Two men in an office
Ritche (Left) and Fretch (Right), graduates of the Philippines school

Fretch and Ritche

This summer we were delighted to meet Fretch and Ritche who are deeply thankful to the friends and supporters of WVC for their kindness in helping them through their education. As graduates of the Philippines programme in Cebu, they are committed to supporting the work of WVC to help future children in need.

Their stories show the enormous impact of education on their lives. Both suffered extreme poverty as children and their early years were challenging. Fretch says “I came from a family that really was living below the poverty line. It was a difficult childhood”.

For both, daily life was overshadowed by the need for their parents to take on multiple jobs  to make ends meet. Fretch’s father sometimes drove tricycles (pedicabs) to earn a living whilst Ritche’s father held down a variety of jobs from farming to carpentry. With many members in each family, life was harsh and they were accustomed to being hungry, living without electricity or running water and walking miles to the nearest primary school. But they knew no other life and Fretch says “the place where we stayed might not be called a house but it was home for us.”

Picture of Fr. Fretch on the left and Fr. Ritche on the right standing in an office setting
Fr. Fretch (left) Fr. Ritche (Right)

Thanks to our supporters, we were able to fund a school place for both boys who were welcomed into the care of the Sisters of Mary School Boystown in Minglanilla, Cebu in 2002. Fretch says, “What caught my attention straight away was the competitiveness of the students in sports and academic life. I liked the way things were working and the school in general. The first year was focused more on knowing people (students, teachers and sisters) and building friendships. And yes, I did build a great circle of friends (including Ritche!). Academic pressure can challenge the limit of each student but that’s how I learned my basics, pushing every limit of my learnings and abilities.”

The boys received a TESDA accredited academic education and vocational training ready for employment but Ritche says that “most of all we were taught good values and how to live them in our daily lives”. The boys thrived at school, were hardworking, and made the most of their opportunities. Fretch often acted as a student teacher during his time at school helping younger students. Both passed their final exams with flying colours ready for the working world.

After a period of time working in the Philippines, both boys decided to pursue a religious vocation and joined the Order of the Society of Divine Vocations. They stayed firm friends and now work as parish priests based in the UK. Both Fr Fretch and Fr Ritche say they are “forever grateful to the Sisters for their help in achieving their dreams” and want to give back in whatever way they can.