That is why my heart is broken into a million tiny pieces when I heard over the radio that a 12-year old girl took her own because she has apparently lost all hope of escaping from her poverty-stricken life.
I can’t begin to imagine the depth of the despair she was swimming in. Flailing in. Sinking in.
She must have felt so alone and helpless.
My heart aches on how basic and simple the things that would have given her some semblance of hope were: a new bag, a bicycle, P100 for her school project.
And as I juxtapose my own life to hers, I feel so ashamed of the resources that I’ve wasted, opportunities I’ve squandered, blessings that have been greeted with ungratefulness and scorn.
Books that I’ve bought as whims but have remained unread for years.
Value meal upgrades in fast food restaurants despite not being hungry.
Whining about my job, its meager pay, and the air conditioning in the office that at times approximates Siberia in December.
I am ashamed, heartbroken, frustrated, angry, afraid.
Ashamed of my own excesses.
Heartbroken at the loss of a possible future president.
Frustrated at myself and the system that brewed the despair within and around her.
Afraid- that she won’t be the last.
Let’s pray for her- that she finds her way to God’s heavenly abode where the comfort and joy she did not fully experience on earth will embrace her in the next life.
Let’s pray for all of us- that our grief will eventually be transformed into inspiration for collective action so that Marianette will be the last person ever to take his or her own life because of poverty.
As Martin Luther King once said:
We shall have to repent in this generation, not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Rather than just feeling sorry for Marianette and the 11 million Filipinos who are said to be living on less than a dollar a day (and cursing the government’s limited efforts), each one of us ought to be acting to alleviate their plight- now.
I’m reposting the suggestions of the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan for Citizenship by Good Example (CGE). Look around, read the profiles, choose which among the partner organizations you think are worth sharing your time, talent, treasure with.
Citizenship by Good Example (CGE) is a united force spearheaded by the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan that intensifies love of country by championing (1) good citizenship, (2) the spirit of volunteerism and (3) socio-political engagement towards a genuine democracy with a preferential option for the poor.
CGE is releasing a double CD celebrating love for the Philippines through passionate music that feature artists like The Dawn, Cookie Chua, Noel Cabangon and Fr. Rene Oliveros, SJ. Its CD booklet showcases everyday people loving and helping this country and presents volunteer opportunities for many wishing to begin or expand their journey of involvement.
CGE partner organizations are:
Center for Positive Futures – CPF is a high school for deserving, underprivileged children that subscribes to the multiple intelligence teaching approach under a Catholic formation program. Located on five campuses in the Philippines, from Montalban, Rizal to Puerto Pricesa City, Palawan, your financial donation can ease the burden on parents who are otherwise allowed to pay tuition and other expenses in cash, services or in kind. For more details, contact Pinky C. Cupino at +632-298-0284 or +632-998-5095 or email at email@example.com.
Gawad Kalinga – Thousands of volunteers support this alternative solution to the massive problem of poverty in the Philippines. Its core programs revolve around the battle cry to provide land for the landless, home for the homeless, food for the hungry, and light to those in darkness. Support GK by committing at least 4 hours of service every month at any GK village around the country. Contact Gawad Kalinga at (632)726-5892, (632)776-7405 or visit www.gawadkalinga.org
Inigo Corporate Formation Group – These Ignatian Spirituality practitioners spread the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola to the corporate world by offering formation programs and personal social responsibility modules. Profit, heroic leadership and good corporate citizenship can travel the same path.
Pathways To Higher Education – Support this initiative by then Ateneo college sophomores who established a comprehensive program for marginalized public high school students to help them enter and complete college. A financial donation of as little as P500 helps deserving students develop academic and supplementary skills to get them a fighting chance for a better future. Visit www.pathwaysphilippines.org for more details or deposit funds directly to Ateneo de Manila (FAO Pathways) through EPCI Bank (Loyola Heights Branch) Account Number 0280-14650-1.
Rags2Riches - Young professionals merge their business backgrounds with the raw talent of the women of Payatas, a depressed community in Metro Manila, to help generate income for their families through rag production. Help the women of Payatas turn their rags to riches by donating in cash or sewing machines and like items to the established cooperative. Email Rags2Riches at Payatas.Rags2Riches@gmail.com or call +63918-9488850.
Sta. Teresita of Miarayon – Help educate children of the indigenous Talaandig tribe situated between the mountains of Kitanglad and Kalatungan in Bukidon, Northern Mindanao. Your donations of cash or kind, will help provide quality primary education for Talaandig children, help maintain the newly erected, privately funded schoolhouse and develop a curriculum designed and implemented in consultation with the tribe elders. For more details, please call RC Batac at (632)426-6001 loc 3440 or deposit funds directly to the Sta. Teresita of Miarayon, Inc. account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (Ayala-Paseo Branch), Current Account Number 0031-0702-79.
Working Hands Scholarship Foundation, Inc. – Help finance one-year vocational and technical training scholarships for deserving out-of-school youths from financially-challenged families. Conceptualized by the Young Professionals for Peace (Yuppeace), programs inculcate social responsibility and psycho-spiritual growth programs and are provided at Don Bosco Training Centers in the Philippines. Visit www.workinghands.infosolv.net for more details or contact (632)725-6671, (632)259-6039 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information or if you want to volunteer, you may contact SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN through the following: (02) 426-6101 locals 3440-3441, Telefax: (02) 426-5968, Email: email@example.com, Mobile: 0922-8600752 and 0905-3273999 or visit us at the Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University Campus, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.