Saturday, February 16, 2008

PhotoHunt 97/4: Free



A fluttering flag. A fist raised in defiance.

These would be among the first, the standard imagery evoked by free. But I guess what trumps these two is what I placed above- kids, all smiles, in their playful best, full of candor with nary a care in the world. Choose any kid, and s/he would be a perfect candidate for freedom personified.

But these Filipino kids are more free than most of their peers because they now have a home of their own. They reside in the colorful homes behind them, a result of a massive development program in the Philippines called Gawad Kalinga (which translated to English is Give Care).

Gawad Kalinga or GK is an integrated area development program which aims to alleviate poverty in the Philippines by mobilizing the spirit of generosity and heroism among Filipinos and foreigners alike. Roughly equivalent to the established Habitat for Humanity, GK has community organizing, shelter, health, education, environment, livelihood, child and youth development, and values formation components to make it a holistic approach to development. The program aims to build 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in 7 years- given the level of poverty we have to contend with in the Philippines. Over the last four years of the program, GK and its partners have built about 2,000 villages with some 30-60 homes per villages in almost all provinces in the Philippines, including villages in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The residents of the villages help themselves by putting in sweat equity- clocking in and average of 200 hours of labor building their neighbors’ homes. However, they are not alone: students, doctors, factory workers, expats, yuppies, overseas Filipino workers, CEO’s have donated their time and energy to haul bricks and paint homes; teach art and math; conduct health lectures and treat patients; plant trees and grow vegetables to make the residents and their village regain their dignity as human beings.

Erstwhile slums- like the area where the homes above are built on in BASECO in Tondo, Manila- are being transformed into oases where anyone and everyone can now hope, dream-

And be free.

You can learn more about Gawad Kalinga here and from its official website.

14 comments:

  1. Sometimes we take our freedom for granted because we have it. Look at the smiles on their faces. They are so happy to be free.

    It is still Friday night here and I will post mine in the morning.

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  2. Carefree smiles of kids bring so much joy to us :)

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  3. Free Smiles on Happy Children! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. what a wonderful post for the theme. wow. thank you!
    happy weekend.

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  5. That's a wonderful example and sounds like a wonderful program. Thank you for telling us about it.

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  6. Wonderful post Ian. What a great initiative and so necessary by the sounds of things. No wonder the children can smile now.
    Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

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  7. Thank you for telling us all of this - what a great project it is!
    Those children look so happy and free, without cares.
    Thank you for your kind comment on my entry.

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  8. This sounds like a very promising project and there is hope. And as you say for freedom. Wonderful post to share with us for the hunt!

    [and who am I planning to vote for you ask? My vote goes to the one on my sidebar...Seeing Hillary was just to confirm my convictions]

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  9. That is a fabulous photograph of the children who look so happy and free. Very informative post too. Thanks for a good write up of an important issue.

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  10. i just hope the government can find some way to complement the good that NGOs are doing for these people... now that they have homes, may they get good education...

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  11. Those kids look so happy hamming it up for the camera. Sounds like a great organization.

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  12. What sweet kids! I loved your post about free and I appreciate you coming and commenting on my blog! Have a great week!

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  13. Thanks for the visit everyone! Thanks for enduring the rather long post, explaining the story behind my photo =]

    Yes, it's literally a groundbreaking project, allowing poor families to have a fresh start, have more reasons to smile, and to be really free.

    Everybody's on board here- the private sector, government, not-for-profit groups, the religious. It's helping stop poverty, one home at a time, one family at a time =]

    Hope you can help as well =]

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