Words By: Kiana Palacios
What does love mean for you?
Is love just showing appreciation to the people close to your heart? Or does it also go to people you don’t know? Love exceeds the people we know and it can go a long way in changing the world we live in today.
This is exactly what these ten non-government organization founders and volunteers keep in mind when they do what they do. Doing things alone can only go so far, but together, they believe that they can make a difference.
Reymond De Jesus
Volunteer, ATD Philippines
ATD Fourth World Philippines is a poverty alleviation foundation that aims to respond to the needs of the Filipino community, especially those who need the most. Some of their well-known projects include street libraries, and various forums and workshops focused on livelihood formation.
Photo from: ATD Fourth World website
With ATD, the volunteers, like Mr. Reymond, are able to help children gain access to education. In his time volunteering with ATD, he grew exposed to the situation of these children, how some do not even know how basic reading and writing. He used this as his motivation and says that hearing stories whenever they come back to the communities of children being able to read in Tagalog already and now wanting to learn English is what inspires him to keep going.
Photo from: ATD Fourth World website
Silver Michelle Baena Ciriacruz
Advocate and Active Volunteer for Various Non-Profit Organizations
Ms. Silver concerns herself with various organizations that focus on different advocacies, such as animal welfare, poverty alleviation, eco-waste management, and reading appreciation. It all started with her desire to create a difference in this world. She’s known that by herself, she can only do so much. But imagine having a bigger group of individuals all with the same desire to help and to make a change in this world, that would make such a greater and stronger impact. Even by just contributing one hour a month, you are able to make a difference and change someone’s life forever.
Co-Founder and Executive Director, iVolunteer
Coming from an IT background, Mr. JB and his co-founders decided to create iVolunteer, which is an online platform that connects individuals to volunteering opportunities. In this day and age, volunteering is seen as a task for the rich, for the retired, for the young, and the stereotype just builds on. With this website, they aim to change and break that mindset through properly educating people on what true volunteerism is and encourage them to help out. They believe that this change is one that can be made possible now, and need not to wait for something to happen in the future.
Photo from: iVolunteer website
Animal Welfare Advocate
Ms. Thea’s story starts with Kimchi, a dog that was abandoned and then rescued by CARA back in 2012. They thought that if a dog like this was able to be disregarded so easily, what more the other animals in the country. This is where their vision and drive to continue raising awareness about responsible animal ownership and adoption stems from. They go around schools and companies to teach potential pet owners and for animal-assisted therapy.
Volunteer and Creative Director of Teatro Balagtas
Theater and performing arts goes more than just pure entertainment. The volunteers of Teatro Balagtas prove this as all their performances focus on giving plight to social issues. They make sure that not only are they able to entertain, but they’re also able to educate and motivate their audience to make a change with every issue they tackle in their work. This was one of the many things that motivated Mr. Jessie to join Teatro Balagtas. For him, theater is more than just a complex art form, but with Teatro Balagtas, it’s one that opens not only the mind, but the heart as well.
Lee Ann Canals
Environment Welfare Advocate and a Volunteer in saving Ipo Watershed
Ipo Watershed is responsible for 98% of Metro Manila’s water needs but with the continuous mistreatment of the environment, it has become more and more polluted, and well, pretty much close to death. Luckily, there are people like Ms. Lee Ann, who concerns herself with reforestation activities and efforts to save the watershed. Together with other volunteers, the seeds Ms. Lee Ann cultivates get planted in Mt. Balagbag and around Ipo Watershed, in an attempt to slowly clean out the water and make it as lively and healthy as it once was.
Founder of Samahang Sining at Kultura ng Pilipinas (SSKPil)
With Filipino pride in his blood, Mr. Tony created SSKPil, which is a non-governmental policy-making body for art and cultural societies in the Philippines. He says that one of the many things that drove him to create this organization is the love for his nation, culture and the Philippines as a whole. They have one mission, one that is to form a society centered on the environment along with one that values its history, all with the presence of the arts and culture. It is with this very mindset that led Mr. Tony to stay in the Philippines despite all his siblings moving abroad, he proudly says, that he has remained Filipino up to this very day and hopes to do so, until the day of his passing comes.
Sixto Carlos, Jr.
Head of Lakbay Kamalaysayan, Member of SSKPil
Lakbay Kamalaysayan is a walking tour of the historical sights of Pandacan and is now being headed by Mr. Sixto. Through this tour, he, along with the other volunteer tour guides, aim to educate individuals about the historical and cultural significance of the places they visit, as well as the history of our country. It started with Mr. Sixto bringing around a few foreign locals and now, they offer tours to anyone who wish to participate or just those who wish to gain more insight about the history of Pandacan and our country.
Hope Esquillo Tura
Children’s Rights Advocate
There are many ways to help children, small acts of kindness that can show our concern for them. Children are often times the most vulnerable especially when put against adults. Ms. Hope believes that because more often than not, they are exposed to actions that may not always be in their best interest. With that being said, it is important for us to find way to help them, even if these are things like gaining awareness about it. It are these little and baby steps that can potentially save the world and pave a better future for these children.
President, Winner Foundation
Winner Foundation started Arroceros Forest Park, a riverside park located in the district of Ermita. Over the years, local governments have gained interest into creating buildings and structures within the vicinity of the forest, to cut down the trees and make them skyscrapers instead. And over those years, Ms. Chiqui, along with her foundation, has made it their obligation and responsibility to stand by this forest, restoring it and cultivating it back to the original beauty it once was, and continuously stands for today.
Photo by Paolo Alacazaren
A small act of taking a little time out of your schedule can go a long way. It’s never too late to start and try something new. Never volunteered before? Now’s your chance! Only then, can we start to make a difference. Choose to spread love the right way.
Have any stories you would like to share about volunteering and helping out? Let us know in the comments below!
Watch this video for more of their stories: