Last December 6, 2019 Frank Ganis of CBF print visited Tondo, Manila in partnership with UpSkills Foundation. UpSkills Foundation has been helping the slum area in Tondo, Manila by organizing livelihood programs, scholarship programs and by giving out food and other needs to the families. The houses that the family is living are like the size of a
bathroom, living in the area is complicated and unimaginable.
With Pam, a social worker, we got in to the community and strolled around. This is the workshop or livelihood program for women. They gather here to make bags, Christmas ornaments and other crafts that can be made using recycled materials collected from trash around the area and from the landfill near their residence. Mostly mothers join this program to help feed the family. These products will be sold and will be a big help for their living.
There is a men’s shed wherein they make school shoes, flip flops and sandals out of old aircraft tires and a bit of leather. There is also a health unit room where a volunteer doctor comes to visit once a week. He checks the people and prescribe or give medicine
depending on the availability. For other concerns like x-ray, scans and other lab test the foundation pays for what they can cover.
There is an old school which is now a Church hall. Today there are 500 hundred students from the area that are going to five public schools around the area. This is a sorting area for all the plastics and other trash that can be recycled. There is also a sorting area for all
the food scraps from the fast food chains. The scraps are sorted and repackage to give to people and recook it in their homes to feed their family.
There is also an office for the health workers, teachers and social workers. In that office there is a desktop they are using for work but there are times that they have to lend their computers to some students. Like this girl who is using their desktop to comply to her
school work. The good thing is you see how a child like this girl is making a way to stand out and giving her best for education she wants to attain.
This whole event and experience is an eye opener, seeing how these people can still have hope and live this way. There’s still a smile on their faces showing that happiness is always a choice no matter how life strikes them. Everyone in Australia, should kiss the
ground as I have never seen anything like this. I realised how lucky we are to be living the life we have and appreciate what is given to us. We may be struggling in different ways but these people are struggling more than we have.
CBF printing is always and will be willing to help in our little ways to give back. May we all have a helping heart and be thankful for everything we have. Let us strive harder to be able to give and help others.