iVolunteer and Project Pearls – 2017, December 22
Last year was.. let’s just say, one of the more colorful chapter of my life. Though my wife and I decided to separate early that year, it gave way to opportunites and some time for me to re-assess what I want to do with this life. It got me time to go back writing. It also gave way for me to get back travelling and backpacking to places here and abroad.
When the month of December started, the Christmas spirit seemed to have got into me since instead of travelling again, I decided to look up volunteer work. Guess it’s the time to do something that’s not just for myself. I used to do volunteer work years back before I got married and help when I can.
A tale of the Cigarette Vendor
The most memorable was when we helped out an old cigarette vendor outside our office who takes care of his disabled wife. Their relatives along with their kids seemed to have forgotten about them, worse, some patrols took what’s little left of the cigarette he was selling. My batchmates and I started to chip in and once the news got around the office, we were able to get the cigarette vendor not just replenish what he was selling, we were also able to get them sacks of rice and groceries and delivered it to their home where we saw his old wife that was unable to get up and stand.
A few years after I started in UP-Diliman, I got in trouble with my Dad and decided to live on my own. The first months was unimaginable as I roamed the streets of Katipunan looking for food, sleeping on the streets and under the flyover at the intersection of Aurora. Fortunately, I was able to get a part-time job as tutor in a Language institure. I come in really early to use their CR and shower in the morning. My collegues used to think I always eat nice outside during lunch. I was actually eating a piece of bread each time I got hungry. I didn’t want them to pity or think less of me so I continued till I was able to get myself abbedspace. I worked several different part-time jobs while getting a few classes. Being treated badly or mocked was just a regular day.
It took some time and a lot of preseverance and hard work but things got better eventually. I often remind myself of how I started. Those experiences keep my feet on the ground and how we should treat other people right. People may be born or placed in poverty by circumstances but they are still human beings. With a helping hand and opportunities, you never know how far that person or community can prosper.
While searching for volunteer work, I got to the page of iVolunteer Philippines. A Volunteer group that created a site that connects volunteers to different volunteer work. Aside from they promote volunteerism, they help organizations get the volunteers needed. The volunteers are also able to choose from a range of organizations and events we can join and help.
In their website, volunteers can easily choose from the Volunteer opportunites or events that have been arranged and presented in a very clear way. Each event has the specific date, time, location and organizaton sponsoring it. Clicking on the event that you selcted would provide you the in-depth details of the volunteer work. Contact person of those events are also included in it. You can let them know that you would like to join an event by clicking on the green box – Volunteer. All you need to do now is just show up!
The volunteer opportunity that I joined was the one with Project Pearls. Their mission – “.. to help the poorest of the poor children in the Philippines have a better life through our various outreach programs. We are hoping we can give them: Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love, Smiles. ” Aside from providing scholarships and outreach programs, they also provide after school programs, soup kitchen or feeding programs, activities for kids, and celebrations. They are very passionate on providing communities not just assistance but oppportunities and events to better their lives.
Christmas Party for 1,500+ Kinds in Tondo, Manila
Project Pearls was going to hold a Christmas party for more than 1,500+ kids to some of the poorest communities in Tondo, Manila. That’s a lot and probably the reason why I chose to volunteer with them even if the place is really far from me. I arrived before 7am, the call time, and you can see a long line of excited kids already at the gate. We started off with a few introductions and started to clear the stadium of chairs. We were grouped into teams of 2 or 3 that would be assisiting about 50 kids each. I got teamed up with Hannah (German) and Harris (American), foreigners who are also passionate volunteers, and we became Team 2.
The kids came inside in lines and found their teams. When the kids for our team got to us, I started to go around and talk to each of them so I can tag their arm bands with their age bracket to easily facilitate the distribution of their gifts. The party started with some introductions and shows. There were singing, dancing and even magic tricks. Soon after, we assited them and provided them with they breakfast. More shows and activities ensued after eating until we reached the presenting of gifts. Each of them got gifts before they went out of the stadium.
You can see how much the children have looked forward to this on how their eyes sparkles with joy and laughter. I doubt any of the volunteers felt tired or exhausted taking care of them. It was a truly meaningful way to share and devote time to these kids.
If any of you also have some free time, please do help, reach out and volunteer.
You can find iVolunteer and Project Pearls below:
iVolunteer FB: https: https://facebook.com/ivolunteerphils
iVolunteer Website: https://ivolunteer.com.ph
Project Pearls FB: https://facebook.com/ProjectPEARLS1/
Project Pearls Website: http://www.projectpearls.org
We thank iVounteer Philippines and Project Pearls for allowing us to participate and volunteer. For organzing and reaching out to these communities, we hope that you continue this noble passion. What you are doing here is really amazing!