Changing Fear into Confidence

RamilThanks to Youth Mobilization’s Loving Approach, a Once-Fearful 5-Year-Old Has Blossomed into a Star Student

Youth Mobilization (Youth Mob), an ER partner near Manila, Philippines, helps further the education of children through its Abot Pag-ibig (Reach Out with Love) program. Ramil is one such student whose life is being changed by the program.

Youth Mob first met Ramil during the ER Christmas party last year. Out of 40 children who received gifts of school supplies, toys and hygiene items, he stood out because he cried incessantly. Youth Mob staff met his mother, Dacelyn, and learned of Ramil’s insecurity. When he was in a group situation, she said, he feared he would lose her.

Ramil and DacelynYouth Mob arranged for Ramil, 5, to enroll in Abot Pag-ibig, which serves children in an impoverished community called Taguig. The program’s year-long curriculum teaches children to discover self-worth and find love among their families, friends and community. For Ramil, that meant giving him ample attention and encouraging him to participate in group lessons and activities.

“We noticed that he gradually joined in activities and lesson discussions,” says Youth Mob’s Mackie Custodio. “As we go through lessons on building strong values in children, we are starting to see good changes in his character and how he communicates to the group.”

Dacelyn also sees evidence of change in her increasingly confident son. Week after week, she says, Ramil comes home excited to tell her about the lessons and show off his activity sheets. He’s even agreed to play a role in an upcoming school play.

“We desire that, little by little, we will produce hope-filled children through values formation in this poor community,” Custudio says. “We want to build strong relationships with these families and show them that we care for their children. We want to know their deepest needs and find ways to help them.”

To learn more about Youth Mobilization and other ER partners in Asia, visit

Tunnels to the Future

Phase 2 with chickens

Gerrit KleynhansBy Gerrit Kleynhans, Farm Manager, Living Hope

Living Hope is a longtime ER partner located near Cape Town, South Africa. The following story reflects how its Agriculture and Business Training Programme is creating sustainability by teaching students tunnel farming (tunnel-shaped greenhouses) along with successful business practices. This story first appeared in Living Hope’s February 2015 newsletter.

Tapiwa Chasumba is a businessman at heart. Prior to starting the Agriculture and Business Programme, he ran his own barbershop and sold CDs. Upon enrolling in Phase 1 of the programme, Tapiwa learned the importance of moving into untapped markets and strategically positioning products.

“In class we did a project selling oranges in Masiphumelele (a large local settlement),” says Tapiwa. “People liked buying them from me because no one else was selling oranges.”

Einstein chickenTapiwa quickly realized this was an untapped market for fresh, high-quality produce and began selling tomatoes he had grown on the farm. When the training took a break for the extended Christmas holiday our staff encouraged students to continue to utilize their knowledge to develop their business skills. Tapiwa knew he wanted to expand his new produce stand and had just the place in mind.

“At the entrance to Masiphumelele everyone seemed to think you could only sell second-hand clothes. So I decided to put up a table to sell produce. There is no competition for me.”

He arranged to go with a friend to the commercial market in Epping, located 25 miles north of his home, where produce is sold in bulk. Upon seeing what was available, he contracted a person to source produce from the market and bring it to Masiphumelele for his stand.

“At first I was just selling when I had the time,” says Tapiwa. “But then people kept asking, ‘When are you selling?’ and I realized that it was important for me to sell every day because people should know they can buy from you every time.”

Tapiwa produce standTapiwa now sells produce to the community every day of the week. “In the morning before class I get my tables out and produce set up. Then my wife sells during the day. Before this, my wife was sitting at home doing nothing. Now she starts selling at 8 a.m. each day and goes until 7 p.m.

“It is a good place to be because everyone is walking past on their way to work or coming home. Even cars stop to buy. I am selling grapes, tomato, kale, potatoes, onions, pears, many things.”

When asked about his future business opportunities, Tapiwa says with a confident smile, “I’m expecting it to grow”.

Tapiwa’s business is growing because of the skills he learned through the Agricultural and Business Programme. We look forward to his continued learning and more great things to come.

Living Hope is looking for sponsors and volunteers with farm experience to boost its Agriculture and Business Training Programme. Interested? Visit

Gerrit Kleynhans manages the Agriculture and Business Training Programme for Living Hope. Living Hope’s slogan is “Bringing Hope, Breaking Despair”. Collectively, it reaches more than 40,000 people annually through programs that fight homelessness, poverty, HIV/AIDS/TB and other chronic diseases, unemployment, and substance abuse. 

Each year, Extreme Response sends volunteer teams to work with Living Hope, including a Christmas Celebration team scheduled for Nov. 15-25, 2015. To learn more, visit