The FCJ sisters in the Manila community want to thank all the benefactors who make their outreach work possible. Here is their letter of thanks for the donations received at the FCJ Learning and Development Centre and for the scholars. Their work has been amazing in spite of the extra challenges caused by the COVID-19 restrictions.
Who would have thought that at the end of 2021 we would all still be experiencing the COVID19 pandemic! It has been a unique year as we have adapted to the “new normal” and continued our work among the disadvantaged people of Metro Manila as best we could. Fortunately, now many people (although far from all) are vaccinated and so the restrictions due to the pandemic have eased slightly, and for several months there have been no severe lockdowns. We are most grateful for your very generous support, which has enabled us to help many people.
FCJ Learning and Development Center
This year, the FCJ Center has implemented a system of Asset Based Community Development and has offered some new programs. Several vegetable and vertical gardens have been started up to provide fresh produce to supplement the family food and also to provide plants to raise people’s spirits.
As part of the Environmental Awareness program, several women have engaged in making crafts from waste materials. They are able to generate income from this.
We opened a new clinic room on the ground floor of the FCJ Center in Area 6, which has been a big help to people with mobility problems. The clinic takes place in Area 6 every Friday and it is now also offered in Area 5 once a month. A small pharmacy has been set up in Area 5 run by the Community Health Workers. Herbal and generic over the counter medicines are available to the people at low cost.
All classes continue to be online from Elementary to College level. From March 2020 until mid-November 2021 children were not allowed to leave their homes. This has been very hard on the children and their parents, but all have done their best to keep going, and are to be congratulated for their perseverance and their achievements.
Because of the Covid 19 restrictions, we have made increasing use of social media to reach out to the people when face-to-face contact was not possible. The FCJ Learning and Development Center Facebook Page has been a very helpful way of keeping in contact with the communities and offering them some of our programs.
Overall, during the year:
- 20 houses were renovated and 5 toilets were constructed.
- 17 students took part in TESDA courses. Unfortunately, because of COVID19 the TESDA exams have been deferred until February 2022. 3 students took basic computer classes.
- 22 students took part in the Alternative Learning System Program and 15 of them were successful in the Accreditation & Equivalency Exam and graduated Junior High School
- 16 women took sewing classes, 34 women and 8 men took food processing classes, and 6 women were able to generate income from baking.
- 30 college scholars were supported, and 37 children from very poor families received a scholarship which enabled them to attend Elementary or High School.
- 38 women and 2 men started up a small business, and 9 women and 1 man produced craft goods for sale.
- 724 people attended the weekly clinic and 27 people attended Health Education sessions.
- 14 children with disability and 5 adults were supported regularly throughout the year.
- 23 senior citizens are members of the “Hawak Kamay” groups which meet weekly, and 8 elderly people and people with disability received daily breakfast. One group of senior citizens have set up a small business selling small packs of condiments.
- 30 women received leadership training and 50 women received training to combat violence against women and children.
- 108 people took part in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Environmental Awareness sessions.
16 College scholars are supported by the community. Regular meetings have been held with them online. Topics include: the COVID19 virus and vaccines, strategies for coping with online studies, and sharing of their experiences during lockdown. There have also been recollections and individual personal meetings. Activities on the environment or care for our common home, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in October, and sharing, took place face-to-face. The scholars were divided into two groups in observance with health protocols.
Several families have suffered particular hardship because of the pandemic and, thanks to your generous donations, we have been able to help them in various ways. Support has been given for the basic needs of families, for funeral expenses and for medical needs. 8 people were also given financial support to begin a small business.
More than 300 packs of rice were given to families in need and to street dwellers, with another 200 packs of rice and “noche buena” supplies to be given out ahead of the Christmas season.
On behalf of all the people we have been able to help, we thank you sincerely for your great generosity. Be sure of our special prayers for you and your loved ones as we prepare to welcome again the God who is with us always. We pray that you all stay safe and well, and we wish you and your families every blessing this Christmas and in 2022.
FCJ Sisters, Manila