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  • FundLife Release

Learner's Profile - Kem: My Life of Courage

FFLA learner Kem shares how he transformed from being a socially withdrawn and hard-headed kid to becoming a courageous learner who looks at life and its challenges more positively.

My name is Kem. I live in Barangay Caibaan, Tacloban City. I am 16 years old and have four (4) sisters. My father and mother run a small neighbourhood ‘carinderia’ (eatery).

​Just like many other kids in our neighbourhood, my parents’ earnings are not enough to buy all the school materials that I need to make the outputs required by teachers. School requires us so many things. Many kids like myself feel that there are just too many assignments and school activities such that we no longer have quality time for family. Life is really difficult especially after the Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit our place. Sometimes feeling down, I find entertainment in computer games, playing even up to late night, and this has been a disappointment to my parents. I was so far from being an ideal son. Whenever parents scold me, I talk back at them even if I knew I was in the wrong.

Then I met Coach Rhobs and FundLife. My friends had first joined FundLife’s football sessions before I decided to join. Coach Robs was my assigned coach.

Kem, with Coach Rhobs (left) and Sir Rufino (right), received his Best Player Award

​ as he is one of the leading players/learners in the FFLA programme.

​Coach Rhobs belongs to the strict kind of mentors. Strict but kind and understands the difficult situation of my family. I feel embarrassed whenever I am unable to attend our football sessions but thankful that our coach returns my inability with an encouragement to prioritize my study and attend the sessions when I am free from school work.

The learning sessions during sit-down classes and field exercises and games allowed me to express my feelings physically, mentally and emotionally while also teaching me important things. I was very hard headed before but now my attitude improved. I now have confidence in participating in school activities, including dance activities that I used to really avoid. During class recitations, I find myself volunteering to give the answer. Sometimes I am correct and sometimes wrong. When the teacher corrects me, I no longer feel ashamed. Life is a sport. We have to learn from our mistakes and keep trying our best to do what is right.

I stopped talking back to my parents and they have been scolding me less. Coach Robs always said to us, “If you can’t even help your family with the household chores I forbid you to play football because that only means that you have been attending FFLA sessions without understanding the purpose of having such activities with you. It is pure nonsense.” For this, THANK YOU, Coach.

Learners in post-Haiyan Tacloban City display their recognition medals after the game.

​To them, FFLA teaches life skills and the attitude to take on life’s challenges positively

Coach Robs says I am courageous. I believe this is so. I used to be shy but now I am helping with the warm up exercises and drills. I am more focused on school and finishing it. I realized how valuable my parents are and how our life can be improved if we strive hard just like what we do during football games. I am very thankful to Coach Robs and FundLife’s football program. They prevented me from ending up like other kids who find solace not just in computer games but also in prohibited drugs. My wish is for programs like this to reach more kids so they, too, can benefit like I doing now.

Having good attitude towards life enabled me to become a youth leader in the community and think of what positive contributions I can give. Hey! I am still that playful kid! One difference is I know more about what is important in life now, not just by Facebook posts but for real! I am proud to say that Coach Robs thinks that I am “one of the most improve player in terms of football skills, behavior, attitude and relationship with the family.” I used to be really withdrawn from society but now I am courageous and look forward to overcoming challenges to see what good things life can bring me and my family.

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