Well as you can imagine, Angelia has been put straight to work in the foundation as our new Ambassador. After helping Greg move Nena and her two sons last week, Angelia has been keen to keep the ball rolling.
She started by giving a message of encouragement to the beneficiaries and the newly elected Village Officers. She spoke about her advocacy to save mother nature, and that being poor is not wrong unless you strive to have a better life for your family and children. ‘We can, so we will’ – Her slogan from winning Miss Earth in 2015. Our Beneficiaries were so amazed by her beauty and words. And as she spoke in their mother tongue she oozed sincerity.
Next Angelia planted a Narra tree which is the National tree of the Philippines and a symbol to welcome her in to the Foundation.
Alya our social worker, showed Angelia the new crèche. This is mainly used so our builders, contractors and other workers on site, have a safe place for their children to be cared for during the day. Alya did such a great job making the crèche an inviting and friendly place for the children – Thanks Alya.
Angelia handed out plastic toy gardening tools to the children, so they could learn how to plant and grow fruit and vegetables. These type of life skills are so important for them to be self sufficient, and really will help give them the best start in life.
In addition to the crèche we have converted some of the houses into class rooms temporarily. Teachers from the CPU (Central Philippines University), have been teaching Saturday classes every week all the way from Kindergarten to Grade Six. Angelia and Greg left little pre-school kits for the kids, this included work books, exercise books, reading books and colouring books.
They also left a lovely message on the chalk board to motivate and inspire the children. Alya showed them the tables and chairs in the classrooms as these were all made by our beneficiary fathers.
We are so grateful to have Angelia on board, and can see the impact she will make is huge.
Are you ready for an emotional roller coaster? I hope you’ve got a box of tissues close by!
Last week, we were having our foundation update call as normal. DR our project co-ordinator based in the Philippines alerted us about a flood, that had affected one of our beneficiary families due to move into the village later this year.
Nena the mother, her two boys Rodolfo and Raymond and her beautiful baby granddaughter.
Raymond was blinded in an accident at the age of 10 and after the boy’s Father passed away, despite being completely blind, Raymond became the family’s main bread-winner. Due to his disability, he is completely dependent on his brother Rodolfo for his every need and every day they both walk for over an hour to the next town where Rodolfo helps Raymond find a safe place to sit, so he can spend the day begging for money. Meanwhile Rodolfo rents a bicycle with a sidecar and uses it as a taxi to ferry people around the town.
Together in a day they earn enough money to put food on the table for just one single day.
Their home is made from Bamboo and scrap wood and located next to the Capinahan river. When the river flooded their wooden home was damaged and all their belongings ruined. With this news Greg organised to fly out and offer them some immediate support taking with him Dean Russell, Team Lead for the trip.
Now a little side note…
The Greg Secker Foundation has been in regular conversations with Angelia Ong a Chinese Filipino model and beauty queen who was crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2015 and was later crowned as Miss Earth 2015. Born in Manilla but raised in Iloilo City she had heard of our foundation and strongly believed in the work we are doing! We decided to approach her with a view to making her an Ambassador.
We are very pleased to announce that she accepted! With Greg’s short notice trip to help Nena and her family he called in the troops, including Angelia.
They met in Manilla and flew down to Lemery together. A helicopter was the quickest way to get them to Iloilo where DR picked them up and took them straight to Nena, Raymond and Rodolfo.
This is what they saw..
Greg comforted them and promised them he wouldn’t leave before making their living situation safer.
Greg had an idea, but needed more helping hands! He took the GSF team back to the village to speak to the contractors working on site and the beneficiaries tidying. They decided on a well know process called Bayanihan system, this is a Filipino custom derived from a Filipino word “bayan”, which means nation, town or community. The term bayanihan itself literally means “being in a bayan”, which refers to the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a particular goal. Bayanihan also comes from the word “bayani” which means ‘hero’. It can also mean that by helping one another, we can be each other’s hero.
It took three trucks to bring the willing volunteers back to Nena. Then this happened…
We are so pleased to announce that the house move into the village was successful and Nena and her family are now safe from future floods.
As you can imagine this caught the attention of the media! They have promised to share with us some footage of the day so keep your eyes out for this on our Facebook page.
A big thank you to all of our GSF team, contractors and beneficiaries for all your hard work and help on this trip! We have shown that…
In aid of World earth day this year, in 2 days time! We have been reviewing how ‘green’ our village is and what we can do to ensure the site is as carbon neutral as possible. We already have the amazing recycling bins you may have read about in previous blogs, and are keen to look into a wind turbine too. If you have any ideas please do share them with us, we would very much appreciate the help!
Reducing the carbon footprint of an entire village is no small task. However, making sure you are doing your bit at home is much easier. We’ve done some research and pulled together 5 top tips on how to ensure you are as ‘green’ as you can be too.
Reduce Water Waste. In our village running water has not been the easiest to implement. We have therefore experienced first-hand how vital it is to be frugal with our water usage.
At home simple things like taking a shorter shower in the morning or installing a low-flow shower head can make big difference. These have the added benefit of reduced cost when you receive your next water bill too!
Cutting back on bottled water purchases is an easy solution as well. Even if you live in an area where your tap water isn’t the tastiest, purchasing a water filter will take some of that irony aftertaste out of your water and purify it to your bottled-water standards. Plus, a water filter will save you money in the long run, when you don’t have to take trip after trip to the store to purchase more bottled water!
Cut Down On Your Energy Usage. Similar to water wastage this will help with saving the pennies too – a win for you and a win for the Earth! There are a lot of ways to cut back on the energy you use in your home, including some of the following…
Unplugging appliances when they aren’t being used, putting clothes on a lower temperature wash (according to The Worldwatch Institute, 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water) and using a drying rack or clothesline instead of a tumble dryer.
Reducing your energy around the home is literally as easy as a click of the button. So, turn the lights off when you leave the room and stop leaving those appliances on standby.
Use Less Paper. Think of the trees! With texts and emails the standard way of communicating now, we do use paper less than we did years ago. However, when mopping up that mess in the kitchen think…! Is a paper towel necessary or can a washable cloth be used instead? Remember, the less paper you use, the less paper needs to be produced and the more trees that get to fill our forests. According to EPA, by recycling one short ton (0.91 t) of paper you can save 17 mature trees.
If it is essential for you to use paper for work or school, you can still make a difference by using recycled paper. Did you know It takes less energy to create recycled paper than it does to create the purified white paper you are used to using. Recycling is easy and one of our favourite ways to live green at The Greg Secker Foundation.
Carpool. How do you travel to work or school? If you drive could you offer others a lift? Fewer cars on the roads means less carbon and other gasses polluting the air. This also protects the environment by keeping the water and land cleaner. Just think, it can even help with the traffic causing you long delays on your journey.
Some governments support the idea of carpooling to the extent that they have introduced high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. These are lanes in which only vehicles with two or more passengers are allowed to drive. HOV lanes can create strong practical incentives for carpooling by reducing travel time and expense; so it’s definitely worth your while.
Reduce Single Use Items. Why not buy reusable drinks bottles such as travel mugs. This reduces plastic, styrofoam and paper and saves you money on buying drinks when you are out. You can also invest in reusable bags, just remember to keep them with you to avoid the 5p penalty when in the shops!
Another single use item that can cause serious soil and water pollution are batteries. Where possible make sure you use rechargeable ones. If you need to use an item that has disposable batteries, make sure you turn it off when it’s not in use to reduce the wastage. Batteries are made from a variety of chemicals, some of which are extremely toxic and can cause damage to humans, wildlife and the environment.
We hope these tips help you to becoming more ‘green’ at home. Keep an eye out on our blog for updates on how we implement our carbon neutral initiatives.
With the kids on school holidays, and the weather being so beautiful here in the UK over the bank holiday weekend, we can forget that there are others less fortunate than us.
From decorating eggs, making bunny costumes and church services, Easter really is even more fun with kids. With this in mind, we decided to give our young beneficiaries a little egg-stra this weekend… here’s a video to show you how much fun we all had!
After a rainy start to the week, we have now had the first delivery of materials on site for the construction of the next ten homes. This includes 2,000 hollow blocks and 6-7 cubic metresof sand and gravel. We are also pleased to announce that back-filling has finally finished – Hoorar! Who would have known it would take us five days and approximately 300 cubic meters of land to complete.
Our lovely beneficiaries have been back on site volunteering too. This week they have been planting Mani Mani plants otherwise known as Peanut plants. Not only do these plants beautify our village, they also help stop the slopes from eroding by burying their roots deep into the soil. Seedlings develop quickly, reaching ground cover spread by six months. So it won’t be long before our village is decorated with the delightful yellow flowers this plant produces.
With building work due to commence next Monday 20th March, we are desperately trying to get hold of a bulldozer. In England this would seem like a simple task, however in this part of the Philippines machinery is scarce and expensive. DR, Project Coordinator Philippines and Rosario, Project Coordinator UK, continue to work hard and are hopeful they will find one in time without causing any delay to the next phase of building.
Lastly but possibly most importantly, we are now hiring for a full time licensed Social Worker based in our village in the Philippines. This person will become a vital member of our team, ensuring our beneficiaries get the chance to actually thrive and not just survive. Key aspects of the social workers role will include being the lead community organiser, and carrying out continual community and village needs assessments. They will have the opportunity to work closely with the Central Philippines University (CPU) who have already offered The Greg Secker Foundation resources and a wealth of knowledge. If you think this role sounds like the career opportunity you have been waiting for, a copy of the advert can be found below with details on how to apply.
Full Time LICENSED SOCIAL WORKER
Professional/Licensed Social Worker
At least 2 years working experience as Social Worker
Preferably with direct community organizing experience
Proficient in oral and written English
For interested applicants please submit your application letter addressed to The Greg Secker Foundation and resume to Dr.Sanico@gregseckerfoundation.com or you may contact Mr. DR June Sanico at 09993667397.
Deadline of submission is on/before March 25, 2017.
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