Thursday, September 30, 2010

PUSONG PINOY'S BOOK DONATION TO RECOP

A message from Rural Educational & Outreach Program (RECOP):

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Pusong Pinoy commends RECOP, especially CHECCS OSMENA-ORBIDA and all the volunteers. Your selfless concern for the welfare of the kids in Negros Occidental continue to inspire us to do more. Special thanks to our HEROES from Hong Kong and Dubai for the book donations and to NYLESOR TADEO of Israel for sponsoring the shipment of books from Manila.

RECOP is a team of volunteers who provide outreach programs and supplies to children and parents of impoverished communities in the mountains of Negros Occidental in the Philippines. In the mountains, schoolchildren are so bereft of resources. They have so little - no crayons, no notebooks, no picture books, a few pieces of pad paper. Most of them go hungry but they strive to go to school. Normally, a student owns only one pair of footwear - rubber slippers. Most of the children go barefoot on the schoolgrounds for fear their slippers would wear out fast. In one of the schools, most of the students have never seen modeling clay or a watercolor paint brush.There is no electricity in these remote mountain areas. Only the most prominent family owns a generator-powered TV set. Most of the children have never been to town, much more to the bigger city. It is no wonder that most of the children drop out by Grade 4, a little after they have learned the basics of reading, writing, and mathematics.

By the age of 15, girls are set off to be married while boys work the land of their parents. Few completes high school and college is unheard of. RECOP believes that with exposure and resources, schoolchildren would learn how to dream of a better life. It is their hope that some would discover that they are not solely bound to the land they till and that there is a bigger world outside of that which they know of.

Please help us continue to promote literacy! Donate a book now! For information on book donation, send us an email or contact the team leader in your area.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PROJECT LEND A HAND - IN THE EYES OF PUSONG PINOY HERO DOUGLAS INNESS

Project “Lend a Hand” touched the lives of 100 preschool children at the Day Care Center at Ulingan, Brgy. Vitas in Tondo, Manila. Pusong Pinoy Team Leaders worked in partnership with Flickr-based photographers, Photokalye, led by Peegee Silo. Volunteers trudged through mud and trash to deliver essentials to the small day care center in the “ulingan” or charcoal-making area along the coast of Manila Bay in Tondo.

Children entertained volunteers by singing songs taught to them by DSWD social worker, Teacher Jemima. After this, the bags containing rice, groceries, school supplies, and snacks donated by PP donors from around the world were distributed by PK and PP members and parent and community volunteers.

As we approached the site, through a chaos of tricycles, people and a blur of colour, the pungent smell of decomposing waste slowly invaded our car. On such a hot, humid day, the smell intensified, as we steered through puddles along a heavily-rutted track. Rubbish and mysteriously-bundled plastic waste lined the road. People wore camouflage – blending with the same tired, jaded colours as the rubbish around them. A palette of tired brown. The brightest sparkle came from their shaded, quizzical eyes.

Bright blue bags of food and the gleaming delivery 4x4 truck, dazzled in the light. Clean, fresh, new. Eager helpers unloaded the heavy bags- two each. A comic balancing act of bags, cameras, scarves and umbrellas ensued, as small, dark figures climbed tentatively up a mountain of compacted waste. The surface of decomposing plastic was strangely spongy- like walking on a water bed of bubble wrap. A man-made, no-man’s land. Feet were placed carefully, gingerly. Occasionally, oozings of mud, seeping fluids and excrement had to be negotiated, as feet slid in unpredictable directions.

In the distance, machines gouged out chunks of decomposed waste. A welcome breeze blew over this alien landscape, teasing our nostrils with the pervading smell of wood smoke.

This was Ulingan...

Slithering down a slope, we reached the shanty. Random boards, planks, sheeting had been persuaded to reluctantly become ramshackle buildings. Dust and soot covers everything in a tired grey blanket. A monochrome world. Dark water laced with rubbish lapped spindly foundations. Narrow alleys between houses led off to piles of rubbish. People gazed unblinkingly from the cool security of shadows and doorways. Distorted strains of music could be heard. A welcome drink of just-too-warm fizz failed to quench thirsts – the straws of different lengths, the colours faded.

One side of the track was in hot shadow: the other in bright, blinding heat. Heavy blue bags now cut raw grooves into hands. Trickles of sweat run. A crowd ahead, under a bright Pusong Pinoy banner, clustered round the day care center. Volunteers stumbled through the throng, over piles of sandals, teetering up a steep ladder, into a small, softly-lit room. A small library, torn posters – an attempt at cheeriness. The teacher accepted coloured pencils, eager to bring more colour to this grey world.

Wide eyes gaze up at the visitors, in patience and expectation. Fresh faces, runny noses – some in crisp white, others in faded colours. Adidas, Polo, Juicy – imitation designer brands: incongruous. An electric fan in the ceiling struggles to stir the heat, as we taste our sweat and feel overwhelmed. We feel as if we want to give everything.

Chocolate cup cakes and orange juice treats are enjoyed. Eyes widen. Smiles at last. The tension broken. The children come to life – smiles, laughter, tears. Just children. The blue and white bags are distributed and a pair of slippers and a toothbrush added. An orderly queue: eager hands. Some stay, some leave, with anxious adults waiting outside. We climb down the steep wooden steps – back to the street. Now, volunteers are more relaxed, the task accomplished – a difference made. A few moments of giving – the result of weeks of planning, donating and organizing.

As we re-trace our steps, children wash and clean using new soap and toothbrushes.

The charcoal-making site is on the return route. Ramshackle carbon-black sheds look as if they’ve been blitzed – a fragile chaos of charred wood. Fumes intensify, toxic smoke chokes your throat, invades you. Everything is seen soft-focus through a haze of grey. Dark ghosts in the smoke, burning wood, packing, silently. The cleanest things in Ulingan are the neat, white bags of charcoal. Converting waste into money - it’s a big price to pay.

Further on, we pass homes made from a confetti of rubbish. Inside one heap a peaceful sleeping face can be seen, swathed in a cocoon of waste.

After a cooler warm drink, we returned to Manila. Trying to comprehend, rationalize, understand. The pervading influence of wood smoke and Ulingan was on our clothes for days and will remain in our minds forever…

Douglas Inness is from Ayrshire, Scotland. He was the Head of English in a secondary school. Now, he devotes his time to his passion - photography. Pusong Pinoy extends our utmost gratitude to Douglas for joining the team and significantly contributing to the project efforts to provide a variety of goods for the kids of Ulingan. We would also like to thank his wife, Jean Inness, for celebrating her birthday during this event.

Click HERE for more information about PROJECT LEND A HAND.

Monday, September 27, 2010

PUSONG PINOY HERO's 40TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION AT KIDS HOPE MINISTRY

PP Hero REGGIE SAMSON PELAGIO did not think twice on how she would celebrate her 40th birthday this year. Reggie and her mom, BONA FIDELIS S. PELAGIO, a retired teacher from Don Bosco Makati, celebrated this special day with the children of Kids Hope Ministry (KHM) in Paranaque. They brought lunch from Jollibee, cake, and treats for the kids. Thank you so much, Reggie, for making these kids special!

When asked why she decided to celebrate her birthday the Pusong Pinoy way, Reggie replied, "I went to your website to learn more about Pusong Pinoy and I was amazed when I saw all the kids. That's when I decided to have my 40th birthday with these kids. After coordinating with PP and KHM staff, my birthday happened at Kids Hope. I was so happy because I know all the kids were happy, too!"

KHM focuses on impoverished children 3 to 16 years old from squatters areas, slums, and other poverty-stricken areas in the Philippines. These children are oftentimes left to fend for themselves - hungry, malnourished, and left vulnerable to the allures of a life of crime, drug addiction, and prostitution. It is their mission to give this children a chance in life by providing them educational opportunities, feeding program, and basic needs (clothes and food). They also provide home and shelter to orphans and abandoned kids. KHM currently serves 135 kids in their centers in Paranaque, but they actually serve more during their feeding programs at Smokey Mountain, Mangyans in Mindoro, squatters in Paranaque, etc. We salute Kid's Hope Ministry for their mission which is in line with ours - to promote literacy to eradicate poverty.

Would you like to celebrate your birthday the Pusong Pinoy way? If so, please contact CTL Jay at tl.tinytony@ymail.com. Click HERE to see other Pusong Pinoy's birthday celebrations.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

PUSONG PINOY SHINES ANOTHER LIGHT

Last month, Pusong Pinoy launched a major project - LITTLE BITES FOR LITTLE LIGHTS. We collected food items and books for the benefit of the children of Little Lights Ministry. Thanks to our wonderful heroes, we completed this project in only five days!

Little Lights Ministry, as part of Kerygma Asia, planted its humble beginnings in February 2010, at Sitio Tawi-Tawi along the riverbanks of the Pasig-Cainta boundary where drug dealing, drinking sprees, gambling, and street brawls are a way of life. Out of this concern, Little Lights was born. As the ministry continued its mission, they came across out-of-school and never-schooled children, which led them to start "Learning Lessons," a progressive Montessori-type learning system for ages 2 to 15 years. Deeply inspired and motivated by the works of Little Lights Ministry, Pusong Pinoy took on this project to help them continue their mission which is in line with ours - to promote literacy to eradicate poverty.

On September 25, 2010, our Philippines Core Team Leaders SUSAN CHUA and VANGIE CRUZ REYES gave the following donated items to Little Lights Ministry:

2 SACKS of STICKY RICE
50 CANS of EVAPORATED MILK
30 KILOS OF SPAGHETTI
50 PACKS OF POWDERED JUICE DRINK
25 PACKS OF COCOA POWDER
5 SACKS OF RICE/50 KILOS PER SACK
25 KILOS OF SUGAR
30 KILOS OF ELBOW MACARONI
50 LARGE PAILS OF BISCUIT
500 CHILDREN'S BOOKS
200 NOTEBOOKS
412 PENCILS

The next day, the rest of the Philippines Core Team (CTL Leader JOCEL ESTOQUE, TL BENG DIZON, and TL CLAUDETTE LAGMAN) visited the children of Little Lights Ministry and distributed children's books. The children also enjoyed delicious snacks from donations of this project - biscuits and champorado (chocolate porridge). Our thanks go to Pastor JOSEPH CASAJE and his ministry for their dedication to these kids. Once again, thanks to all our wonderful heroes for making this project a success!

PP HERO JEN CAMAGAN'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION AT PSAC

Pusong Pinoy hero JENECA CAMAGAN of Hong Kong celebrated her birthday with the kids of Parish Social Action Committee (PSAC) in Abra, Lipa City in Batangas. The celebration started with a birthday mass followed by games and lunch. Thank you so much, Jeneca, for sharing your blessings with the kids of PSAC!

We would also like to thank PSAC President Liza De Jesus and the entire volunteers that make up PSAC for their tireless acts of kindness and generosity towards less privileged families around their area.

If you are interested in celebrating your birthday the Pusong Pinoy way, please contact CTL Jay Martinez at tl.tinytony@ymail.com. Click HERE to see other Pusong Pinoy's birthday celebrations.

PUSONG PINOY'S DONATION TO PSAC'S DENTAL MISSION

Parish Social Action Committee (PSAC) in cooperation with Lipa Dental Society completed a free dental mission at San Vicente Ferrer Parish in Batangas. Pusong Pinoy is proud to be a part of this event by donating P5,000 towards the purchase of antibiotics. Thanks to an anonymous Pusong Pinoy Hero from California for making this donation possible!

Special thanks to PSAC's President, LIZA DE JESUS, and all the volunteers for making this event a success! You've really made a difference to the community!

PSAC is an organization whose mission is to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate in the Philippines, not only by helping them with their needs but also encouraging a positive outlook in life. PSAC had been a recipient of Pusong Pinoy the past year. Click HERE to read more about past PP projects with this organization.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A SPECIAL PUSONG PINOY'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION AT BBC

On September 17, 2010, Pinoy heroes CATHERINE CABE KOO and JUBELYN NEMENIO celebrated their birthdays with the special kids of Breaking Barriers for Children (BBC) located at Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City. Their birthdays was celebrated in conjunction with STAC 18 Grand Socialization, BBC's monthly socialization activity. The kids and their parents had so much fun with food and games. What a way to celebrate their special day!

Breaking Barriers for Children (BBC) Project is a joint initiative of the Katipunan ng Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas, Inc. (KAMPI) and the Danish Society of Polio and Accident victims (PTU). BBC provides free physical and social rehabilitation, stimulation activities, and pre-school training to poor children with disabilities ages 0 to 14 years old.

Thanks Cat and Jubelyn for bringing smiles to these children! Special thanks to ASTRID DE LA CERNA, for coordinating this event with PP, and most especially to the staff of BBC for making sure this event was a success.

Would you like to celebrate your birthday the Pusong Pinoy way? If so, please contact CTL Jay at tl.tinytony@ymail.com. Click HERE to see other Pusong Pinoy's birthday celebrations.