Gawad Kalinga

Archive for November, 2009

GK honors GK heroes Pinky and Gigi who died in the Maguindanao Massacre

by admin on Nov.29, 2009, under CYD SIBOL Program

pinkyatsibol-1As the whole nation grieves the senseless killings of civilians and journalists in Maguindanao, Gawad Kalinga honors its own GK heroes who died in the massacre and remembers today the many GK workers in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) who continue to build peaceful communities in spite threats of imminent danger.

GK Sibol teacher Pinky Balayman Edsing was one of the 57 people who joined the convoy on its way to file the certificate of candidacy for Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu who is running for the governatorial race in the Philippine elections next year.

Among the 16 Muslim women who handcarried Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy was Pinky, Along with Filipino journalists (22 bodies found), vice-mayor Esmael Mangudadatu’s wife, sisters and aides, Pinky was among those ambushed in Ampatuan town last Monday (November 23, 2009) while on their way to the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

Teacher Pinky, 35 years old, taught the children of GK Kalilintad in Maguindanao. Her co-teachers remember her as very nice, “tahimik pero palangiti” (quiet but always smiling). Her husband Rashid Edsing is grief-stricken at the loss of his “very caring wife and mother.” They have been married for only 4 years. Pinky left behind daughter Alyannah, 2-years old. Pinky was the eldest-born in a family of seven. Her sister, Lailanie Balayman was also killed in the massacre.

GK honors the selfless service of teacher Pinky and the many GK workers, volunteers and partners in Mindanao who continue to sow peace quietly in the deeply-wounded Southern Philippines.

Bai Genalyn “Gigi” Mangudadatu, wife of vice mayor Mangudadatu who was brutally slain was also a peace-builder, she worked closely with GK when it started GK Kalilintad in the town of Buluan. GK seeks to continue their legacy by not leaving behind our brothers and sisters in the ARMM and will continue to work hand in hand with them in bringing social justice and peace to Mindanao.

Gawad Kalinga has built 30 GK communities in the the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao particularly in Basilan, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao. As one GK family, join us in a special mass on Sunday (November 29), 6 pm at the Ateneo Church of the Gesu where you can offer prayers and flowers for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. Let us be in solidarity with them in their time of grief. our Sibol teachers will be coming to pay tribute to their slain fellow Sibol teacher. Everyone in Manila is invited to come.

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A Night to Remember in November

by admin on Nov.26, 2009, under Volunteer Support

gkambassadorWritten by Josie Pangilinan, CFC Sydney

The little girl with an umbrella (payong) looks unsure of the strength of the wind and rain above her. But she is secured. This was the front cover of the 2009 GK Ambassadors’ souvenir programme.

When the stage lights were to be turned on for the proclamation of the 2009 GK Ambassador at the Greyhound Social Club last Saturday, Nov. 21, two kids were sitting at a kerbside, confused, lost, afraid and wet. The sounds of the rains, thunder and gusts of wind came blowing in the auditorium packed with 250 people. In the midst of their despair, came a bigger sister with the payong and helped them out of the rain.

This was the theme of this year’s fund raising efforts of our GK Ambassadors in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) – to give relief to our beautiful poor who had been typhoon stricken, battered and tired of the many calamities that befell them. They lost so much but gained care and love from our young ambassadors who felt for them and responded to the call.

Vanessa Mendoza is 18 years old, a nursing student from Melbourne. She won the titles GK Ambassador Victoria and Australia. John Truong is from Sydney and is the NSW GK Ambassador.

Dylan Wilk graced the night with his empowering sharings and messages of hope from our GK villages in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The night was also attended by some of our beneficiaries themselves from these areas.

The truth is: There will always be poor, and the poorest in our midst.
But there will always be those who will take the chance to make a difference even for a handful of these.

There will always be those who like the rich young man will turn away sad because it is hard to part from their treasures. Yet there will always be cheerful givers and generous widows.

May the inspiration of our young ambassadors and their zeal to make a difference make its mark in our hearts. The night raised $53,000.
The torch bearers of this year’s event for NSW are Lourdes and Fidel Zaballa. The die-hard GK advocates and GK Youth of Sydney, Australia will always be there – behind the scenes – armed with true blue bravery and generosity.

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by admin on Nov.26, 2009, under CYD SAGIP Program

DSC03288Sometimes we realized that we are capable of great things only when we are faced with hindrances which we thought are too great to comprehend. Having to prepare and look for funds to register 30 SAGIP kids in a week’s time for the KFC Provincial kids’ village was too demanding for us that we thought of asking the KFC provincial coordinator to just allow us to send a few kids and allow them to be integrated to the sector where the GK site belongs. But they would have none of it, instead they gave us another reason to be inspired to gather the kids and participate as a team, telling us that all 30 SAGIP kids are already registered. What a great relief and blessing it was.

With the registrations off our shoulders, we faced the next hurdle, transportations and team uniforms. As GK facilitators are known to be resourceful, we were able to ask one GK advocate, a Tito who happens to own a store that sells t-shirts at wholesale prices, to extend credit to us for the shirts as we are still in the process of gathering the needed funds and willingly accepted our proposal. The transportation on the other hand was barely a problem because one of GK’s partner schools who happen to be the venue of the KFC PKV extends a weekend computer literacy program to selected people from the site and even fetches the learners every Saturday with their school bus. With a little negotiation, the SAGIP kids were allowed to join the learners in going to the venue.

Upon arrival on the venue, we thought everything would be fine, only to learn that meals covered by the registration will only start at dinner. That means we need to be able to produce lunch for 30 kids not mentioning the facilitators present with only 3 hours to go until noon. It was kind of chaotic but the resourcefulness in us prevailed and we were able to provide every one of the kids with lunch and on time.

After having lunch, we gathered for one final briefing before unleashing the SAGIP kids to the activities that were in stored for them. As they were told, the reason for joining the KFC PKV is for them to have much fun but keeping in mind never to do anything wrong so that at the end of the conference, fun memories will prevail and not the reprimands that they received for doing something wrong.

At the end of the conference, aside from experiencing great fun and fellowship, the SAGIP kinds were declared champions in basketball and volleyball games respectively and most surprisingly, they were as well declared the most behave team.

Remembering our preparations, we nearly decided to deprive the kids of the fun and memories that the conference would give them, but because of some people who believed in us that we are capable of doing much than we thought; those memories will forever be in the minds of the SAGIP kids. So as I end, allow me to extend my utmost thanksgiving to Tito Junee Nebrada, Tita Emily Calo and Tita Ruby Furia for never doubting our capabilities. Mabuhay po kayong lahat.

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CFC SIBOL School Rocks!

by admin on Nov.10, 2009, under CYD SIBOL Program

CFC SIBOL SchoolThe oldest of the four SIBOL schools of GK Butuan and the very first to produce one of the country’s Outstanding SIBOL Teachers, Maam Yolly as she was called. The school opened its first school year last June of 2004 with Maam Yolly of the CFC Handmaids of the Lord as the first volunteer teacher with CFC HOLD as well as her ever supportive benefactor in terms of school/SIBOL kids needs. Not even schooled as a teacher, she believes that her capacity to take good care of her children and the heart to serve are the main motivation for her to make great things possible in the SIBOL Program. After more than 4 fulfilling years as a volunteer teacher and being a model to new volunteer teacher, she believed it was time to fully devote her time to her growing children as well.

And this school year, with the school under funding from SFC Singapore, the school is once again at its peak of importing knowledge, wisdom and values to the young under the mentorship of Ma’am Riza, a homegrown SIBOL volunteer teacher residing within the GK village, with nothing but passion for service to the kids in her heart. Helping her as well is another volunteer teacher, Maam Christine, a member of CFC Singles for Christ who will have to travel almost an hour to be at the school each day. Below is their report for the month of July detailing their journey together with the SIBOL kids.

CFC GK Village SIBOL School in July

By: Ma’am Riza Maturan & Ma’am Christine Amora

Class Activities for the month…

There are 20 enrollees in the school and in the month of July, all topics centered on the Body Parts, its importance and the way to task good care of them. Various activities were done namely; doing nature walk, understanding the five senses and the need to have proper hygiene as a way to take care of the body. Talents and skills as well were observed and appreciated along the way. The month was ended with the culmination program of the nutrition month.

SIBOL Kids’ Assessment…

SIBOL kids enthusiastically go to school everyday, along with them are the loving parents making sure that they are received by the teachers and not straying away. They love to play most of the time making them hard to stop if playtime is over and time for learning is ongoing. It takes creative process for them to be interactive in relation to the topic and to motivate them to learn along the way. As days passed, most of them were able to learn how to write but most as well are slow in reading. Centered values that were given involve Love for God, Love for Country, cleanliness, the value of cooperation and the need to respect each other.

Teacher’s Assessment…

To be a SIBOL teacher is a challenging service, yet fulfilling and inspiring. You have to focus not only on the topics that you are to present but also to be sensitive to the different abilities and behaviors that the kids have. We have to be more patient and understanding to effectively impart knowledge to them. We need to find creative ways in imparting the lessons so that greater learning is absorbed by them.

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Feeding the Hungry with Operation Walang Iwanan

by admin on Nov.07, 2009, under Heroes Build / GK1MB

buildblog_imgBy: Nathan Mari
GK1MB USA National Director

Three typhoons struck the Philippines starting Saturday September 26 2009 bringing extreme flooding and devastation. What they showed on TV and in the newspapers couldn’t have prepared us for the task ahead… all we knew was that disaster struck and we needed to respond. That’s the GK way you know, no blueprints, no templates, just heroic response! While most people in the country have already stopped relief work because, well that’s just the way it goes I guess, after a week eventually the news gets stale, “Operation GK: Walang Iwanan” will keep going well into Christmas. After a week and a half of feeding the hunger cannot be subdued. Unlike the homes we build, at least there is something that remains, but hunger is something that passes. Many of the people we went to hadn’t had any sort of relief before we got there. That means for those who lost everything, they haven’t eaten properly for almost two weeks.

I was amazed at our volunteers on the ground! Having done this for 11 days and returning day after day didn’t seem to faze any of them. There were also some previous beneficiaries there who were familiar with the pains of hunger. They stood in line passing sacs filled with rice, canned food, spaghetti sauce and bottles of water into the “Bulldogs.” Once all fifteen army trucks were filled, we were off. We sat in the back and with me was Kat. She shared with me her story the day before while she was out feeding with the military escorts. As people began to realize that there was no more food and her truck was the last, they began to storm towards her. She had just finished passing out bread to an elderly woman when all of a sudden hands came from everywhere to take whatever scraps they could from this old lady. Kat was in tears and yelled “Lola!!” She was sharing how guilty she felt and how she blames herself for the hurt that this old lady went through. When people are hungry, their predatory instincts come out like a lion in search of its next meal. When people are in survival mode, it’s a battle of the fittest. This is what we reduce people to when they are deprived of the most basic human needs such as food.

On our way up to the site, the situation was far worse than what the media covered… water absolutely everywhere.. . whole houses were swallowed up by the floods. Streets became rivers and people carried their families in anything that could float. Walking to their homes was done through boats and makeshift paddles made from scraps of plywood. But it wasn’t the fact that people had lost everything, or that their belongings remained submerged, or clothes still wet and dirty. People were hungry! They were desperate for food. When Kuya Luis told me that the feeding would continue well into Christmas I was shocked! I thought why would you need to do that? But when I saw that even after 11 days the waters still hadn’t come down, I understood. So I took my place in the line and began distributing food. The hours passed and the lines never diminished. I was there for almost 6 hours and I was exhausted! My back was hurting, my shoulders painful from passing over 4,000 food packs, and I was hungry because by that time it was already 2pm and I hadn’t eaten for almost 7 hours -but what right did I have to complain?! Look at these people who have gone without eating for almost two weeks! I kept my selfishness to myself and kept on going. We packed and distributed 7,500 food packs that day! I felt proud at the extraordinary achievement. .. I can finally say that I fed the hungry and add that to my list of corporal works of mercy. But why should I feel proud? The true heroes are the GK people on the ground, because long after I return to the US to tell their story, they will still be here packing and feeding the millions of Filipino’s going hungry every day.

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