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TESTIMONIALS FROM FRIENDSHIP HOME GRADUATES 
 

There are people born under difficult circumstances; others, who are able to overcome these, against all odds.  My name is Marilou Rosanto Sandoval.  Before I joined Friendship Home I experienced what it meant “to live below the poverty threshold”.  I remember the many christmasses and new years when we didn’t have any light at home (no money for electricity) and no food (my mother was the sole breadwinner and what she earned was not enough to feed her four daughters). I remember being bullied and insulted in school by classmates who knew the walls of our shanty   were made of worn-out sacks; our door, pieces of old GI sheet; and our windows, sewn-together used clothings.  I experienced weeks and months of walking to school on empty stomach.  I had neither traveling nor food allowance. 

All of these hardships became my raw materials, the wellspring of an inner resolve to rise up and give a better life to my family.  In my second year of college I was blessed to find Friendship Home and get much needed support to finish my studies.  Even then I continued to work as a Student Assistant in school and to find part time work during vacation time to augment my mother’s income.    

Like the other children, I had duties and responsibilities at Friendship Home.  At times I was remiss in fulfilling them, and I got reprimanded.  More lessons I had to learn on the road to a better life.  Ultimately, Friendship Home has helped me become the Teacher I am today.  After passing the government’s licensure exams, I have become a full-pledged early childhood educator.  I am very grateful to Friendship Home for shaping me into who I am today. I hope that someday, I could also be an instrument of giving, opening the door for others towards a better future. 

- Marilou Sandoval (FH, 2005-2007)

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Hard work and respect.   These were the two virtues my father taught me before he died in 2007.  Despite the great loss, life had to go on as my father would have wished.  Upon graduation from high school I had high hopes of moving on to college.  Then came another blow:  my mother said I had to stop studying for a while to give way to my two siblings.  As sole breadwinner she could no longer send all her three children to college.   Although my heart was broken there was no other way for me but to abide with my mother’s decision. 

Thanks to Friendship Home I was able to enroll and finish a four-year BS Nursing course in Concordia College.  I have also passed the government’s licensure examinations and am now a full-pledged Registered Nurse.  In between submitting my job application  to different hospitals, I am presently taking care of my nephew who has been diagnosed with leukemia.  Hard work and Respect. In addition, the virtues of Service and Compassion, these are the seeds of life that Friendship Home has ingrained in me and which I will carry as I seek to be a healer among the sick. 

- Dennis Brosola (FH, 2003-2007)

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1992 was a year of misfortune for many of us living in Singalong.  This was the year when a huge fire leveled our homes.  I was only eight years old then.  Like most of the calamity victims, the question foremost in our mind was the uncertain future:  How do we rise up from the ashes of our burnt homes, our parents’ dreams for their children? 

I was among the first group of children taken into the fold of Friendship Home when it opened in Malate in May 1992.  Because of my young age, my insecurities, my inability to live and relate with groups of children for the first time in my young life, I soon dropped out of Friendship Home.  My elementary and high school years passed by.  I looked back with a sense of regret on all the opportunities I had lost and were being enjoyed by those who remained at Friendship Home:  the care, fun, laughter, guidance --- everything that a child longs for in life.  

Thankfully, when I was in second year college, Friendship Home offered me a second chance to finish my studies in Civil Engineering.  Knowing that this would be my lifetime ticket to support not only myself but also our family, I valued greatly this second chance.  In gratitude, I became actively involved in the day-to-day activities of my brothers and sisters in Friendship Home.  For the younger ones, I had become their “Kuya” or Older Brother.  For the others, I was the “Chairman” ---chairman of this and that event, and so on.  For the rest, I was simply a friend that they could turn to.   For Friendship Home, someone they could rely on, whether it’s for Christmas caroling, USEC bazaar, Family Feast, summer outings, field trips, and others. 

What do I treasure most about Friendship Home?  It is this:  that when I was down, it raised me up. I am very thankful to Friendship Home for treating me like a son, a brother, and a friend.  For trusting me and making me a better man. 

- Francis Samudio (FH, 1992, 2002-2007)

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