June 17, 2014

Team building

Our office trip to Bantayan Island (see yesterday's post) wasn't only for rest and recreation. The more important objective was team building. In our case, it was quite literal.
 GK Village in Bantayan Island Gawad Kalinga (GK), which means "to give care," is a poverty-alleviation and nation-building movement which builds houses and creates communities all over the Philippines for the poorest Filipinos. GK communities are known for their colorful houses, which is but the first step in the long process of poverty-alleviation. There is a young GK Village in Bantayan Island—named the Pope Francis GK Village—and we spent our first afternoon there.
 GK Village in Bantayan Island GK is completely funded by donations and powered by volunteers. The land for the Pope Francis GK Village was donated by the municipality, which increased the donation after Typhoon Haiyan destroyed many of the coastal villages in Bantayan Island. The houses are largely funded by Xavier School and the ERDA Group, both Jesuit institutions based in Manila.
   GK Village in Bantayan Island The simplest way of volunteering is by helping build houses, which is what we did. The boys did the heavy work of mixing the sand, cement and water. (I tried, but my arm strength is absolutely pathetic.) That's our big boss dude in the Hawaiian shirt.
 GK Village in Bantayan Island We passed buckets of the cement mixture for the floor of one of the units. Aside from volunteers, GK houses are built by their recipients, who have to log in 300 hours of labor and attendance in values formation workshops before they can move in. GK calls it "sweat equity." And the formation continues long after the beneficiaries receive their houses—necessary if one wants to build real communities and not just houses.  
 GK Village in Bantayan Island Before we left, some of the children of Pope Francis GK Village performed a dance for us, a dance that they had been practicing for a big GK event.

To learn more about Gawad Kalinga, and maybe even donate or volunteer, please visit their website.


Lowell said...

What a wonderful program. I love the bold colors in that first shot. The program reminds me of our "Habitat for Humanity" program which also builds homes for those in special need.

William Kendall said...

It sounds like good work, and done well.

Cloudia said...

Well done. And bless those children

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= <3

Olivier said...

super reportage et a la fin c'est magnifique ces maisons de toute les couleurs

Unknown said...

Fantastic initiative, Hilda! The colourful houses in a row are so cute.

Unknown said...

Well done, What a nice program!

Thanks for sharing :)
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