VP Leni visited Helping Land, Tondo to personally see the community, and to know firsthand the needs of the residents.
In August 2016, Vice President Leni Robredo visited the relocation village of St. Martha Subdivision in Brgy. Batia, Bocaue, Bulacan. In this event, the residents had the chance to voice out the challenges in the community. Lack of employment opportunities, absence of health care clinics, and problem with water facilities are among the top concerns of the locals. Four months later, when Project PEARLS paid a courtesy visit in the Office of the Vice President, one of the first things that she told us was, “Good news, maaayos na ang tubig sa Brgy. Batia.” (“Good news, the water problem in Brgy. Batia will be fixed soon.”) We did not expect her to solve this problem right away, but she made it one of her priorities.
Project PEARLS paid a courtesy visit in the Office of the Vice President last December 21, 2016.
During the visit in Brgy. Batia, Project PEARLS also had the honor to welcome VP Leni in our Learning Center. She was warmly received by our Nursery scholars and LitMoms. Aside from showcasing the scholars’ talent and Moms’ livelihood projects, we also showed VP Leni some photos of Helping Land, Tondo. The pictures of children smiling in a place where poverty is too obvious in every corner probably had a strong impact on her. She promised us that she will also visit Helping Land to see firsthand the challenges in the community. We were excited for this but at the same time, we did not have high hopes that it will actually happen. Yet, it happened today – January 12, 2017.
VP Leni in Helping Land
Together with Brgy. 105 Council, led by Chairwoman Elenita Reyes, Project PEARLS welcomed VP Leni in Helping Land, Tondo. Helping Land is located between Happy Land and Aroma, and is part of the so-called “Temporary Housing” in Tondo, Manila. It was supposed to be the temporary relocation of the families from Smokey Mountain which was closed in mid-1990s, thus the name “Temporary Housing.” But twenty years later, the temporary became permanent – permanent poverty and permanent dilapidated buildings. Most of the families rely on scavenging from garbage as their livelihood. Chairwoman Reyes also told VP Leni that the residents are burdened with an expensive water source.
Brgy. 105 Chairwoman Elenita Reyes leads VP Leni to the community of Helping Land, Tondo.
The program proper was held at the Project PEARLS courtyard. The program started with a welcome message by Chairwoman Reyes. After that, VP Leni was introduced to the mothers of the infants who are part of the Project PEARLS’ Feeding Program. We also discussed the other programs of Project PEARLS such as Scholarship, LitClub, and Health Clinic.
VP Leni gives a message to the residents of Helping Land. (photo courtesy of the Office of the Vice President)
Walking around the community and interacting with the residents have shown VP Leni the urgent concerns that need to be addressed. Among these are: new housing facilities, concrete pathways, cheaper water source, and stronger nutrition program for the children. These goals will not be achieved without the collective effort of the local and national government, and the NGOs working in the community. Project PEARLS will be closely working with the government to deliver better services for the children in poverty.
VP Leni talks to a Mother in one of the buildings in Temporary Housing.
VP Leni was overwhelmed to personally see the evident poverty in the community. But more than that, she was surprised to see the warm smiles and hospitality from the residents. Their resilience and optimism were enough to inspire her to start the massive work ahead.
VP Leni and Chairwoman Elenita Reyes with the volunteers of Project PEARLS, and representatives of Young Focus, another NGO working in Tondo, Manila.
It’s only the second week of 2017, but we know – we are claiming it – that great things are about to happen! Together, let’s change the world – one child at a time!