The Pushcart that went Far…this is about the Karitun Klasrum of the Dynamic Teen Company

The Pushcart that Went Far

…this is about the KARITUN KLASRUM


By Apolinario Villalobos

As of yet, few knows about the Karitun Klasrum, because the reference is the offshoot of the more popular “kariton classroom” but had to be tagged yet with the name, Efren Peῆaflorida to be recalled. Also, few people know that their group is called DYNAMIC TEEN COMPANY (DTC). For the non-Filipinos, “kariton” is the Pilipino for wooden three or four-wheeled pushcart.

Efren Peῆaflorida hugged the limelight when he won the CNN Hero of the Year Award in 2009 because of his low-profile effort in helping street kids in Cavite City gain knowledge from what meager resources he and his group piled on a pushcart that they, yes, push around the coastal city. They have favorite shady spots where they park their pushcart, so that the kids need not look for them. One of these spots is in the cemetery which was once featured on TV, during which Cris “Kesz” Valdez was shown, demonstrating to the street kids the proper brushing of teeth and washing of hands.

Now on Kesz, he was a neglected child who at the young age of two was forced to scavenge in dumps for junks that can be sold to support the needs of his drug-dependent father. At a young teen age, he was forced to leave his family and lived on his own, finding security in the stillness of the cemetery where he slept. He was adopted by Hernan Manalaysay of the Club 8586, a group of evangelists until he found his way towards the comfort of the Dynamic Teen Company. Kesz won the International Children’s Peace Award in 2012, given at The Hague, Amsterdam.

The Dynamic Teen Company has a project at Amadeo, Cavite, a school that they named Akademus Amadeus. It shall cater to students who find it hard to pursue their studies in the city because of the expenses involving high tuition fees, board, food, and transportation. Construction is on a fast phase and at this stage, the school library is almost finished. According to Ms. Angel Neri, who heads the DTC Operations, and at the same time serves as the secretary/assistant of Efren, book donations are welcome to fill the shelves of the library.

The Akademus Amadeus can be found at 8586 Halang-Aingaro Road, Barangay Halang Banay-banay, Amadeo, Cavite. Book donations can be sent to Efren Peῆaflorida c/o Mrs. Adela Monton or Mr. Mediacio Monton at the school address.

Aside from the Akademus project, the DTC still pursues its objective of establishing 50 more Karitun Klasrum in areas where they are needed. For more details on the ongoing projects of the group, interested parties can get in touch with them through telephone, (046) 4315263 and look for Ms. Angel Neri. In case she is out, a volunteer who answers the phone can help in providing the initial information. The DTC is located at 188 J. Miranda St., Caridad, Cavite City.

Use tags, Efren Florida, Cris Valdez or Dynamic Teen Company, for a quick search in the cyberspace to know more about their advocacy.

Cris “Kesz” Valdez…epitome of struggle

Cris “Kesz” Valdez

…epitome of struggle


By Apolinario B Villalobos

An innocent smile

Gives radiance to his face –

Kesz, as friends call the lad

Is a picture of exhilaration

When all eyes turned to him

And palms are clapped

For a thunderous jubilation.

The thirteen years of struggle

Put his enduring will to a test

As he lived away from family

Who thought him to be a jinx

And to a dump he was left

But lucky to have been saved

And given another chance to live.

Devoting his life in helping others

This he does, though at such an age –

Pushing carts filled with books

He and his buddies scour the roads

For children with want for knowledge

Nothing can slow them down, not rain

Not thirst, not hunger, aches and pain.

The International Children Peace Prize

For the year 2012 he got, truly deserved

Has shown that God has plans for us all

And that the best life that man can live

Is one that is patiently driven with guts

And nurtured with determination to succeed

Just like what this sweetly smiling lad, Kesz did!

(Kesz Valdez has been awarded the 2012 International Children’s Peace Prize at The Hague for his effort in helping around 10,000 children in Cavite City, 30 kilometers from Manila City. He is with a group that pushes pushcarts filled with books, toys, sweets, slippers, etc. for the needy children of the city. They share with the children knowledge on health, values and love of God. He belongs to Dynamic Teen Company of Efren Peñaflorida, a CNN Awardee. Their group is based in Cavite City.)