MAJOR ON-GOING PROJECTS
One of the hallmarks of the Rotary Club of Makati is continuity, the assurance that a meritorious project initiated by one president is adopted and carried out by the next. It is this trait that has allowed the club to undertake and maintain a procession of long-term projects that have stood the test of time.
Providing good nutrition for young children, especially those belonging to financially challenged families, has been a concern of the Rotary Club of Makati since RY 1972-1973 when, as Club president, PRID Paing Hechanova led in setting up feeding centers in all the “barrios” (now called “barangays”) in Makati. The program was carried on, through RY 1978-1979, during the term of PP Bill Beck, when the project was given the name, “Mothercraft Project,” because it was expanded to include the education of mothers on nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, health, family planning, and related issues.
Each year more than 8 million people (most of them in the developing world) are infected with tuberculosis, and about 3 million die, including about 100,000 children. A study done in 2007 ranked the Philippines fourth in the world for the number of cases of tuberculosis and tagged it as the country with the highest number of cases per head in Southeast Asia. The study said that almost two thirds of Filipinos had tuberculosis, and up to an additional five million people were infected yearly. It is a health problem that begs attention and the involvement of all sectors of society.
Medical care is costly, surgical intervention even more so. It can sometimes be prohibitive even for the moneyed, so one can imagine how heavy a burden it can be for the poor.
Fortunately for Filipinos, there are government health care facilities like the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) that are dedicated to making medical service accessible to indigent patients and non-government organizations like the Rotary Club of Makati (RCM) with help programs for the needy. On their own, PGH and RCM have achieved much, but their partnership has proved beneficial beyond words.
The Bantay Bata (Child Watch) Committee was created by Frank Chavez in RY 1997-1998 when PDG Sid Garcia was club president. Originally a tie-up with ABS-CBN Foundation and the Makati Social Welfare Department, it ran on a donation of P250,000 from Pagcor (solicited by Frank Chavez) and later evolved into an exclusive partnership between the Club and MSWD.
On its maiden year, the committee conducted a series of seminars on outreach techniques, counseling and values formation/promotion and sponsored a seminar on the provisions of the Anti Child Abuse Law for parents and children from two Makati barangays.
To own a house is a dream every family holds dear and works hard for. But to millions of Filipino families who live on the margins of society, that dream remains elusive, an aspiration that seems to recede farther into the background as a family grows.
Fortunately for many Filipino families, there are organizations that care to help turn the dream into reality and have crafted a program that makes that dream take concrete shape. Foremost of such organizations is the Gawad Kalinga Foundation, or simply GK. Since 1995, GK has been transforming slums from hotbeds of crime into model communities, by partnering with NGOs and corporations that share their ideals and believe in their mission.
The Teacher Training Program (TTP) was initiated by the late PP Ever Macatulad during his term in RY 1995-1996. His objective was to get the Club involved in the national effort at improving the quality of education in the public school system (where 90% of Filipino students are enrolled), to narrow the gap in learning and career opportunities between the graduates of public schools and those of top private schools, and somehow level the playing field for all graduates, regardless of the school they attended. A good way to improve the quality of education, it was thought, was to sharpen the instructional, content development, and classroom management skills of public school teachers in order to create a classroom environment conducive to learning.
The Rotary Club of Makati prides itself with its string of long-running projects that have, as the cliché goes, passed the test of time. It is “sustainability” tried and tested.
The most prominent among them is Books Across the Seas, or BATS, as we have come to call it. BATS fell in our lap, in a matter of speaking, when the United States Information Service (USIS), which was then running it, invited the Club to take over the project sometime in 1988. The project stood on its link with the Brother’s Brother Foundation (BBF), a Pittsburgh-based organization that supplies the books and other educational materials distributed to schools and libraries throughout the country.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” goes the Chinese proverb that is at the heart of the Heather Kinross Center for Livelihood Training and Entrepreneurial Development, Heather Kinross Center or HKC for short. The proverb was what inspired Rtn Tony Quila to put up the training center some thirteen years ago.
If you wear prescription eyeglasses, as most of us do, you know how it feels when you misplace them, even for just a few minutes. You feel disoriented, and soon your eyes and head begin to throb, and there’s precious little you can do. When you find them, and put them back on, the relief is beyond description. Whew!
Imagine how it is for a child in school who is visually deficient, or worse, virtually blind. S/he can’t see, let alone read, what’s on the blackboard, or on the flipcharts; can’t make out the characters on a book; can’t read the questions on a test paper—in short, can’t follow the lessons at all. How, then, can the child learn? How, indeed, in a situation like this, can any learning take place?