Whilst in Europe our two representatives were also invited as guest speakers in a panel interview at the Don Bosco Forum Event held at the University of Bonn in Germany amidst 600 VIP Guests on the occasion of the 200th birthday of St. John Bosco last January 24. Other Guest Speakers were the Minister of Human Development and Cooperation and the General Economer, Fr. Jean Paul Muller, SDB. After the panel discussion, Sr. Marivic and Cindy hosted a parallel session on HOME, a conversation on how LVF is creating a home for children in difficult situations according to the Preventive System of St. John Bosco. It was the first time that a Salesian Sister was invited to speak to the said Annual Forum which has been organized by Don Bosco Missions Procure and Don Bosco Mondo.
The answers of Cindy at the panel discussion were perhaps the most inspiring and moving element of the event. She told how initially they migrated from Leyte and lived in a small shack in Tondo where her mother sold drugs to survive and how later the father took her away and they lived in a wooden pushcart on the streets, salvaging waste to sell and collecting food scraps. At times she asked her step-mother for food and was given glue to sniff to stave off the hunger.
Through a series of events she found herself taken in at the Laura Vicuna Centre and this began a new phase. From the freedom and disorder of the streets to an ordered lifestyle at the home was difficult at first, but little by little transformation took place as her health improved, she started going to school, learnt how to live in a group and received the character and spiritual formation needed through the kindness and diligence of the sisters and staff. She became an advocate for street children, participating in national events and continued her education and is now about to graduate and work as a teacher, moulding young hearts herself.
On the threshold of a bright and independent future, she thinks back to her beginnings and hopes , not only to be a good teacher, but also to be a blessing to others, she hopes that she may be able to help her mother, in spite of her negligence, and that kind of love and forgiveness in her heart is one of the many fruits or hallmarks of the LVF journey of hope.