The City of Malolos out of school youth group with the sample candles they make to help support the Noche Buena package of their most indigent members. Photos by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

CITY OF MALOLOS–Some 500 candles made by a group of out of school youth that were lighted in the cemeteries in Tuesday’s All Saints Day can be enough funds for the Noche Buena package of their most needy fellows. 

Mayor Christian Natividad gave the Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines in City of Malolos P45,000 worth of capital and also bought the candles to support the group. 

Lenard Nicodemus, 21, from Barangay Balayong, vice president of the group together with his members delivered the candles at the mayor’s office a week before the All Saints Day. 

At P150.00 each, the group also sell pirces to other supporters and friends.

Nicodemus said the money would be enough to buy grocery and food packs that will help bring Chirstmas smiles and joy to their friends. 

Next year, with the remaining capital given to them by Natividad and part of the earning they had this year, they target to make more than 3,000 candles on the All Saints Day. 

Natividad would want the candles to be dustributed free to more of his constituents. 

The mayor allots the 500 candles this year for the city government employees.

Grace Crisostomo, Malolos City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) Community Affairs Unit (CAU) head said the out of school youth group started to learn the candle making after a training with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in 2017.

Since then, the group had been selling candles every All Saints Day and this is the second time, the city government had supported them. 

Crisostomo said the earnings and sales the youth had in the previous years were spent for the education of many of the members who are now studying elementary and high school through Alternative Learning System (ALS).

Nicodemus who also finished high school through ALS would want to take up a degree in education to become a teacher some day.

Carmelo Dela Cruz, 31, who graduated in high school through ALS and is now in grade 11 in Malolos Senior High School actively participates in the candle making to also help hia group as one way of returning the blessings he received from them.

He said the PYAP had helped him a lot while studying under ALS program. 

“Candle making is just one of our projects which supported students like me. We are very thankful and we arw happy with all our conserted efforts. We also thank our mayor for his help and support,” he said.

Sophia Quetua, youth focal person of CSWDO-CAU said Dela Cruz is just one of those who belong to the most indigent families. 

Today, she said, PYAP has 1,293 members who receive help from the city government aside from their own works and fund raising projects to support their education. Others, Quetua said prefer temporarily working to earn for their families.

Natividad established the PYAP in 2014 which also bagged the award as the Best People’s Organization in 2016.