Biscuit delivery from ABS CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. Bantay Bata 163 Iloilo.

Biscuit delivery from ABS CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. Bantay Bata 163 Iloilo.

A huge thank you to ABS CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. Bantay Bata 163 Iloilo, for their donation of 20 boxes of assorted biscuits.  These will be such a treat to the children in the village and will be shared out during movie nights, meetings and into the Capinahan School for break time. 

Alya, our social worker used to work for the Foundation and has kept in touch since leaving.  She was catching up with her former supervisor, Ms. Precela C. Calanuga, who is officer in charge of Bantay Bata 163 Iloilo and asked if they had any goods for the children in our village. With no hesitation at all she offered 10 boxes of biscuits, so DR went to collect them from the main office in Iloilo and when he arrived there were 20 boxes!  Thank you so much. 

Bantay Bata 163 is a child welfare program launched in 1997 to protect disadvantaged and at-risk children through a nationwide network of social services. It includes the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and abused children, training and advocacy on child abuse prevention, rehabilitation of families in crisis, educational scholarships, community outreach and medical and dental missions.

Thank you on behalf of the children in the GSF Village, and we look forward to the possibility of working closely together in the future. heart

 

Spiritual time in the village.

Spiritual time in the village.

One of our beneficiaries, Tita Nelia Adrigado attends Church regularly, and thought it would be nice for the families in the village who are unable to get to church every week to have some Bible readings and songs in the village.  

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The Church is in Estancia which is three towns away from Lemery, so she asked the Pastor and some of her congregation to join her and her friends in the village for a spiritual evening and to share the words of God. 

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It was such a success, that the Pastor has agreed to hold a Bible Class every Thursday evening.  It is great to see that the community are getting closer not only economically but spiritually too.  

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At the end of the night – a delicious snack of rice porridge was served.

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Resa Valencia joins school … her story by Norma Palmejar.

Resa Valencia joins school … her story by Norma Palmejar.

“RESA BONIFACIO VALENCIA”

by Norma Palmejar.

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Resa, a 19 year old young lady, is the second child in a brood of 4 and the only daughter of Melinda and Reylan Valencia. She was born on May 24, 1999 in their home at the time, which was then at Barangay Bacabac, Sara, Iloilo. A neighboring town of Lemery.

She grew up to be physically active, but when she was 3 years old, her mother observed that she was having a delay in her speech development. At that time, the only word she could utter was “mama” which means “mother”.

Her mother took her to a doctor for a medical check -up. She was diagnosed to have a defective nerve behind her ear, (the mother pointed to the left ear) which gave her difficulty in hearing. But because of poverty, the parents were working as labourers in a farm and were only earning the minimal wage. They were not able to bring the baby to a specialist for a thorough medical check-up.

When Resa was 4 years old she attended a Day Care Centre and even proceeded to a kindergarten class, but it was there that she was already have having a hard time keeping up. She attended her class regularly but she just sat in the corner and barely interacted with the group. She even advanced to the first grade but it wasn’t long before her parents decided she had to stop school. Sadly, because of her hearing problems she never went to school again.   She just stayed at home and her mother diligently taught her to write, even if it was just her full name.

In January 2017, when her family moved in to the GSF village, Resa just stayed in their house and was the one doing the household chores especially when her parents were doing some work outside of the village. She became a loner and never went out of their house or spent time with other people her age.

When I was working on educating our out-of-school youth, through the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education which caters to the over-aged children and even the non-educated adult to have the privilege of being educated in the village, I was informed that we have some ‘People With Disabilities’ living in the village.

I have identified 3, and right there, I went to the central school here in our town, who had a SPED Center which has catering for special needs children. I met with the teacher and inquired for the needed requirements to have our very own people to be enrolled. Since school year was almost at the end, we agreed that they will be coming for the next school year which would be June 2018.

When I approached Melinda, she was very happy and excited about the idea of having Resa in school.

June 4, 2018, the new school year started. Melinda brought Resa to the SPED Centre with enthusiasm and full of hope for Resa. Resa, on the other hand was little bit nervous and apprehensive about being in school. The teacher commented that she was very shy at first, but when Resa met her classmates, she was astonished that they were also grown-ups, and were like her, and that they too were learners with hearing impairment.

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It wasn’t long before Resa adjusted herself in class and is now actively participating. There were 11 HI (hearing impaired) Learners enrolled. They are in school daily at 1:30 to 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

Among the aims of the SPED Centre is to let the special children live a normal life with other children their age. If they will be able to learn the basic things and gain skills they needed to be able to be with other normal children they will be transferred to the regular classes.

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Melinda, the mother used to take Resa to school daily and fetch her after class for the fear that she may get lost her on her way home. One thing that she was very thankful for also, is that the village already have a shuttle van where Resa could go to school and get back home on her own.

We are really looking forward that one of these days Resa could be at par with other young people her age and live a normal life and be able to have a brighter future ahead.

On behalf of the Foundation, huge well done and thank you to Norma who has made this possible. Resa Valencia will now have the education she so deserves and the opportunity to make her own friends at school. heart

 

 

 

Two pupils from the Alternative Learning System have graduated ….

Two pupils from the Alternative Learning System have graduated ….

A few months ago we mentioned that some of our beneficiaries are taking part in the Alternative Learning System which takes place in the village every Tuesday and Thursday.  This government incentive course was set up in the village to encourage anyone wanting to further their education. We have over 35 people attending every week. 

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Alya, (our social worker), Raul and his wife, Norlyn. 

We are proud to announce that due to 100 % hard work and commitment we have two pupils, Raul Ojero Jr and Reden Pamplona, who have both graduated from Elementary level and Secondly level with flying colours. last week they travelled to San Rafael with our social worker, Alya to receive their medals and certificates. 

Raul Ojero

Raul Ojero

Raul is a father of two and married to Norlyn. He works as a farmer, labourer and a motorbike driver. Alya told us that he has worked very hard studying in his spare time to make sure he passed this exam and received a medal for performing to the top level in his exam. 

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Eden Pamplona

Eden Pamplona graduated from HS Level.  He too, is a very dedicated young man who studied when he could. He comes from a broken family with no direct parental guidance.  His mother works in Manila as a housekeeper, so Eden lives with his step brother and step father, who both accompanied him to the graduation. Eden works in the village to earn extra money for his school allowance and is responsible for the water meter readings. 

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Raul and Eden with the two teachers Ma’am Gelma Anatan and Ma’am Marivie Fibre. 

Eden is also currently enrolled at NIPSC (Northern Polytechnic State College) Lemery Campus taking up IT course (Information Technology). 

They are the first group of graduates from our village to attend.  The ALS class will still continue every Tuesday and Thursday for the next six months. 

Congratulations to Raul and Eden, we are so proud of you. heart

Vibrancy, diversity and giving back – being part of Louis Vuitton’s Paris launch.

Vibrancy, diversity and giving back – being part of Louis Vuitton’s Paris launch.

By Greg Secker

Recently Rachel and I were invited to Paris by Louis Vuitton on an all-expenses paid trip to the launch of their new designer Virgil Abloh’s new collection. As the only invited clients from the UK it was quite the honour and an incredible experience. The fashion show itself was like something out of the Wizard of Oz, and Virgil put something close to my heart at the centre of his approach – diversity and inclusivity – putting the Rainbow Flag prominently throughout.

Virgil Abloh is quite an inspiration. As I came to find out during the show he wasn’t originally trained in fashion. In fact, he got his degree in civil engineering and an MA in architecture and later became known for his collaborations with Kanye West. He clearly likes breaking down barriers, and as a Ghanaian-American, he is the first designer of African descent to be the artistic director of Louis Vuitton men’s wear collection and managed to be listed in Time magazine 100 most influential people in the world in 2018. His approach, that he lives life on his terms, is something that is at the heart of why I started Learn to Trade and my charity the Greg Secker Foundation. We all have a choice in life to be the best version of ourselves, and to help raise those around us to be the best they can be too.

The show itself was like a kaleidoscope of colour and energy, which for those who know me, was right up my street. The event also showcased something that is also at the heart of my philosophy that businesses have a responsibility to give back to the community. For the Greg Secker Foundation you will have read about our work building an entire village in the Philippines for families who lost everything in Typhoon Haiyan. Louis Vuitton also make charity a core part of their approach. You may not be aware but every year Louis Vuitton does a huge amount of work for good causes including partnering with Unicef to raise over five million dollars this year to provide humanitarian support for children in urgent need as part of their #MakeAPromise campaign.

In fact, I first got to know the Vuitton family through a fundraiser they were part of called the Naked Heart Fabulous Fund Fair. I am looking forward to joining one of their humanitarian missions in the future. Their passion to make a difference is palpable and goes far beyond signing a donation cheque at the end of each year; they put their passion to use to encourage many others and behind the scenes inspire high-net worth individuals to make a positive difference in this world.

We only have one community, and there are seven billion of us on this planet who are all part of it. I have learnt first-hand that wealth alone will never be enough – a fruitless task given there will always be someone fighting the race to have the biggest bank account. Instead, I choose to grow and apply my wealth to make a difference and my mission is to inspire others to do the same.

Taking a cue from the incredible vibrancy and diversity of Virgil’s show on the catwalk, we all have a choice in this world; we can choose to be best version of ourselves and embrace the great tapestry of opportunities that are presented to us, or we can choose to do the same today as we did yesterday wishing for a different life. I know which one I find more exciting, and Virgil is proof that we don’t have to be constrained by traditional rules, all it takes is to make the decision to make a difference – and I don’t believe that will never go out of fashion!

Nutrition Programme at the Capinahan School.

Nutrition Programme at the Capinahan School.

As part of our commitment to The Capinahan School, we are delighted to announce that we now have a Nutrition Programme in place. 

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The parents firstly built a ‘Canteen’ in the traditional Bayanihan way.  The community spirit is as strong as ever and it is so heart warming to see everyone joining forces to get this building ready for the children. 

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Whilst the children are in lessons, some of the mothers will get behind the scenes and start cooking the nutritious food, which will be available every day.  

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Sadly, we learnt that the reason some children did not attend school in the past, was because the parents had no food to send to school with them (packed lunch). With this Nutrition programme now in place – every child can attend school and will receive a delicious lunch too. 

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However, preparing the food is not a simple task –  the school currently has no water system in place so every morning the parents fetch water from the nearby water pump and carry it to school.  This water is then used for the food preparation and also to teach the children to wash their hands before eating. Hygiene seminars have been held in the village so it is important that is taught to the children at school. 

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Ms. Annabel Roca, who is the parents representative expressed her heartfelt thanks to Greg and the Foundation for helping the children not only receive a proper education but good nutritious food too. The future is looking bright, and with this delicious ‘brain food’ the GSF children could well be the brightest! 

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The GSF Village maintains being “Environmentally Friendly”.

The GSF Village maintains being “Environmentally Friendly”.

The families are so proud of their village and make a huge effort to keep it clean – recycling their waste and creating their own compost too. Another seminar from PENRO (Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Office) was held in the village to reiterate the importance of keeping the village eco-friendly. 
 
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Before the village opened, a Material Recover Facility was made by the fathers and mothers, and it has been a huge success. Every family splits their rubbish  into plastic, glass, and cans and once full it is then taken away and exchanged for money.  Already in a year, the recycling area is surrounded by well established plants which hide it well. 
 
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It was agreed in the last General Assembly that every block leader (every block of houses has a leader) will have their own tasks assigned to them.  They will be responsible for their houses rubbish disposal and cleanliness around the block. Regular meetings are held between the GSF Homeowner Officers and the Block Leaders for updates and concerns and making sure that everyone does their fair share of work. 
 
Last weekend, Blocks 6, 7 and 8 spent the day cleaning up their area. It is great to see all working together – mothers, fathers and children.  Ornamental plants were planted, any litter was collected and a general tidy up was done. These blocks have agreed that this will now be a weekly activity to maintain the tidiness. 
 
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A compost area has also been made by the fathers, which will be fantastic for the gardens in the future! This is located behind the MRF so all recycling, rubbish collection and composting is kept to one area. The new compost site  is split into two – “Madunot” which means decompose and “Hindi Madunot”, will not decompose.  One of the homeowner officers has arranged with a government official in Lemery, to borrow a dump truck, which will be free of charge and on the last Friday of every month will collect any rubbish that is “Hindi Madunot” to keep the area clean and tidy. 
 
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We are so pleased that we have a clean, environmentally friendly village. Everyone is making a huge effort to keep it that way and they are a true sign of a close community – all working together.   
 
 
 
 
 
16 Chairs delivered to Capinahan School.

16 Chairs delivered to Capinahan School.

Yesterday, 16 chairs were delivered to the children at Capinahan School for the second graders who are seven years old.  They were so excited and wasted no time in helping to unload the truck.

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These chairs were handmade by the local furniture store in Lemery and paid for with the money that two people have kindly donated: Maria Anna Patricia Rueda and Gabriella Tilbury.  The classrooms are small so these are fantastic in saving space as each chair has its own writing desk.  

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Thank you to both, Maria Anna and Gabriella for the very generous donations, which enabled us to buy the chairs for the children’s school.heart

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Cherwin Pamplona weaves “Nito” baskets and food covers.

Cherwin Pamplona weaves “Nito” baskets and food covers.

We wanted to share with you, one of our fathers in the village who has been busy weaving baskets and food covers.  He has been gathering the “Nito Vine” which is a native wild vine found in the mountains and been weaving it into different products. He was telling us that you can make furniture out of the vines too – tables and chairs and in fact anything is possible! He has been selling his products at the market as an extra source of income.  Cherwin learnt to weave from his father when he was young and would like to teach others this skill.  

Nito vine (Lygodium circinatum) is a plant belonging to the fern family that grows abundantly in Mindanao in Southern Philippines. It is a vine growing as a secondary forest cover clinging to trees and rocks. This climbing fern is very common in the Philippines at low and medium altitudes.

The nito vine must firstly be gathered, then exposed to sunlight to dry. It does not need treatment like soaking or scraping to enhance its natural colour.

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The strip is taken from the innermost core of the stem, which is about the diameter of a pencil. The outermost layer of the stem has to be removed to get the strips. The raw strips are cleaned manually with a sharp improvised knife, taking at least two hours to clean a small bundle.

Nito weaving has traditionally been a source of community livelihood in the rural areas so it is great that one of our fathers is now doing this in the village. 

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