Singtel Group Volunteers Give Hope to Gawad Kalinga Families
"It was an awesome experience to go on this journey to build and paint houses for the children. It is heartening to know that through this project, we played a part in giving them hope."
“Globe is one with GK in strengthening community partnership towards nation-building by working together. We want to bring out hope in everyone and help end poverty by collaborating with both public and private sectors for the underprivileged Filipinos that carry out the GK promise of “walang iwanan” (leave no one behind),” said Fernando Esguerra, Director for Globe Citizenship.
Optus overseas volunteers with a gift for the community
This year’s challenge started with the coastal cleanup in Freedom Island wildlife sanctuary inside the Las Pinas Parañaque Critical Habitat And Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), where volunteers had to deal with enormous piles of rubbish along the beach. “It was simply unbelievable and frustrating to see such devastating impact on the environment,” quipped Rosario Matibag Caina, Singtel Quality Assessor for Consumer Operations, even as she added that the experience reminded her to be “more environmentally responsible” and to “advocate for change.”
In the days that followed, volunteers spent their mornings in the house build at GK Manggahan-Kawayanan, Marcelo Green Village, Parañaque while in the afternoons, the group was tasked to participate in Paraisong Pambata workshops -- doing arts and crafts, storytelling, sports, and other games for three age groups (Sibol 3-6 years old; Sagip 7-13 years old; Siga 14-21 years old). The site is home to 600 families considered as informal settlers with 300 families already awarded with GK housing.
Despite the aches and pains, and the unforgiving weather while doing construction work, everyone believed that it was worth the sacrifice whenever they see the smiles from the beneficiaries.
“It was an awesome experience. I learnt one of the most important lessons of my life – “Be grateful and happy with what you have. We have so much and yet sometimes we are still unsatisfied or unhappy. Here, they have so little but they still smile and carry on with life. I hope we can do more to help the less fortunate in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. Life is about giving. It does not matter if it is care, love, or money,” said Thiruvarasu Muthuraman, Customer Care Officer, Strategic & Incubation Programme, Singtel.
To this, Rainer Helo, Globe Data Analyst, added that while Bayani Challenge is a tiring undertaking, it is nevertheless, an inspiring challenge. “Physically, we had to exert a lot of energy to help the GK residents build their own houses but at the same time, inspiring, because we had the chance to interact and play with the kids, even if it was just for a while,” he said.
Gawad Kalinga (to give care) is a non-government organization based in the Philippines, formally established in 2003 although its work began as early as 1994. The group focuses on poverty alleviation programs that begin with dignity restoration and continue on to include community empowerment, access to mainstream opportunities and basic services, and eventually to character building and good citizenship.