Monday, August 22, 2005

"No more slums. No more violence. No more poverty."

I went to a school reunion this month and of course there were the requisite OMGs and meetings with long lost schoolmates, classmates, and former teachers! The school was originally called Assumption Convent [now College] which then came as no surprise that attendees were 99% female! :) I'll have to give kudos to the Assumption Alumnae Association (AAA) for keeping in touch with their graduates who are now spread world-wide!

I enjoyed myself so much and a BIG thank you to the AAA Chapter of Southern California who organized this year's triennial reunion. Hmmm, I even had the chutzpah to ask the Bishop to dance, alas he turned me down. LOL I blame the vodka 0;-) [Tidbit, the Bishop was the first Filipino-American Bishop here in the US.]

Anyway, what's the relation of this post' title with the reunion? Well, during the day we had motivational and inspirational presentations that were both enlightening and thought-provoking (having grown up in the school there is no surprise there, after all the school is run by nuns!).

One of the presentations was on what I consider revolutionary charitable work. It is called "Gawad Kalinga" whose motto is this post' title. [Incidentally, alma mater's motto is Noblesse Obligé.]

A copied paragraph from the website states that "Gawad Kalinga (GK) , translated in English means “to give care,” and it is an alternative solution to the blatant problem of poverty not just in the Philippines but the world. Its approach is integrated, holistic and sustainable – a concrete action plan to rebuild this nation by harnessing the best of the Filipino – our faith and our patriotism..."

Very impressive, very admirable, very much needed... BUT (here comes the qualifier), those who have lived in the tropics know how much the heat, the humidity, the typhoons, and practically the environment hastens the deterioration of infrastructure. Sad to say shoddy quality of most (not all) of these infrastructure are the norm.

The maintenance of these houses require resources, read: money. These poor people are simply living day-to-day on a hand-to-mouth survival mode. Spending money on house paints is last on their list. I will be the first to admit I know very little of Gawad Kalinga aside from what was shown on the presentation and their website.

I would argue that the key to "No more slums. No more violence. No more poverty." is jobs, jobs, jobs! Not just any minimum wage jobs either but jobs with livable wages. [Let's be realistic, even the USA still has some slums, well ok, trashy trailer parks and ghettos, violence - can't argue there - and poverty.]

I am not against this very noble and admirable charitable work, I simply have reservations. I know, I know, ignorance (mine) plays a major role in this reservation. I will research and pester a whole lot of people to know more about this "Gawad Kalinga" and once I am convinced, knowing myself, I will most probably become an ardent and passionate supporter! I know I should anyway... guilt working big time here.... boy, those nuns sure did a good number on this psyche!