In the comfort of one’s home, a family only wishes to live in a house that best provides the needs of their family. To pursue this, working hard to achieve the goal to live comfortably has been quite strenuous and hard for a family that only makes quite a living; but for the family of Belen Sotto, she was privileged enough to be able to avail the WASH Loan.

Belen Sotto, a 57 year old Barbeque (BBQ) Seller from Branch Manga living with her husband, Roman Sotto and her 3 kids has been working hard to fulfill their needs as a family. As a former employee, Nanay Belen has improved their lifestyle, and has continued doing so as a BBQ seller and living off the pension of her husband.

With the success of her business, she wanted to start her house renovation. Before she was introduced to the WASH Loan, she was having a hard time continuing the renovation of her bathroom. Although she already had a bathroom and a water source, Nanay Belen wanted to improve it for their family. She was not able to have it cemented and tiled.

 For her first loan amount of Php 5,000.00, she was able to start the changes to her sanitary area and improving the floors of her bathroom. With the second loan of Php 10,000.00, she was able to finish her bathroom renovation.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa RAFI MFI dahil tinulungan niyo kami, hindi lang sa aming negosyo kundi din sa pagbigay ng pagkakataon na mas iangat ang aming buhay sa pamamagitan ng pag-gamit ng WASH Loan, na naging daan upang mas mapadali at mas mapaganda ang aming banyo. Magaan lang din sa bulsa ang interest at nababayaran ko din agad. Sana ay mas makatulong pa kayo ng maraming micro-entrepreneur na gustong maging mas komportable ang kanilang buhay. (I am very thankful for RAFI MFI for helping us, not only in our business but for giving us a chance to elevate our lives through availing the WASH Loan, that paved the way to improve our bathroom. The payment was not too heavy in our part, and the interest was enough for us to repay it immediately. I hope you help more micro-entrepreneurs who wants to live a more comfortable life.)

For many years, the longing of the family of Nanay Belen to live a comfortable life has been their goal, and now they have done so. Opportunities such as the WASH Loan, has always given a family the chance to become motivated to continue elevating their lives.

by Rich Jasper Adolfo, RAFI EDU Intern

Most of us are blessed to be living a comfortable life. But behind all that comfort, it can be hard for us to appreciate the little luxuries that not most people can enjoy.  

The Seal of Excellence in Education Development or SEED is an annual evidence-based awards program of the Education Development Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI EDU). It aims to gather and analyze relevant data as bases for strengthening, modifying, or introducing new interventions to improve the quality of public education and recognize and reward outstanding school community performance.  

Jovencio N. Masong National High School (JNMNHS) located in Bogo, Cebu, was one of the awardees of the SEED 2018’s Secondary Category, where the school proposed the 21st Century Alternative Learning Mode Project. The project aims to help conduct digital modular classes to 35 students in the seventh grade, using the smart phones granted for their asynchronous online learning.  

Students of JNMNHS expressed their worries on learning through online classes, brought by the unusual setting they will be adapting this school yearFatima Tampus Andrino, one of the students, shared how she prefers the usual face-to-face learning as it was easier for her to learn. Nonetheless, she continues to look into the bright side – with the use of a smart phone, it allows her to retain communication with her teachers, especially when she encounters a hard time understanding the subject.

Parents of the students were overjoyed that their children had been granted mobile phones for their online classes. “I’m very grateful to RAFI for supporting the needs of the students, for us parents, it’s a big help and aid in their studies.” said Miriam M. Pedrano. 

Although there were some disadvantages in the new mode of teaching such as connectivity issues, teachers have made it clear that the disadvantages do not outweigh the advantages. This set up has also enabled the teachers to innovate their mode of instruction like supplemental video lessons. Overall, they were grateful for the smart phones as it gave them and the students the advantage of overcoming the new norm.  

Elizabeth Bilaos, the principal of the school concluded by saying: “JNMNHS is so grateful with RAFI. With the provision of smartphones to our students, education made it easy for our learners. We are so blessed to have you, RAFI. 

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.