Sharing last few centavos with a neighbor during the Covid-19 pandemic—when scarcity and food insecurity is as real as it comes—is an act of true love and compassion. It must be.

This rare gesture was displayed by members of the North Home Owners Association Inc. (NHOAI) as they implement their organization’s program called, “Damayan.”

The title was apt. “Damayan” is a Filipino word for “sympathy” or “sharing in one’s burden.”

The NHOAI is based in Manila North Cemetery (MNC), an area that the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) serves, especially in the areas of livelihood and education.

KKFI, through its Community Empowerment Program, assisted the NHOAI by conducting leadership trainings and community education. It was during one of these sessions way back in August 2017 when the MNC residents came up with a decision to form the organization.

The group’s primary objective is to push for their right for a socialized housing located outside of the cemetery. Living inside the MNC compound has haunted them for years. People look down upon them and the stigma has cut deep into their collective psyche for years.

But thanks to “Damayan,” the first successful program of the group, they are slowly regaining their lost confidence in themselves.

The idea of the program is derived from an old practice of Filipinos whenever someone dies. Our ancestors would donate any amount to the surviving family members.

Fast forward today. Damayan tries to systematize this ancient practice.

There was a time when the organization did not allot any budget for events such as death or sudden illness of a member’s close relative. When these sad incidents happen, they would individually reach for their pockets and share whatever they can. When the program was started in 2018, the group was able to provide support intentionally and systematically.

They choose core group leaders to take charge of the collection from members and to turn the collection over to the committee chairman. The total collection serves as the organization’s share in hospital and burial expenses.

The program is limited to organization members’ first degree relatives for the purpose of efficiency and viability. The organization initiative is comparable to establishing the small community’s own health insurance.

To date, the program has already supported more or less 20 families, who received financial assistance from late December 2018 to the present. Nine members had received a total of P28,708 under the program.

“Marami po ang naitulong ng NHOAI Damayan program, lalo na po doon sa mga pamilya na nawalan ng mahal sa buhay,” according to Nora Soliman, one of the core group leaders.

A member, Leah Cuatara, confirms the help Damayan provides to them: “Kahit sa maliit na halaga kapag pinagsama-sama ay napakalaking tulong na po sa mga nangangailangan.”

Anna Villegas, president of NHOAI, said the organization is not only for the members whose close relatives died. She added, “Marami nang natulungan ang Damayan, mapabuhay man o namatayan.”

The residents of MNC are poor but their willingness to help each other out is abundant. They are the personification of living together in harmony.

Acts: 20:35 says it’s better to give than to receive. They may not have memorized the verse but they are certainly living it.

Featured Posts
Join us in the Grand Opening of Good Eats @Klepper
Sa tulon ng KKFI, ako ay naglakas loob na sumulong patungo sa aking pangarap at nagwagi
Unti-unti naaabot ang pag-asang di inaalang matutupad
Ang mga karanasan ko sa KKFi ng siyam na taon ay humubog sa akin.
Ang KKFI ay naging tulay ng pag-asa para sa mga kabataang nahinto sa pag-aaral
Paddling hard through life to succeed
I learned many skills from KKFI
Online classes have its benefits besides being difficult due to financial and gadget requirements. I am also learning while the teacher teaches my son.
KKFI taught me skills to be an economically, emotionally and spiritual person
Binago ng KKFI ang buhay ko.
We were brought closer to each other.
Nagliwanag ang aking kinabukasan dahil sa KKFI
Thankful to God for His faithfulness.
Nanay Wilma Galacio is thankful for a lot of blessings.
Laking tulong ng KKFi sa amin.
Cancer in the family can be an opportunity to help.
Nagkaroon ng tiwala sa sarili.
Nabago ang kanyang buhay
Natuto akong mangarap
Kamangha-mangha ang galing sa pag-awit
SI Ate Love ang nagbigay ng pag-asa.
Alvin Cea found a family in KKFI.
Follow father's footstep
Perseverance pays off
Education during the pandemic
Our mission is to help others.
It is never to late to change.
Try harder
A child blossomed in KKFI Supervised Neighborhood Play.
A mother's love
KKFI: Transforming lives and communities
Ang mga tao ay nagsabing "Mamamatay sila sa gutom ngayong pandemic."
Damayan is sharing.
Teacher tells her experience with the new normal
Naging aktibo sa aktibidades ng KKFI.
Responding positively to the COIVD-19 pandemic.
Like Alice in Wonderland, Allysa learned something from the hole called COVID-19 pandemic.
Gilead staff are gearing up for the new normal.
KKFI will not give up on the youth.
Mga miyembro at opisyal ng NHOAI nagpapasalamat sa KKFI.
Nagpapasalamat sa KKFI.
Ang pagtulong ay bukal sa puso bilang pagtanaw ng utang na loob.
Isa sa pinakadisaster-prone na bansa ang Pilipinas ngunit mga tao ay may malasakit sa isa't isa.
KKFI Social Worker talks about helping the needy.
Maliit man ang papel na ginampanan, laking tulong pa rin sa kapwa.
KKFI is a home because like in my place in province, I can freely do whatever I want – meditate, study, rest, recreate…, less distraction.
Residents choose KKFI because it is their "home away from home."
These youth have experienced bullying and discrimination from their schoolmates and teachers. Their light might be dimmed but with KKFI they found the courage continue to shine.
The history of LikhAral
A KKFI scholar's story of transformation
Nagbigay ang Smarter Good ng desktop computers sa mga ALS learners