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NANAY STORIES: Belen Sotto’s Journey to a Comfortable Life

In the comfort of one’s home, a family only wishes to live in a house that best provides the needs of their family. To pursue this, working hard to achieve the goal to live comfortably has been quite strenuous and hard for a family that only makes quite a living; but for the family of Belen Sotto, she was privileged enough to be able to avail the WASH Loan.

Belen Sotto, a 57 year old Barbeque (BBQ) Seller from Branch Manga living with her husband, Roman Sotto and her 3 kids has been working hard to fulfill their needs as a family. As a former employee, Nanay Belen has improved their lifestyle, and has continued doing so as a BBQ seller and living off the pension of her husband.

With the success of her business, she wanted to start her house renovation. Before she was introduced to the WASH Loan, she was having a hard time continuing the renovation of her bathroom. Although she already had a bathroom and a water source, Nanay Belen wanted to improve it for their family. She was not able to have it cemented and tiled.

 For her first loan amount of Php 5,000.00, she was able to start the changes to her sanitary area and improving the floors of her bathroom. With the second loan of Php 10,000.00, she was able to finish her bathroom renovation.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa RAFI MFI dahil tinulungan niyo kami, hindi lang sa aming negosyo kundi din sa pagbigay ng pagkakataon na mas iangat ang aming buhay sa pamamagitan ng pag-gamit ng WASH Loan, na naging daan upang mas mapadali at mas mapaganda ang aming banyo. Magaan lang din sa bulsa ang interest at nababayaran ko din agad. Sana ay mas makatulong pa kayo ng maraming micro-entrepreneur na gustong maging mas komportable ang kanilang buhay. (I am very thankful for RAFI MFI for helping us, not only in our business but for giving us a chance to elevate our lives through availing the WASH Loan, that paved the way to improve our bathroom. The payment was not too heavy in our part, and the interest was enough for us to repay it immediately. I hope you help more micro-entrepreneurs who wants to live a more comfortable life.)

For many years, the longing of the family of Nanay Belen to live a comfortable life has been their goal, and now they have done so. Opportunities such as the WASH Loan, has always given a family the chance to become motivated to continue elevating their lives.

Learn more about our RAFI Micro Finance program! Check us out here. 

RAFI-DACF Approves 6.9M Worth of Grants For Early Childhood Education, Health, and Nutrition Projects in Cebu

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. – Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (RAFI-DACF), along with select members of the RAFI Management Committee, visited several project sites to turn over grants to support organizations with approved project proposals on early childhood education, health, and nutrition projects, commencing the partnership last November 2020.

During the turn-over, the memorandum of agreements (MOAs) was signed by both parties, signifying the start of the year-long projects funded by RAFI-DACF through its grant program. This series of grant turn-over is under DACF’s Call for Proposals 2020 (launched last March and ended in July), to provide funding opportunities for local children’s organizations.

“The RAFI-DACF Call for Proposals was organized with the goal of helping more Cebuano children by funding deserving organizations with excellent programs on health, nutrition and early childhood education. We believe that by working with other local NGOs and institutions, we can touch more lives and achieve greater social impact. We are grateful to all the organizations who participated in the call. We look forward to working with our partners in 2021,” said Riella Mae B. Guioguio, RAFI Chief Operating Officer.

Through these grants, RAFI-DACF aims to help the partner organizations realize their projects to the fullest. Included in the list of grantees are the following organizations and their corresponding projects:

1. Arcanys Early Learning Foundation

Title of Project: Provide early access to education to exclude children from 3 to 5 years old by empowering their parents through online coaching and building a new center

Amount of Grant: Php 1,000,000.00

Project Duration: 1 year

2. Children of Asia

Title of Project: Enhancing the well-being and the resilience of vulnerable young children of Ermita (Cebu City) with the DICE, a child-friendly space where their needs are addressed

Amount of Grant: Php 1,000,000.00

Project Duration: 1 year

3. Bukas Palad Cebu Foundation

Title of Project: Bukas Palad Learning Center: New People for a New World

Amount of Grant: Php 954,000.00

Project Duration: 1 year

4. Provincial Superior of the Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco Don Bosco Cebu  Province Inc.

Title of Project: Prioritizing the Health, Nutrition and Continuous Learning of the Children in this time of COVID19 Pandemic

Amount of Grant: Php 1,000,000.00

Project Duration: 1 year

5. Glory Reborn Organization

Title of Project: Healthy Start for Hopeful Hearts

Amount of Grant: Php 1,000,000.00

Project Duration: 1 year

6. UP Open University Foundation

Title of Project: Development and Implementation of a Free Online Course in Early Childhood Education for Teachers and Workers in Early Childhood Care and Development

Amount of Grant: Php 1,000,000.00

Project Duration: 1 year

7. World Vision Development Foundation

Title of Project: FORWARD Project (Food for Health with Sustainable Agricultural Development and Sustainability)

Amount of Grant: Php 1,000,000.00

Project Duration: 1 year

“The RAFI-DACF Call for Proposals went through rigorous application, screening, documentation, and validation processes. We underwent a lot of challenges in 2020 because of all the quarantine restrictions. However, we are grateful to the participating organizations who made it easier for us by submitting their requirements diligently. This initiative is in line with our program’s thrust of ‘championing children to reach their full potentials.’ It is only through our trusted partner organizations that we are able to fulfill our mission for the kids,” said Jenny Lea Menchavez, RAFI-DACF Junior Executive Director.

These projects showed the utmost desire for driving children’s welfare and learning at the forefront. With the perseverance and dedication of organizations working directly with the children and the continued support from the RAFI-DACF team, these projects are expected to create ripple effects that will change countless lives of children across Cebu.

For more information on the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., visit or


The Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-DACF) aims to enable communities to champion for children to reach their own potentials.. Its Grants Program supports initiatives promoting the welfare and development of children  through Early Education and Health and Nutrition.


RAFI Grants Smartphones to SEED Awardees

Most of us are blessed to be living a comfortable life. But behind all that comfort, it can be hard for us to appreciate the little luxuries that not most people can enjoy.  

The Seal of Excellence in Education Development or SEED is an annual evidence-based awards program of the Education Development Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI EDU). It aims to gather and analyze relevant data as bases for strengthening, modifying, or introducing new interventions to improve the quality of public education and recognize and reward outstanding school community performance.  

Jovencio N. Masong National High School (JNMNHS) located in Bogo, Cebu, was one of the awardees of the SEED 2018’s Secondary Category, where the school proposed the 21st Century Alternative Learning Mode Project. The project aims to help conduct digital modular classes to 35 students in the seventh grade, using the smart phones granted for their asynchronous online learning.  

Students of JNMNHS expressed their worries on learning through online classes, brought by the unusual setting they will be adapting this school year. Fatima Tampus Andrino, one of the students, shared how she prefers the usual face-to-face learning as it was easier for her to learn. Nonetheless, she continues to look into the bright side – with the use of a smart phone, it allows her to retain communication with her teachers, especially when she encounters a hard time understanding the subject.

Parents of the students were overjoyed that their children had been granted mobile phones for their online classes. “I’m very grateful to RAFI for supporting the needs of the students, for us parents, it’s a big help and aid in their studies.” said Miriam M. Pedrano. 

Although there were some disadvantages in the new mode of teaching such as connectivity issues, teachers have made it clear that the disadvantages do not outweigh the advantages. This set up has also enabled the teachers to innovate their mode of instruction like supplemental video lessons. Overall, they were grateful for the smart phones as it gave them and the students the advantage of overcoming the new norm.  

Elizabeth Bilaos, the principal of the school concluded by saying: “JNMNHS is so grateful with RAFI. With the provision of smartphones to our students, education made it easy for our learners. We are so blessed to have you, RAFI.” 


The Education Development Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EDU) helps in the formation of effective learning environments by providing high-quality, cost-effective school infrastructure and by capacitating school communities for the continuous improvement of learning outcomes.

Planning Ahead: RAFI-EDU Holds Pre-construction Meeting for its School Rebuild Program

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. Education Development Unit (RAFI EDU) gathered with partner school communities last January 28 and 29, 2021 for a pre-construction meeting. The meeting was a necessary step in RAFI’s School Rebuild Program (SRP) which aims to replace old and dilapidated classrooms, providing a safer and more conducive learning environment for public school students.

For this batch of implementation, RAFI collaborates with the Local Government Unit of Alcantara, San Fernando and Cordova as well as the DepEd Cebu Province Division to build 3-storey, 6-classroom buildings in replacement of the dilapidated classrooms in the following schools:

  • Cabadiangan Integrated School, Alcantara
  • Candabong Elem School, Alcantara
  • San Fernando CS, San Fernando
  • Pablo B. Villamera IS, San Fernando
  • Pilipog Elementary School, Cordova
  • Cordova Central School, Cordova

The pre-construction meeting covered the discussion about the project information, particularly highlighting project expectations, building design, and other specifications. The projects’ implementation processes, guidelines, and responsibilities were combed out to prevent conflicts from coming up in the later part of the projects. Risk Management Guidelines were also set and finalized during the meeting. The intent of the activity is to promote transparency, collaboration and sense of ownership among the key stakeholders.

The event saw fruitful exchange from the community stakeholders and RAFI as they both laid the groundwork together for the School Rebuild Program. Active participation and collaboration became the key factors to organizing all the steps for a successful SRP. It was evident in the hopeful statements from the partner school teachers.

“I am one of the class advisers who did not have a classroom to use for the meantime. We are very lucky and happy that we are given the opportunity to (be a beneficiary of RAFI-EDU’s) SRP Project” said Lemhar Macasaol, Teacher 1 Grade 10 Adviser.

Vivian Lumapay, School Head of Cabadiangan Integrated School also stated, “Considering that our school has a limited number of classrooms which cannot accommodate all of our learners, I am thankful for this project of RAFI. I am also thankful of the values inculcated by the community of Cabadiangan – the value of cooperation. I am very much grateful for the projects implemented in our school.”

With the heartwarming support and cooperation from the LGU and DepEd, coupled by the efforts of the school communities, RAFI’s School Rebuild Program is expected to commence in the first week of March 2021, with the hope of shaping the future of the public school learners in Cebu.

For more information on the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI), visit  or

The Education Development Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI EDU) helps in the formation of effective learning environments by providing high-quality, cost-effective school infrastructure and by capacitating school communities for the continuous improvement of learning outcomes.


Let's Synergize

Let’s partner! We are actively looking for partners who share our mission of elevating the dignity of man through solutions that enable people to achieve higher levels of well-being.

Our role is to provide the architecture of participation, setting the stage for partnerships, coalitions and project management by working with local government and civil society in bringing about positive change. Our work would not be possible without active partners and organizations who support our programs.

We would love to explore opportunities of working closely with you and your organization in the areas of grants, technical assistance, capability building, co-branding, and other forms of partnerships.

If our programs in the areas of Economic Well-being, Social Well-Being, and Physical Well-being interest you, hit us up with an e-mail and let’s explore areas of collaboration and synergy.


About Us

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation (RAFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 1966 by its founder Don Ramon Aboitiz. It is accredited by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification and a member of the Association of Foundations. RAFI prides itself in being Architects of Change in elevating the Dignity of Man through solutions that enable people to achieve higher levels of well-being.  

Its main program domains include Economic, focused on improving the economic well-being of communities; Social, creating opportunities for growth and improving a sense of identity and purpose; and Physical, building healthy, resilient and livable communities.



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