Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gawad Kalinga Build - GK Tribu in Batasan, Q.C.

The company that I work for donated three homes for the poor last Christmas, through the Gawad Kalinga foundation. Gawad Kalinga is a non-profit organization that helps the less fortunate create communities by providing homes, livelihood seminars, spiritual guidance and bayanihan. Their main thrust is to build communities to eradicate poverty.

The land usually is donated to squatter communities by the government to the poor. Gawad Kalinga helps organize these lands into neater and more easthetically pleasing communities (with drainage, plumbing and sewage system). The objective is to provide a nurturing, sanitary, organized and safe comminity for the people that will inhabit them. The homes themselves are donated by corporations and individuals. For just P85,000 (US$1,800) per house, you can provide one family with a home that they can be proud ,of. The homes are sturdily built, with a clean, tiled bathroom and kitchen. The communities are masterplanned by the volunteers at Gawad Kalinga.

What I like about Gawad Kalinga is that they promote "bayanihan". It's an old Filipino tradition that mean's helping your community. Usually, neighbors work together to help build your home, build parks and such. In the olden days, when you need to move house, literally, the bahay kubos (local huts made of bamboo and nipa) are heaved and carried in the men's shoulders for transfer.

Gawad Kalinga helps to promote bayanihan through what they call, "sweat equity". If you are one of the families awarded by the government with land (usually the communal land is awarded through the efforts of Gawad Kalinga and the local government), you are required to help build your home by providing manual labor, hence, "sweat equity". If you provide equity of so many hours, the house is awarded to your family. The idea being to promote pride, sense of community and unity among the communities' residents.

For donors like the company that I work for, aside from the cash donation to buy materials, we are also encouraged to meet the community by helping them build their homes through manual labor. The communities do really need all the help that they can get, demolishing old homes, moving debris, digging holes for the foundation, laying bricks, mixing cement and such. This way, not only will you help the comminities, you will also foster team building with your peers.

The "squatters" are no more. I like that. I applaud the efforts of Gawad Kalinga for providing a safe and sanitary haven for these families and for giving them a sense of pride for homes that they can be proud to call their own.

Go help. It will be worth it, I promise.

1 comment:

Socky said...

Sorry I missed being part of the sweat team this year. Am so proud of PC&V! Let's keep this going.