,”

 

On Life and Career Motivation, and Influencing Others

For Evelyn, despite challenges, she makes sure that her family will always be her career motivation.

“My family, of course. Having a difficult life while growing up motivates me to do well in my career so my children will not experience the hardships of life,”

 

“I can influence others by motivating them to achieve and do well in their craft. That will surely make my career here in RAFI remarkable and give me a sense of achievement and confidence,”

 

 

On Her Greatest Career Accomplishment, Overcoming Challenges

 

True to RAFI’s commitment of touching lives, Evelyn lives by this vision by being an instrument to bring change to the lives of people and communities.

 

“My greatest career accomplishment is each time I become an instrument to touch the lives of people, when I see the satisfied faces of our superiors and dear clients; even in a small way, I know I am helping them grow their business,”

 

Evelyn also shared a time when she was about to give up her job, but she continued to pray to God in order to survive the ordeal between building her family and continuing her career.

 

“The day when I gave birth to my first child, I entertained the idea of resigning, but very night, I prayed to God that I will survive, and I did,” Evelyn shared.

 

 

On Being a RAFInian and Leaving a Mark, Greatest Lessons

 

Evelyn shared that for her, being a RAFInian means having a purpose, someone whose main purpose is to serve people and to improve their living conditions.

“I am always on call anytime my RAFI family needs me,” Evelyn proudly shared.

“Blowing off steam at others is not the way to solve a problem, talking and sharing of ideas is one of the best solutions to solve problems and avoid conflicts,” Evelyn sharing her lessons learned working with RAFI Micro-finance, Inc.

 

On People That Matters

 

Evelyn also took the opportunity to thank her family, family, and God.

 

“I would like to take this opportunity to give my biggest thanks to my mother for introducing me to RAFI, and RAFI Micro-finance, Inc.,”

 

“To my colleagues for the encouragement, and to my RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. family for always believing in my capability,”

 

“To my siblings and most especially my husband who is always proud of me and supportive in anything I do,”

 

“To my three princesses, this is all for you, babies!!!”

 

“And lastly, to the Almighty God for always showing me the goodness of life. Thank you very much.” #IAMRAFI

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“We all want to make Cebu a better place,”

These were the words of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) Research, Programs, and Organizational Development (RPOD) Executive Committee chairperson Gordon Allan Joseph when he welcomed guests during the Mega Cebu Purok Awards last Dec. 3, 2018, at the Grand Convention Center of Cebu.

The event aimed to recognize the puroks with the distinction of Metro Cebu and the Mega Cebu focal teams of the 12 local government units (LGUs). Having made a headway in fostering grassroots participation in community development through the puroks, the RPOD Program Management Office (PMO) highlighted the initiatives of the outstanding puroks by sharing their stories with the rest of the Metro Cebu LGUs.

As of the moment, 11 of the 13 LGUs of Metro Cebu have either an executive order or an ordinance establishing and institutionalizing the purok system. A total of 2,120 functional puroks have been organized with the assistance and support from the Constituency Building team of the Mega Cebu Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.

Present during the event were the leaders of the identified puroks, local chief executives, and the Purok Organizing Team who witnessed the culmination of their hard work. Each purok received a DRRM kit as a token of recognition for their efforts to develop communities and grassroots support for Mega Cebu.

The MCDCB RPOD PMO identified the puroks with distinction as Purok V of Danao City, Purok Saging-saging of Mandaue City, Purok Vischoa of Talisay City, Purok Aidtech1 of Naga City, Purok Pongtod of Carcar City, Purok Magtalisay of Compostela, Purok Kalibuan of Liloan, Purok Tambis of Consolacion, Purok Maalagaron of Cordova, Purok 7 of Minglanilla, and Purok Sayaw of San Fernando.

Mayors and representatives of the Metro Cebu cities and municipalities expressed their gratitude toward Mega Cebu and how it has continued to help in fostering grassroots participation in governance and development.

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 Cebu Provincial Government spearheaded a multi-sectoral meeting aimed at sharing perspectives on climate risk and resilience strengthening for Bantayan Island last November 13, 2018, at Capitol Central Hotel and Suites.

The coordination meeting, titled Shared Perspective on Critical Climate Risks and Resilience Strengthening: Bantayan Island, was led by the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) headed by Baltazar Tribunalo. 

“Impact (of disasters) depends on our capacity. With the increasing vulnerability, Integrated Risk Management or IRM is [a] key approach to resilience strengthening,” said Anat Prag, Cordaid Country Director for the Philippines. 

IRM is the systematic integration of disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and environmental management and restoration, and is founded on the analysis that risks are evolving causing increased disaster frequency and magnitude as climate change exacerbates hazards as do unabated ecosystem degradation. 

An innovative approach–IRM prioritizes people at risk, building on local and traditional resources and knowledge. It also links humanitarian and development domains by focusing on livelihoods, addressing risk at landscape levels to manage and restore ecosystems, and integrating disciplines and approaches to encompass different risks.

PDRRMO and Cordaid, as a member of Partners for Resilience (PfR), promote IRM as a key approach to resilience strengthening.

The partnership started in January 2017 when the PDRRMO, Cordaid, and the local government unit of Santa Fe implemented IRM in Kinatarcan Island, followed by a participatory disaster risk assessment in the towns of Sante Fe and Bantayan. This was supported by the Archdiocese of Cebu-Recovery and Rehabilitation Unit.

In early 2018, Santa Fe used the results of risk mapping in formulating the Local Climate Change Action Plan with Climate Change Adaptation Framework. The town also conducted further studies on water resource as a critical element at risk and on Slow Onset Event with the Institute for Climate Sustainable Cities and Visayas State University 

Initial recommendations from the study stated that addressing the risk should be for the entire Bantayan Island.

The Humanitarian Disaster Preparedness and Response Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-HDPR) contributes to the effectiveness and efficiency of the disaster preparedness and surge capacity of the Local Government Units.

The Cebu Provincial Government and Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC), in partnership with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., organized a series of a leadership program for Paglaum scholars at the Kool Adventure Camp of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-KAC) in Barangay Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu.

“Our history is infused with stories of inspiration and patriotism of leaders in the prime of their youth,” Gov. Hilario P. Davide III said in his speech.  

“Remember always that the hallmark of a truly great leader lies in his ability to sow seeds of love, truth, justice, and hope in the hearts of others. May the lessons you learn today, and have learned these past days, prepare you in your return to your respective schools, communities, and families,” he added.

The 1,400 scholars were divided into 11 batches for a one-day leadership program last November 8 to 9, 2018.

Marie Sol Gonzalvo, KAC camp director, said the training focused on building the students’ self-confidence, values, and leadership skills.

“The various activities at the camp helped the scholars to break their inner barriers and self-limiting beliefs. With this effort, we can open their minds, let them dream big, see the entire world out there and they can be who they really set themselves out to be,” she added.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said the leadership program was part of their efforts to train the scholars to become leaders who give back to the community what they have received from the government.

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 Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), through the Research, Program and Organizational Development (RPOD), in partnership with the City of Yokohama, organized the Metro Cebu Urban Development Forum and Networking Event last October 30, 2018, at the Seda Hotel.

The forum aimed to bring together the public and private sectors of Yokohama and Metro Cebu to discuss business ideas and possible solutions to urban development challenges in Cebu, such as flooding and traffic congestion. The gathering also highlighted the importance of the involvement and engagement of the private sector in addressing challenges concerning city-region development.

Dominica Chua, MCDCB co-chairperson and RAFI president and COO, welcomed guests and participants, which included the representatives of the private sector from the City of Yokohama headed by Ken Akaoka, executive director for International Affairs Bureau of the City of Yokohama. Chua stressed in her welcome remarks the impact that the partnership has had on the development of Metro Cebu.

After the presentation of Roland Lastimosa of Talisay City on the Mega Cebu Development Goals (MCDGs), MCDCB’s five-year action plan to address important issues which include solid waste management and traffic management, among others, the representatives from the private sector of Yokohama City followed with their presentations on the different technologies they had to offer.

Among the topics discussed were wastewater management in public and private facilities and low-carbon initiatives to promote the Province of Cebu Low-Carbon Development Ordinance. 

In his closing remarks, Akaoka expressed his gratitude to the partnership and excitement to the future collaborations that could result out of the forum.

The MCDCB and the City of Yokohama have long been partners in terms of city-region development for Metro Cebu. Both parties have benefitted in such a way that valuable lessons were learned in community building and development.

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.

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The Kool Adventure Camp of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-KAC) pioneered iServe: “Leading Communities,” an intensive five-day Experiential Leadership Program, to 57 elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials of the City Government of Bogo. The activity was held last November 5 to 9, 2018.

iServe: Leading Communities is KAC’s leadership program for youth in governance. It is an experiential leadership program for elected SK officials with the thrust of building their character, competence, and citizenship through awareness sessions, team activities, and sessions on project management. 

Committed to providing opportunities for the youth in public service, iServe aims to:

• build their character as young public servants through understanding better their strengths and areas to improve as a leader, 

• strengthen work ethics with their colleagues by fostering a supportive environment, 

• develop skills relevant in performing their roles and functions as public servants, and 

• create positive change in the community through impact-driven projects and initiatives.

“There’s a lack of activity-based programs/projects initiated by the youth in the City and there is [an] absence of execution, project management, and monitoring and impact evaluation skills,” said Bogo City Local Youth Development Officer (LYDO) Jose Neil D. Lumongsod.

“The City believes that working together with KAC in providing an experiential leadership program for Bogo City youth could build their character, strengthen work ethics with their colleagues, develop skills relevant in performing their roles and functions as public servants and create positive change in the community through impact-driven projects and initiatives,”

“KAC’s mission of equipping individuals with 3Cs to become leaders of change is aligned with the mandate of the LYDO which is to capacitate the SK officials so that the latter will be equipped in performing their duties and functions as SK initiating impact-driven projects,” he added.

The iServe Program immersed the youth into challenging activities such as ropes courses, land expedition, and low initiative courses wherein they were able to reflect and share their experiences and major takeaways from these powerful learning activities with their fellow leaders.

“I learned a lot of things that will surely help my chairmanship,” said SK Chairperson Elaila Mae P. Monsalud.

“I will continue my eagerness on serving my fellow youth in the community and I will maintain the fire that’s burning within.”

“Small but terrible” — this idiomatic expression is one that would describe Mary Grace Bayalas. A woman with a small figure but with a terribly big heart of service for others, Grace is a 29-year-old midwife-entrepreneur from San Fernando, Cebu; the fourth of nine children, Grace has become one of the breadwinners of the family as she supports her three younger siblings to school. 

Although still in her 20s, Grace has long dreamt of putting up her own birthing clinic in the community where such service is scarce. This became temporarily forgotten when she decided to work for a renowned watch manufacturing company immediately after graduating high school. However, she was not accepted because she did not meet the height requirement; little did she know that something greater and bigger was in store for her. 

She then decided to pursue midwifery in 2011 and was able to pass the licensure exam in her first try. She worked at a birthing clinic in Balamban, Cebu for a few months before she decided to go back to San Fernando and pursue that lifelong dream of putting up her own clinic. 

In 2012, Grace found a shabby property along the Poblacion where she was able to establish a birthing clinic of two beds. In the first few months of her clinic’s operations, Grace was just a one-woman team. From the delivery of babies, making the necessary reports, ensuring the operational efficiency of the clinic and even down to the cleaning of the establishment and washing used bed sheets and equipment — she did it all on her own. However, the physical strain and exhaustion was not the only challenge Grace had to face in the early years of her clinic’s operations. 

She had been a subject of discrimination as some people doubted her capacity to deliver babies due to her being ”young, inexperienced and short.”

“I was 22 back then – ‘young and short’ and I heard people ask if I am even able to handle my patients well.” Grace narrated.

There were times when patients go to her clinic for pre-natal check-ups and then be surprised and doubtful when they see her. However, this did not stop her. At one point, she took photos of her patients with their healthy babies and put up a “Mother and Baby’s Wall of Fame.”

From then on, people who visited the clinic began to trust her ability and she was able to build her reputation as a good and reliable midwife in the municipality. Not long after, she had to request her landlady to rent out the neighboring space to her for the extension of her clinic — adding five (5) more recovery beds for her patients. She even had patients coming from the neighboring towns of Carcar and Naga despite the presence of other birthing clinics in those areas. She now has three (3) midwife staffs in the clinic — one of them being her sister — with her father as the driver of the clinic’s ambulance. 

In 2016, Grace ventured into another business by putting up a General Merchandise in Brgy. Bugho, one of the far-flung and mountainous barangays of the town. She came up with this idea when she learned that people from this barangay had to spend about Php 100 for the fare going to the center as there were no merchandising stores available within the barangay.

“Instead of spending P100 for the fare, they can use this instead to purchase goods from a nearby store.” Grace said.

That same year, she joined RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) which enabled her to further increase the number and variety of products in her store. 

Having this heart to help was not something new to Grace as she was an active midwife volunteer of the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EJACC). She joins the team in conducting Free Breast and Cervical Screenings for women in poor communities. In exchange for her voluntary service, RAFI-EJACC sponsors her own Free Breast and Cervical Screenings in San Fernando every year in June.

Aside from helping the women in the community, Grace’s positive performance as an RMF client made her as one of the nominees of the nationwide search for the Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA).

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) is a nationwide search for outstanding microentrepreneurs in the Philippines. Funded by Citi Foundation, the CMA program was launched in 2002 as part of the celebration for Citi’s 100th year in the Philippines. The awards program is a partnership among the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Philippines, and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI). 

For this year, Mary Grace Bayalas won the coveted award as the Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year, the first-ever RMF client to win it, as she imbibes RMF’s heart to serve those who are marginalized and vulnerable through businesses that are more than just for profit — but also for improving people’s quality of life. 

It can now be told that her dream has become her life’s mission, which she does with so much passion.

RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) celebrates its 20 years of elevating the lives of Micro-entrepreneurs. RMF is a program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) that provides the vulnerable and disadvantaged with comprehensive financial services that enable them to have a stable and rewarding means of livelihood to elevate their quality of life.

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IAMRAFI: A Better Man Through Perseverance

The Story of Jomar Mandawe, Most Outstanding Trust Staff 2017, RMF Daanbantayan Branch

By Danielle Tan | December 5, 2018

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For a man who was not used to hard labor and difficult life, Jomar Mandawe rose up to the challenges life threw at him. From zero to hero, his courage and determination made him the RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. Most Outstanding Trust Staff of 2017.

 

Not the Usual Beginning

Jomar Mandawe was born and raised in the small city of Bogo, the youngest and only boy in a family of five. Being the youngest, Jomar was given all the things he wanted.

“I was quite spoiled when it comes to my mother. I admit that I came to a point where I tried every vice you could think of. I had no clear direction back then and I became too complacent because my mother gave me everything I wanted,” he admittedly said.

Mandawe was able to finish his degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science major in Programming at the Cebu Roosevelt Memorial Colleges.

“My parents were really happy that I graduated on time despite my vices, I overcame the challenges of finishing my college degree,”

 

His Perseverance and Life Motivation

He was able to land a job as an appraiser in a pawnshop but later on resigned and applied as a collector in a lending company.

“I could not find any purpose in those jobs, so I had to give them up and search for my purpose in life,”

When Mandawe had a family of his own, he had to find a job to support his wife, son, and newborn daughter. He decided to stop all his vices and focus on how to provide a bright future for his family.

 

Challenges and His Most Memorable Experience

In 2016, Mandawe applied as a Trust Staff in the RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. and was assigned in Daanbantayan. 

His Branch Manager, Reynan Locaylocay, who Mandawe considers as his mentor, guided him from the very beginning.

“Perseverance is needed when you are a Trust Staff. I had to be persistent despite days of being exposed to the scorching heat of the sun and difficult clients we had to face when collecting past due or overdue accounts,” Mandawe said.

He even shared an experience he will never forget.

“I recall a time when I had to collect an overdue account late in the evening… I had to cross an eerie cemetery alone just to reach the client’s house. It was a frightening moment for me that I had to call Sir Reynan for backup so I could complete my task,” 

 

From Zero to Hero

Mandawe maintained a 0% Portfolio at Risk (PAR) in his area and was able to deliver what was expected of him. And with the guidance of his branch manager, he continued serving the clients in Daanbantayan with fervor.

His family has always been his driving force.

“I realized the value of perseverance because I needed to provide for my family,”

“I could say that being here in RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. really brought changes for good in my life; far from my previous wayward life,”

“I can’t say that I’ve fully found my purpose but because of my family’s support and understanding, I am encouraged to do well in my work,”

“Moreover, I also find it encouraging every time I see changes and progress in the business lives of the clients I serve. It seemed close to finding the purpose I am looking for,” Mandawe said.

 

On Being the ‘Most Outstanding Trust Staff 2017’

Mandawe’s heart and determination in serving the Nanays made him the Most Outstanding Trust 2017, awarded last January 27, 2018.

“I never expected the award because there were also other deserving staff out there,”

“Even my family was surprised after they received the good news because they knew how hardheaded I was before. But now, because of RAFI-Micro-finance, Inc. and this new responsibility, I am now changed,” Mandawe said.

 

People That Matter to Him

Mandawe shared that he drew inspiration from his family when he needed the courage to face the unknown and perseverance during hard times, for they never gave up on him despite his past mistakes.

“I changed for the better and that was the biggest challenge I have overcome in my life. And now, I feel so blessed,” 

“To God, who never left me despite all my bad decisions. Thank you very much,”

“To my family, my Daanbantayan RAFI-Micro-finance, Inc. team, and of course, to our Nanays, and to everyone who believed in me, I offer this award to all of you,” Mandawe said.

“I could never be thankful enough for the faith and the second chance you gave me. I love you all,” 

“Let’s all Bugsai together to achieve bigger possibilities! I am happy.” #IAMRAFI

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