Good deeds in our midst

Herminia Pineda is a former scavenger who daily went through heaps of garbage at the Calajunan dumpsite in Mandurriao so she could sell these and use her income to take care of her family.
But her life improved when she became a Gawad Kalinga home beneficiary in year 2006.
Then came Smart Communications and PLDT who made their GK village in Sooc, Mandurriao a beneficiary of their corporate social responsibility projects.
“Smart and PLDT sponsored our training in sewing at the Western Visayas College of State Technology. Then, for two years, we made uniforms. Then in March of 2009, Smart-PLDT sent us to a seminar on making recycled materials. That’s when we started making bags out of the company’s used tarpaulins. The company orders from us,” Pineda said.
The designs were simple, until they became more creative, prompting more people to patronize their products like bags and pouches.
International lifestyle designer, PJ Aranador, an Ilonggo, taps the team to create his Nautilus collection of bags and pouches. He then displays these in Wawa Restaurant and Nautilus Spa in Iloilo as well as in Boracay Island.
“This has helped our family. We were able to give our children education. Now, the livelihood program is called Sooc Ventures. It is bigger, it has a manager, a bookkeeper, a tarp head and more,” she said.
Pineda is the tarp head for livelihood and Mabuhay Team for Kapitbahayan in Sooc.
Marilyn Platon,  tarp manager of Sooc Ventures said the officers and members attended business planning seminars as their projects has spread all over Asia.
“In Singapore, we won the First Asian Communications Award,” she said.
Now, what used to be beneficiaries of Smart’s good deeds are paying it forward by providing help in their community.
“We are now helping GK workers have their own wielding shop. We provide school allowance to 35 youths who in their free time, help in sewing. We help mothers put up sari-sari stores. We teach children terracotta making. We put up Masaligan Services, a pool of skilled workers who want to work, such as nannies. We plan to spread out our tarpaulin bags project to other areas in Sooc,” she said.
Meanwhile, Maybelle Miraflores from the Uswag Calajunan Livelihood Association, is a member of a group of women creating arts and crafts made from recyclable materials.
“We gather juice tetra packs from cemeteries and sew them into bags and laptop cases. We also turn used paper into paper beads and make them into necklaces and bracelets,” she said.
“We are asking for help from the public if you can provide us with your extra posters so we can use them as paper beads,” she appealed.
She credited the City Government and Smart-PLDT for their support.
Another person worthy to emulate is Rogen Esmana, a former “tambay” who decided to turn unused tires into furniture.
This resident of Brgy. Cagbang, Oton, Iloilo hired other unemployed males and together they bought tires from companies, got some from the port and every week, produce three sala sets.
“Each set costs P3,500,” he said.
He also assured buyers that the chairs can accommodate a 200-pound person.
His team also sells the sets in Capiz and Kalibo.
Meanwhile, batchmates in BS in Public Health at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas through a grant from Unilab, solved the malnutrition problem of Brgy. La Paz in Guimaras.
Maugri Grace Kristi Laluma of the Kabataang Katipuneros Team, said that the barangay ranked first in the malnutrition survey conducted in the province. But through their education drive on proper nutrition, hygiene and sanitation practices and the introduction of powdered vegetables,  the barangay ranked 20th.
She said the program created a positive change within the community members and their attitude towards proper hygiene and nutrition.
These are just among the many good deeds being done in our midst.
These speakers shared their experiences during the launching of Smart’s payITfwd project that aims to spread good deeds through technology.
Through payITfwd, Smart is looking for individuals or groups that are doing community-based projects that expand knowledge.
Entries must be submitted in a video format showing an overview of the projects, the impact to the recipient communities, and how technology has enabled the projects to spread their benefits.
Smart will give five tablets, Smart Bro load worth P3,000, Smart Bro Pocket Wi-Fi and cash prize of P50,000 to the 20 teams with the best projects this year.
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