For Nanay Wilma Galacio, 54 and mother of five, life is hard. Her husband, Leo, used to be a “helper” at a lumber yard, but lost his job due to the pandemic. Despite the challenges, Nanay Wilma considers her life “blessed.”

Indeed, life may be difficult, but God uses people and organizations — Sir Vicente Eliver, the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), Mission Alliance (MA), Assisi Development Foundation Inc. (ADFI), and the United Methodist Women (UMW) — to make life bearable.

KKFI, with funding from MA, ADFI, and UMW implements community development projects at the Manila North Cemetery, and Nanay Wilma is one of the beneficiaries.

Nanay Wilma came to know of KKFI in 2008. She was then a member of the Samahan ng mga Taga-pangalaga ng Nitso sa Norte (SAMANTAGANOR).

She has four sons — Leonard, Lemuel, Leandro and Lowegie. Her youngest, a girl named Leana, is adopted. Three of her sons enrolled in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program of KKFI and all passed the Equivalency and Accreditation (A&E) examination.

Nanay Wilma herself enrolled and took the A&E exam twice but was not successful.

Lowegie is a scholar of KKFI and ADFI. Seven-year-old Leana was enrolled in KKFI’s Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) twice. She is now a Grade 1 pupil. Nanay Wilma’s grandchildren are also enrolled at SNP, all projects of UMW and MA.

Nanay Wilma hails from Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental province in Mindanao. She was almost raped by the husband of a distant relative. She and her neighbor, Leo, who later became her husband, decided to move to Manila.

In the national capital, she worked as a housemaid in Parañaque but she would always visit her aunt at the Manila North Cemetery. She had several jobs but was always laid off. She later assisted her aunt tend to her flower stall at the cemetery, and later decided to live there.

In 1996, she was recruited by SAMANTAGANOR, and became one of the organization’s members who fought the harassment by authorities of people living in the cemetery. She, however, left the organization.

In 2018, the North Homeowners Association Inc. was formally organized. Nanay Wilma joined and became its auditor and member of the board. She became active in meetings and attended training workshops on entrepreneurship, record-keeping, and financial literacy. She was later named in-charge of the candle-making committee of the organization.

She joined the livelihood project of KKFI in partnership with MA, and UMW by selling dishwashing liquid, fabric conditioner, and bread. She also joined the cooperative of NHOAI and got involved in buying and selling rice. She was able to help her family through her earnings.

Nanay Wilma also helped in the Community Kitchen project of NHOAI by volunteering as a cook. She also cooks for KKFI in activities like ALS and livelihood meetings and trainings.

She is now a core group leader of NHOAI in-charge of collecting money for “Damayan,” a project that helps families with sick or deceased members.

Nanay Wilma and her co-officers, however, continue to struggle to regain the trust of members of their previous organization, and with the help of God they are slowly gaining it.

She said she made a lot of friends and became sociable after joining KKFI. She was also able to visit different places and was able help others through her volunteer work.

Nanay Wilma is grateful to KKFI and its partners for helping her family. Despite the challenges she has been through, she is truly thankful and blessed.

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