Organic gardening

Negros Island is a reference in terms of organic agriculture in the whole Philippines. Therefore the region holds the necessary know-how to transform the SDC's existing garden into an integrated organic learning and experimenting area.

Upon the recent partnership with CAPGEM, Capitol Government Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the team in charge of community development within CAPGEM has been supporting the SDC to set-up an organic garden within its premices. This garden represents the opportunity for the children cared at the SDC to grow their own fruits and vegetables, to be served directly at their table.

The local agriculturist, Mrs. Edna Garde, from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), has been promoting the benefits of organic agriculture for over 15 years. She is regularly sharing her knowledge and advice to the public through a local radio station. Mrs. Edna accepted with enthusiasm to get involved at the SDC on a weekly basis. Since October, she has been holding activities at the SDC every Thursday, with the objective of educating and raising awareness of the children on the importance of gardening to feed oneself on a daily basis while promoting the protection of the environment.

The following topics will be addressed with the young students throughout the sessions: how to enrich the soil with compost, preparation of plots and containers, concoction of natural fertilizers, effects of pesticides and chemicals, laying out of the gardening area, solid waste management, etc.
All the participants have showed great interest from the very beginning of this activity and they are now used to take care of the garden everyday. The first outcomes are very promising: eggplants, squash, and chinese cabbage are growing fast thanks to the suitable local climate.

The initial part of this training intends to provide the children with actual gardening skills, which might help them to find a job when they return to the community. In the Philippines, there are indeed over 30% of agriculturists. Mrs. Edna also wishes to maintain her support throughout the year in order to share the love of the earth and healthy food with as many underpriviledged children as possible. With all these fruits and vegetables to be prepared, the SDC's cook and his young assistants won't be out of work in 2013!


'Hugpong', united volunteers of the Philippines

The Masskara Festival, held every October in Bacolod City, was the opportunity this year to gather volunteers organizations from Bacolod City and the whole provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental, to organize a collective communication campaign during this nationwide famous festival. The following organizations decided to join the project: Ikaw-Ako (Japan), Peace Corps Volunteers (United States), AYAD (Australia), OISCA (Japan), JICA (Japan), Warriors for Peace (Philippines), Greenheart Hermitage (Philippines), LEAD Volunteer (Philippines), Virlanie Foundation (Philippines/France) and HOST-NGO (France). Thanks to the support of LEAD Volunteer, the newly formed group, named Hugpong (meaning unity and gathering in local dialect), was authorized to set-up a booth on two of the main event locations.

The first gathering of Hugpong was held on Friday, 12th of October, by a bunch of volunteers wearing common shirts and badges to emphasize on their unity. The strategy of this first location was to show various products and items generated by the organizations via livelihood programs: kamote chips, wallet and bags made of recycled plastic, silk purses, organic coffee, macrame bracelets and belts made by the kids at the SDC, etc. A collection of clothing was also organized to especially benefit the street children passing through the SDC. The volunteers presented their activities and projects via a slideshow presentation and numerous chats with the interested visitors. The afternoon was followed by the festive night events happening all over the city, yet another opportunity to meet the locals.

Upon that first successful meeting, Hugpong gathered for the last and most important week-end of the festival on Lacson street, where the booth was set-up for two nights. The street parade, 'Electric Masskara', organized by the gallery Orange, was one of the vibrant highlights. The crowd was intense and everyone was responding well to the music and street dancing. Hugpong had a few special visitors that week-end: a journalist and a cameraman from GMA Network, a local TV channel, who interviewed the group members. In addition, Hugpong appeared on a morning program of another local TV channel, ABS-CBN. The communication campaign was really successful!

As a good conclusion to this busy and relevant event, a member of Green Hermitage proposed to every Hugpong member to display their products and items in the gallery-coffee shop, Ikon-Café, located downtown. All non-profit organizations were very greatful of this opportunity to generate additional incomes to sustain their activity in the Philippines.

Hugpong project was born:
because we all wish to be actively involved into community life;
because we all believe that building a fair and united world is possible;
because our diversity makes us stronger;
and because unity is the key to sustainability.

Hugpong's objectives are to raise awareness among all members of the society on the collective approach and promote volunteering in Bacolod City and all over the Philippines. You'll always be welcomed to join our action!


SDC's Family Day

On Saturday, 22nd of September was organized the very special Family Day, an event gathering all the families and friends of the children catered at the SDC for a festive and playful reunion. Every child and member of the team was very excited and nervous to see how the day will turn out. It was actually very successful as 26 families came to the SDC to support the children during that difficult period of detention.

The volunteers from Lifegate involved themselves and organized the first games, dance and music performances in the morning, with the participation of every child, family and staff member of the SDC. Lunch was a collective sharing from families and from the City with a whole assortment of local specialties: chicken and porc adobo, valenciana, bihon, afritada, etc. In the afternoon, Mrs Gina  F. Castro, Center Head of the SDC, introduced the art creations made by the children during the art therapy sessions held by Pastor Arthur Bayles, a local artist from Bacolod City involved at the SDC. The emotion was high among the families as the art topic focused on the children's life, dreams and family.
This discussion was followed by a movie about the relationship between parents and children. Afterward, the 'FUN' took over the SDC with the organization of basket-ball and collective games, which everyone took part of in a happy atmosphere: children and their families, university interns from UNO-R, SDC's team members, volunteers from Virlanie-Bacolod and Peace Corps, members from Lifegate Congregation, etc. The snack (locally called “merienda”) was offered by HOST-NGO to be shared with all the participants. The celebration ended with a “karaoke party”, which was the opportunity for the children to sing and dance with their friends until the night came along.

Life at SDC can be pretty hard as most of the children bring along their issues and difficult background. However this type of event helps them to share moments of pure youthful joy and leaves a warm feeling of love in their heart.

Support program for vulnerable children and families in Bacolod City

The objective is to design and implement a development program supporting the disadvantaged members of the community of Bacolod City, Philippines. This approach is based on the observation of best practices identified in various projects implemented in Southeast Asia and in the rest of the world. The program aims at providing rehabilitation opportunities to isolated children and families in order to facilitate their successful integration into the local community. This includes dealing with social inclusion, socioeconomic development, public health, sustainable production and consumption, as well as green technologies.