Inspiring tenacity, acts of kindness from 2015
MANILA, Philippines – Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and public scandals made up the bulk of 2015. But, on the brighter side, there were some people who, in their own little ways, tried to make the world a little brighter.
MovePH, Rappler’s citizen engagement arm, reported some of the moving stories from individuals and groups throughout the year. Most of them were simple, but their impact had a wider reach than its participants intended.
Here are five uplifting stories from 2015. Mood meter: Inspired!
1. Daniel, the street child with big dreams
One of the top-shared stories from 2015 was of Daniel Cabrera, a nine-year-old street child who was pictured studying outside a fast food restaurant in the Mandaue Reclamation Area.
Using a bench as a table, Daniel would do his homework by the lights of the street, because his family did not have electricity at home. Daniel said he wants to be a doctor or policeman and studies hard to achieve those dreams. (READ: Kid who studies on Cebu sidewalk: I want to be a cop or doctor)
Daniel’s story has since made the rounds on Facebook, receiving praise from netizens. Many said they were inspired by Daniel, and the person who originally photographed him, Joyce Torrefranca, said it inspired her to study harder. (READ: Kid studying on Cebu sidewalk inspires citizens)
Help poured in for Daniel and his family who received bags, school supplies, and toys. A crowdfunding effort initiated by MovePH partner Bayanihan Project has breached its target amount more than 4 times. (READ: Street-smart Cebu student gets help from donors)
Daniel's inspiring story also caught the eye of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown, now the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education. For Gordon, Daniel's story represented "the great paradox of global education today: more young people than ever before realize the importance of the right to education but too few adults are making that right into a reality."
2. From the streets to Ateneo
In March 2015, Rusty Quintana graduated from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. Even if he was exposed to drugs and crime during childhood, he was able to turn his life around with the help of people who took a chance on him. (READ: From street child to Atenean: The story of Rusty)
An art exhibit Rusty chanced upon was a turning point. For days, he would stare at the pieces before finally meeting Rhyan Casino of Deri Husi Initiative, Inc. Casino then encouraged Rusty to change his life.
Rusty received a scholarship at XU and was able to finish his studies through sheer determination. He said he hoped to put his skills to good by working in a non-governmental organization.
3. Sisters help stranded commuters during INC rally
When the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) supporters held a protest along EDSA from August 28 to 31, many commuters found themselves stranded along the highway. Instead of joining the flood of rants online, Ela and Frances Florendo decided to help those stranded by giving out free water. (READ: Sisters give free water to stranded EDSA commuters during INC rally)
The two sisters’ entire household and even their building’s guards joined them.
Netizens sent messages of praise to the two sisters, one of them saying their kind act was a respite from “the weekend of rant and sarcasm.”
4. Jeepney driver returns iPhone to owner
Eduardo Acula Jr, or Kuya Toto, gave one young woman hope when he returned her iPhone after she had left it in his jeepney. (READ: VIRAL: Jeepney driver returns iPhone to owner)
When Rochelle Anne Obleno, forgot her phone, she had all but given up when she thought: What if a good person picked up her phone? That what-if would prove to be a lucky what-if for her.
So Obleno called her phone, Acula answered, and she met with the driver and his wife in Anonas, Quezon City.
Even though keeping the phone would have made life easier, Acula felt the knowledge of having done good outweighed any benefits from the phone. This made him decide to return it to Obleno.
5. Student sells graham balls to pay tuition fees
John Eric Ventura, a student at Emilio Aguinaldo College, gained attention after he was photographed selling graham balls at his school. (READ: Hardworking student sells graham balls made by mom to pay for school)
At 19 years old, Ventura turned to selling graham balls to pay for his tuition. Despite finding out his fees were already fully covered, he decided to continue with his small business to help pay for his personal expenses and those of his family’s.
The experience of selling graham balls has also helped Ventura out of his shell. While he was admittedly shy at first, he said he is happy now and has met many people.
What stories have inspired you in 2015? Let us know on the comments section or write about it on X! – With reports from Voltaire Tupaz, Mara Cepeda, and Bobby Lagsa/Rappler.com