We are Team KS. Let us tell you a little about ourselves.
Cherry (Wallis/Valais) : President and Co-Founder and Webmaster
I’m Cherry, I was born in the Philippines but lived most of my childhood in Saudi Arabia. As kids my brothers and I spoke English at school but spoke exclusively in Tagalog to our parents at home. With other Filipino children in our international school we code-switched a lot but I always thought my Tagalog wasn’t so bad since we spent a lot of summer breaks in the Philippines. But at 15, when I finally moved back to the Philippines I realised then how much Tagalog I actually didn’t know– I could barely read Tagalog text! In the 11 years I lived there, my Tagalog definitely improved along with my appreciation of the Filipino culture –it also paved the way to unfiltered and authentic experiences as well as lasting friendships.
When I moved to Switzerland twelve years ago, I knew that I didn’t want to lose my mothertongue. And because I always associated Tagalog as my home language – the language I spoke to family and relatives, there was no question what language I would eventually speak to my children. Ever since the birth of my first son, my Tagalog has been improving more and more each day through all the children’s books we read together daily, not to mention the Filipino cultural nuances I’m always delighted to remember through reading children’s books. Now with three boys, our home is filled with fun Filipino conversations and stories and jokes that would definitely impress my fifteen-year-old self!
To me, Kuwentuhang Sabado is a means of sharing this priceless gift of the mothertongue and advocating the importance of preserving the language that will always mean home to me, despite growing up far from the homeland.
Charlie (Zürich) : Secretary and Co-Founder
My name is Charlie and I was born in the Philippines. In 1989 I came to Switzerland with my family. One can say, I am a so-called seconda. Just like every seconda or secondo, I have been living in between two worlds. Struggling to know where I belong. Nevertheless, I was lucky to have kept up with the Filipino culture and language. Ethnicity has always been an important subject in my life.
Nowadays, being a mom of two wonderful children, I realize more than ever the importance of passing on my culture to my kids. Since we started doing our Kuwentuhang Sabado sessions, I noticed a huge progression in my daughter’s speeking skills in Tagalog. She even teaches her younger brother to talk in Tagalog and tells him very proudly that one day, as soon as he starts speaking (now he’s only one year old), he too, will learn how to speak Tagalog.
I guess the children do benefit a lot from Kuwentuhang Sabado and this is why it is so important to me. To encourage the kids to speak Tagalog and to be proud of their origin.
Kith (Zürich) : Treasurer and Co-Founder
Hi! I’m Kith. I was born in Quezon City where I grew up playing tumbang preso, habulan, patintero, Chinese garter, piko, and taguan with cousins and neighborhood kids. We didn’t have a playground, but we hardly noticed sharing the street with the occasional jeepney because we had so much fun. Now I realize that this simple daily ritual of play honed our social skills, taught us about playing fair, encouraged our resourcefulness and strategic thinking, and showed us the importance of teamwork aside from the physical benefits of exercise.
Today as a mother, I would like to impart the same insights to my adorable son, who is growing up thousands of kilometers from one of his homelands. Through Kuwentuhang Sabado, I hope to raise him with the Filipino values that complement his European ones. I want him to know his Filipino heritage with the help of stories, songs, art, and the company of other Filipinos. I wish for him to learn one of his native tongues in a playful, fun environment that would make him appreciate his unique identity as a child of two cultures.
Sining (Basel) : Co-Founder
I am Sining, our Basel mommy from the small, historic district of Santa Ana, Manila. I grew up with a love for languages in a bilingual Filipino and English-speaking family where reading books and serious discussions are often done in English and yet the fun part is often in Filipino: playing tagu-taguan and tumbang-preso, watching my aunt act as either Sisa or Maria Clara in Noli Me Tangere and doing radio plays a la Kami’y Mga Ulila with my brothers and our yaya.
Basically, my family and I have no choice but to be multilingual as a family: speaking English and French at home and (Swiss) German in our canton. I am trying to catch up on teaching/speaking Filipino to my two boys, ages 10 and 1, and joining Kuwentuhang Sabado is certainly an answer to my prayer!
During my spare time, I love to read, travel, visit museums and art galleries and go to a Brocki (my favorite Swiss German word).
Lenny (Bern): Co-Founder
My name is Lenny and I was born in Switzerland to Tagalog- and Visaya-speaking parents. In my late teens, I became fascinated by my heritage culture and I started exploring more about the country and history of my parents and ancestors. I later co-founded the group Noi-P. with a few of my friends in pursuit of Filipino-Swiss cultural exchanges.
Inspired by the „Language nests” among the Maori in New Zealand, which is an immersion-based language revival and preservation program, I have always dreamed of a daycare or school program for kids of Filipinos living in Switzerland so that they can acquaint themselves with their heritage culture starting from a young age.
When Cherry, Charlie, Kith, Sining and I came together and decided to call to life Kuwentuhang Sabado, this dream came true. I am happy and utterly grateful to be part of this group of dynamic, talented and passionate women, who never stop to inspire me.
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