The Arroyo administration spends scores of billions on poverty alleviation programs, only a portion of which directly benefit the poorest of the poor—who are the children of poor families and children with no families at all.
Without the charitable work of private organizations and churches, however, the incidence of hunger and extreme poverty would be a much higher figure.
Not counting the Catholic parishes and Protestant churches that are generously helping provide for the poor in their territories, there are easily a thousand private organizations—besides Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Jaycees—that have their distinct help-the-poor programs. At the same time, these organizations collaborate with or give funds to renowned philanthropic institutions, like Caritas.
Business corporations also fund charity projects.
Three of the more interesting and successful charity programs are Pondo ng Pinoy and its specific feeding program, Hapag-asa, the Salesians of Don Bosco’s Pugad Home for Street Children program and the Laura Vicuña Foundation’s annual “Parti-han” for 1,500 and more street children at the Museo Pambata.
Hapag-asa Integrated Nutrition Program
By Juliena Reyes
In 2005 to 2006, a grand total of 76,030 kids were served in these first years of the program. Under Pondo ng Pinoy dioceses, 14,852 children were served; in other dioceses, 15,798 kids were served; under NGO partners 16,623 kids were served; and under local government partners 28,757 kids were served.
For 2007, as of this (December 15), a total of 147,763 children have been enrolled in the program since January. This is 123 percent of the yearly target of 120,000 kids to be served.
Under Pondo ng Pinoy dioceses, a total of 10,479 kids were enrolled for 2007 from 12 dioceses (involving 139 parishes). There were 3.090 kids who graduated in 2007 (they completed their six-month feeding program. Feeding is going on for 7,389 children.
In 2007, for other dioceses (not under Pondo ng Pinoy), a total of 4,785 kids are enrolled and still going on with their feeding program. Involved are 103 parishes NGO partners in 2007: a total of 67,691 kids enrolled from 97 barangays/schools, 7,461 kids graduated and feeding program for 60,230 kids ongoing.
LGU partners (mostly with DepEd), in 2007 a total of 64,808 kids are enrolled and still ongoing with the feeding program. These are from 108 schools.
The parents of these children, usually the mothers, are encouraged to be involved in the daily program activities together with the volunteers.
From 2005 to 2007, there have been a total of 2,920 volunteers who were trained in implementing the program. These are parishioners, teachers, nurses and laypersons.
These volunteers are training new batches of volunteers.
Besides the supplemental feeding activities of the program, this year focused on helping the mothers have income-generating opportunities, as part of the livelihood program under the education component of Pondo ng Pinoy/Hapag-asa.
Some of the skills training held for the mothers include Tesda’s training on meat processing and soap making.
In line with this, DSWD-NCR’s SEAK (Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran), a capability-building project to enhance socioeconomic skills of poor families for entrepreneurial development through organized groups, fits together with what the Hapag-asa beneficiaries are looking for.
This church-based partnership is a first for DSWD-NCR, piloting in 3 parishes under 2 Pondo ng Pinoy dioceses (Cubao and Novaliches) who were given capital-loan grants after undergoing the requirements and registrations.
Some of the major events for this year:
Hapag-Asa Caravan—an event where Pondo ng Pinoy implementing dioceses came together to increase awareness on the program as well as to raise funds.
Fast-Feed envelopes—donation envelopes distributed in parishes during Lent giving a call to “Fast” in order to “Feed” a hungry child by donating the money intended for a snack (such as one value meal).
• TV Masses on Channel 4 and Channel 5
• Featured in TV Patrol World’s “Gabay Kapamilya” segment hosted by Karen Davila last January 3.
• 2007 Christmas Gift-giving party- by the LRP Foundation, Inc. held this year for the Hapag-asa beneficiaries in the diocese of Pasig. Even the volunteers were given gifts at this event.
• 2nd day of Misa De Gallo (December 17)—a Pastoral letter will be read during Mass in support of the program. With this, Hapag-asa envelopes with flyers inside will be distributed.
All collections will be for the benefit of the growing number of malnourished children being fed through the Hapag-asa program.
The Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, headed by Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales of Manila with 12 other diocesan bishops, launched the HAPAG-ASA, an Integrated Nutriti
on Program for the poor and malnourished children. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) study 3 out of 10 children, aged 0 to 5 years, are suffering from chronic malnutrition and are underweight, under height and stunted in growth.
The Hapag-Asa Program is the flagship program of Pondo ng Pinoy. It is a medically supervised nutrition program that aims to alleviate extreme hunger among poor Filipino children and to improve their overall health condition. It has two major components: supplemental feeding program and education classes with topics on Spiritual/Values formation, Health and Nutrition, Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods, and livelihood/skills training.
Under this program, each malnourished child is fed with Vitameal, a scientifically prepared lentil-rice mix, power packed with carbohydrates, protein, fats and 25 vitamins and minerals, to be mixed with local ingredients (rice, chicken, potatoes, etc.) to make each meal appealing and palatable.
Children who are between 6 months and 12 years old (considered as the critical stages of development) and are suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition are eligible for enrollment in the program. A batch of enrolled children will be fed once a day, five days a week for six months. Vitameal-enriched meals come in the form of viand and rice or heavy snacks (like soup or spaghetti) served on designated feeding sites.
For the parents, an education program in the form of classes/seminars is simultaneously implemented. These classes provide the parents basic knowledge and skills that will improve their capabilities and expand their opportunities (e.g. income-generation) thus improving the quality of their lives and ensuring the continuity of the well being of their children after completing the 6-month feeding program.
Don Bosco Pugad
By Rizza Jane Francisco
This is the Salesians’ project to give a home, Christian formation and vocational education to street children and migrant youth (young men from the provinces).
Besides the Pugad in Makati, the Salesians have similar projects in other venues.
Since Pugad began in 2001 (superceding Tuloy Foundation’s work which started in the early 90s), 1,800 street children and their families and 321 migrant youth have benefited from the program.
All graduates, some of whom have found jobs abroad, say what Mark Jayson, 18, a migrant youth from Negros Occidental, says: “I learned that poverty is not a barrier to success, If you really want to progress, there is a way.”
Before being admitted to the other programs of Don Bosco Pugad, the youths have to undergo an adaptation Program to help them adjust to living with other boys in the center. They are taught how to live by a set of rules and to follow routines in a safe, secure and loving environment.
Pugad serves as a 24-hour temporary residential facility for children aged 11 to 16 years old who are rescued from the streets. These are boys who are lost neglected, abandoned orphaned, physically abused, victims of child abuse, or children in conflict with the law.
Pugad helps them transfer to a government or private facility best suited to meet their special needs.
Community Based Extension Program
Pugad reaches out to the children of urban poor families by supporting their elementary to high-school education. Most of the beneficiaries of this program are the street children who have been reunited with their families.