Monday, January 14, 2008

Gawad Kalinga

Most Filipinos continue to hope in their hearts for genuine conversion that will lift the overwhelming majority from dehumanizing poverty. Most Filipinos are willing to work and sacrifice for revolutionary reform even if it means sowing the seeds of change today for results that will be realized past our lifetime.

Gawad Kalinga is 7 years old. It is a movement that strives mightily to provide decent housing for squatters. Forget for a moment that 70% of Filipinos are landless and despite the phenomenal good press that GK has been receiving, the people behind GK will be the first to admit that the surface of the massive problem is hardly being scratched. I want you to momentarily forget these realities because I want you to be convinced that it is very possible for our country to be transformed within a short period of time. It can happen and it can happen quickly.

The movement began in a squatter colony (curiously named Bagong Silang or newborn) of a million people. Crime, hunger, disease and hopelessness reigned. A few well-meaning people thought that if you slightly improved the horrible living conditions of these unfortunate persons by painting their shacks and planting some shrubs, you would be restoring a portion of their humanity and cause them to live less like animals whose overriding instinct is to survive and more like productive individuals concerned about the future.

The experiment worked because the hypothesis, which was not exactly original or cutting-edge science was simple and sound. Treat your fellow person like you would treat your neighbor, with dignity and respect and they begin behaving like humans once again.

I saw how children who live in the notorious “Smoky Mountain”, dumpsite to the waste products of 5 million people, were able to participate in a fairly complex dance routine that was choreographed by artists from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I heard children from the rough neighborhood of Tatalon sing a native version of “Birdland”, a cappella. Listen to these kids, watch them dance and you will know that it is possible.

If you are searching for a way to help our country, check out Gawad Kalinga

2 comments:

Marian said...

Well and good that you finally realize the importance of GK. An important part of the expansion plan of GK needs to include the OFW. If our govt can't help us, we have to help ourselves.

ryan said...

Yes even the poor have something to smile about. When the wealthy have a party or a celebration it is just another party. But when the poor have a celebration it is memory they will have forever.