APRIL 2014

 Chicagoans eye Palawan GK Village enterprise

Above Photo: ALMIRA Astudillo-Gilles, noted writer and former president of UP Alumni Association (far L) poses with GK villagers at Tagbato, one of the 15 GK villages in Palawan and GK Chicago head Jun de Guia and GK media director Anong Santos during their survey Feb. 12 of the economic needs of the Gawad Kalinga residents in that area.

Above Photo shows the vacant GK school, now closed due to lack of preschoolers. The building will now house the housewives who will be trained to make handicrafts to help in their household expenses.

Above Photo: Palawan GK Coordinator Mino Romin Tolentino and a Tagbato villager show the torn fishnets that can be converted to marketable handicrafts. (PINOY Photo by Anong Santos)

Above Photo: A fisherman shows the fishnet which is useful for a limited time and now can be used as a raw material for products to augment the income of the residents. (PINOY Photo)


Village Buildah Raffle to Benefit GK, others

LOS ANGELES– Gawad Kalinga is one of the charities to be benefited by a fundraiser sponsored by Village Buildah, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating, sheltering, and feeding the underprivileged of the world. It is the first-ever international Car Raffle Fundraising Event to fund four global charities.

U.S. and Canada residents can purchase raffle tickets for only $2 per ticket. Tickets will be entered into a raffle, and winners will be selected on June 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

The top prize is a brand-new, 2014 Mercedes-Benz C250 luxury sedan. The second prize winner will receive a brand-new Vizio 70-inch HDTV, and the third prize winner will receive $1,000 in cash.

The proceeds will be used to fight poverty across the globe. Aside from Gawad Kalinga, other beneficiaries include Children's Hospital Los Angeles; St. Mary's Catholic Church of Palmdale. Typhoon Victims of Haiyan/Yolanda will be assisted through Gawad Kalinga.

Edwin Fernandez, Village Buildah Chairman, Charity Committee and Special Events said, "Our organization believes in being a vocal advocate for the homeless, hungry, and displaced, and through the raffle, we can help others do the same."

Village Buildah is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group based in California. More information about the Car Raffle Fundraising Event, as well as Village Buildah's latest projects and how others can volunteer and donate, visit www.villagebuildah.com.


12 Provinces, One Goal-- GK mass build from April 9 to June 12 targets 1M volunteers

By Tricia Aquino

What was once a five-day activity will now run for two months as nongovernmental organization Gawad Kalinga aims to bring together one million volunteers through the Bayani Challenge, a mass build happening simultaneously around the country.

Now on its eighth year, the Bayani Challenge will be held from April 9 to June 12 in 12 provinces, notably Eastern Samar and Leyte, where supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) left thousands homeless; Zamboanga, where a siege between government troops and rebels displaced residents in entire towns; and Bohol and Cebu, where a 7.8-magnitude earthquake toppled buildings.

Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Palawan, and Samar are the other provinces where Filipino and foreign volunteers are expected to come in droves, building houses, refurbishing schools, conducting health missions and clean-up drives, planting trees, and spending time with children.

Last year, 80,000 volunteered in 37 sites as part of Gawad Kalinga's goal of ending poverty in the Philippines by 2024.

For Bayani Challenge 2014, Gawad Kalinga seemingly retraces its roots, as in 2006, when it was inaugurated in response to the landslide that hit St. Bernard, Southern Leyte in February of that year.

Gawad Kalinga Executive Director Luis Oquiñena himself had just flown in from Tacloban last week, where the NGO had been engaged in relief and rehabilitation efforts since the immediate aftermath of Yolanda.
During a meeting with corporate partners on Friday, he said that the disaster response was perceived as slow.

"But if you meet the people working on the ground, from the government to the other NGOs, even from the beneficiaries, the desire to make things happen is there," he said. "It's just that what happened in the area was unprecedented. From our side (we may think) it's slow, but it's really a grind every day. But the heart is there. That is what, I guess, is giving us this sense of hope that things will really happen."

Oquiñena was also happy to say that after Yolanda, the government, "the biggest institution in this country that can really make sustainable change," adopted Gawad Kalinga's framework wherein beneficiaries will no longer have to pay for the houses in cash. Rather, beneficiaries put in "sweat equity" when they build their future homes.

Bayani Challenge, he said, was about connecting Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

"This is (about) raising expectations, that when something happens in the Visayas, people from Visayas should expect that people from Luzon and Mindanao will help out," said Oquiñena. "It's not just, 'I hope help arrives.' They should expect (it to arrive) because after all, we call ourselves one nation."

Mike Go, social enterprise development head of personal care and beauty brand Human Nature, which employs persons from Gawad Kalinga communities, painted a picture of what volunteers can expect.

A sixth-timer this year, he said each day began early with the team coming together for prayers and breakfast. As soon as they head to the site, they construct during the entire day until sundown. Upon their return, they listen to talks and take part in events "that nourish the soul." Speakers help the volunteers process their experiences.

At first, Go thought that the main challenge was building the house. He came to realize, however, that it was the commitment to "the mission," wanting to fulfill it every day of one's life -- that was the real challenge.

"Our mission of really eradicating poverty in the country is going to happen sooner or later," he told InterAksyon.com. "It's really a choice of whether you want to be part of that or not."

The Bayani Challenge 2014 is a multi-sectoral effort organized by Gawad Kalinga with Globe, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Commission on Higher Education, MMDA, Philippine Information Agency, Philippine Medical Association, Pilipinas Natin, EDSA People Power Commission and the Philippine Ports Authority, in partnership with Human Nature, LBC Foundation, and other members of the private and public sectors.

Register for Bayani Challenge at www.bayanichallenge.com/register before March 30, or donate to "fuel two months of nation-building" at www.gk1world.com/bc2014-give.




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