For their milestone silver homecoming celebration, the Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) batch of 1987 decided to provide new beginnings to families in need, one house at a time, by partnering with the Cebu chapter of the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc., in the spirit of solidarity and compassion as well as new beginnings. John Alex Dytian, who is the batch ’87 chairman, noted that this is the first time that an SHS batch is partnering with a non-government organization and that their batch wants to provide people with new beginnings, just as they were given exactly that when they graduated from their school.
The new beginnings that John Dytian referred to are in the fact that SHS batch ’87 was the school’s first batch to graduate after the Marcos dictatorship was overthrown and democracy in the Philippines prevailed. In the midst of the reinstated media institutions and other key events, Batch ’87 had its own new beginning as they graduated from high school and began their journey closer to the so-called real world. Along with the impact of these momentous events, their class was also instilled with the Jesuit ideal of being a “man for others” as they went on to have their respective careers, until now when they’re approaching their twenty-fifth alumni homecoming celebration. The batch chairman also shared that aside from hosting their grand homecoming party, Batch ’87 also wanted to do something sustainable that would show the alumni’s appreciation for all the blessings they received and that would live up to the school’s ideals.
Working with Gawad Kalinga (GK) Cebu, Batch ’87 started the Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu Gawad Kalinga Village with the construction of ten homes and a multipurpose hall. The SHS-AdC GK Village for families in need is located in Maguikay, Mandaue, and it can accommodate up to thirty houses as it has a total area of 3,653 square meters. Jason Co, who is the Batch ’87 Gawad Kalinga Project chairman, said that the cost to build a house for a family in need is only Php115,000. That amount can already mean a hope-filled new beginning for the housing beneficiary.
Batch ’87 co-chairman Jay Aldeguer (who happens to be the founder of the Islands Group) added that future and past generations of SHS-AdC will be able to build more homes in the village. Batch ’71, Batch ’77 and the 2012 grade school student body have donated three houses already. Fr. Manny Uy, SJ (SHS-AdC president), said that the SHS-AdC GK Village is a concrete expression of the school’s thrust to form “persons for others” who are Christ-centered, persons of competence and compassion. He also thanked the school’s alumni association and its silver jubilarians for spearheading the project and for showing an example of how to be Lux Oriens (light arising from the land of the morning).
Donations from the public are also very much welcome, may these be in cash or in kind (cement or construction materials, for example). You need not be connected with SHS-AdC if you would like to help this worthy project grow.
As for the other half of the partnership, Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation is a poverty-alleviation and nation-building movement initiated by Tony Meloto in 1995. It started out as a program of the lay Catholic community Couples for Christ, through its Youth for Christ branch.
Aiming to end poverty for five million poor families in the Philippines by the year 2024, GK built its first house in 1999. Its mission consists of providing land for the landless, homes for the homeless and food for the hungry. It envisions a nation empowered by people with faith and patriotism, a nation made up of caring and sharing communities dedicated to eradicating poverty and restoring human dignity.
Gawad Kalinga is proud of its holistic community-development approach against poverty. GK works on restoring the dignity of the poor by involving the different sectors of society through public and private collaboration. It believes in the spirit of bayanihan and in becoming heroes to one another.
GK’s community-building program seeks to empower poor communities to become self-sufficient. Gawad Kalinga helps people become dependable leaders and teaches residents to care for their own communities as well as to help other poor communities. Through the Center for Social Innovation (CSI), people are exposed to the culture of social entrepreneurship.
In Cebu, the Gawad Kalinga office is located at the old DOST complex on the Old Banilad Road, beside the NFA. The phone number for the office is (032)266-1288.
For your inquiries about the SHS-AdC GK project, please call or e-mail Danika at (0917)546-8212 and [email protected] respectively.
A) SHS-AdC GK Village, Maguikay, Mandaue
B) GK Cebu office