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Four years ago, Juvilyn Ahit, John Mark Edar, Rechie Maghari and Gemar Magsayao are all youth residents of Kidapawan. For a time, they all had noble aspirations to help uplift their families’ economic conditions. They wanted to be able to contribute to their community as well but saw no clear path to reach those dreams. They lived their daily lives resigned to the fact that they will spend each day working on the farms where they grew up. That was until they became part of development projects initiated by the Mount Apo Foundation Inc. (MAFI) and Energy Development Corporation (EDC). Suddenly, their dreams seemed to be more tangible; in an apparent twist of fate they were empowered to make those dreams a reality.

Fast forward to the present, we talked to the now young adults to know how far they have gone in pursuit of their dreams. They share their stories with us.

Juvilyn, is now an Industrial Engineer. She dreamed of making it big in this field yet she is ow heeding another calling.  The path she took earlier led her to a more spiritual route. She is now serving as a pastor in Kidapawan.  She may not be able to put to application what she learned from college but she is happy with her choice. She recalls the challenges and remains grateful that she was given the chance to obtain a college degree through the auspices of MAFI.

John Mark, like many young boys in his village, had to juggle school and farm work. The MAFI scholarship that he received paved the way for him to finish college. Now that he is living his dream as a teacher of a local high school in Magpet, he would like to share his blessings by giving back to the community. He would like to provide the same opportunity to his siblings by helping them through college. John Mark remembers the time when he would help his father tend the farm and tell himself that someday he will be a teacher, this while he stood atop an elevation watching wisps of steam blowing from the geothermal power plants below.

Rechie remembers his senior year in college to be most demanding. He worked doubly hard to get his diploma in mechanical engineering last year. He knew that he had a long way to go to hurdle the ME board exams. But he was determined to see things through until the finish line. Rechie aims to help his family rise. He would like to see his hometown Kidapawan become progressive at par with the more developed cities in the country. He is now a licensed mechanical engineer and working for a Japanese firm based in Davao.

Gemar secured his education degree but due to a technical error in his birth certificate, he is unable to take the licensure exam for teachers. This did not deter him from looking for gainful employment while processing the correction in his birth certificate. Gemar is now working in one of the biggest furniture companies in the country.

The MAFI scholars, like many youth in the Philippines, desire for better community, better life, better future. They may have their own personal struggles but each one stayed the course. They never lost sight of the goal and they have emerged victorious. For persistence is the friend of success and he who perseveres, succeeds. May their stories inspire more people.

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