Feb 19, 2013

We Need More Help

I had my much needed silent retreat last week. It's the perfect time to do it after resigning in my corporate job in exchange of pursuing the more challenging role of contributing to nation building partly through our online magazines. At least I like to think it that way.

I had anticipated the influx of press releases to be published, events to attend/host/speak, and organizations to be contacted, but not at this rate and this early. Aside from manilakid.com, we're also setting up another one, thecrustmag.com which intends to make volunteerism trend. I'm one of the contributing editors for The Crust and this allows me to use the influence of media to highlight and discover some issues. One of them is the very low morale of the children of Hansenite lepers staying with the Franciscan missionaries.

Giving Back Lost Morale

I visited a leprosarium in Tala, Novaliches yesterday. The lepers have children, ages 3 to 24 years old, who have very low morale because of their background. The Franciscan sisters there coordinate with Don Bosco Makati to provide vocational scholarships (around P40,000 pax for 10 months) to eligible men, but they can use more help in inspiring their youth to feel comfortable with the outside world. These kids are more isolated than the nuns! I think that's a more pressing concern.

I was thinking of maybe going there to organize an entrep seminar, just teach them how to make a profitable social enterprise, or even facilitate team building or personality development workshops. Or since most of us are "busy", maybe we can organize a fund raising event for them so they can rehabilitate their facilities.

The picture below was taken with kids who participate in the feeding program of the Franciscan sisters just outside the leprosarium. I have a special heart for the causes of the Franciscan missionaries because during my silent retreat, I met Sr. Cecille who is the administrator of this institution.

Opportunity of a Lifetime

On a more positive note, I was ambushed by a high profile businessman / social innovator earlier who made me feel like John Sculley when asked by Steve Jobs to leave Pepsi for Apple, or like Anna Wintour when asked by Si Newhouse to lead Vogue. It was a meeting "for the books!" If ever someone decides to write my biography, there should be a special chapter dedicated to that meeting, haha!

He sealed the deal with a handshake, left and all I can say while I was semi-trembling and scratching my head was "what the fuck!" In the one hour that we met, I felt so inspired that I kinda felt teary eyed at some points in the conversation. We talked about social enterprises, citizenship, sustainability, social responsibility, the generation then and now, indigenous people, human dignity, schools and where the world is going. I'd be an idiot not to follow this guy! I really feel blessed to meet him. Whew!

To cap this blog post off, I'd like to share the video interview we did early this morning. It was shot for a presentation in University of Santo Tomas and I was one of the people they interviewed. The gist of the interview: how does the election affect social involvement? And I had to talk from the point of view of the editor of ManilaKid.com.

More Apathy in UST

I learned through the brief given by the videographer that a lot of the students from the College of Science of UST (more than 80%) are not registered for the coming elections. What happened? Should we blame the institution for these students' apathy? I actually received an editorial giving a commentary on the issue. We need more help. And if these students can't even bother to take part into one of the most concrete and accessible acts to participate in nation building, what does this tell us?

Instead of looking for who to blame, maybe we can broaden their horizon. If we can show these students the likes of the Franciscan missionaries dedicating their lives for the service of the leper community, or the likes of that business magnate who's concentrating all his resources and energy to give back the dignity of indigenous people, then maybe we can give them the reason to register for the next elections and vote. It starts there. We're doing our part through manilakid.com and thecrustmag.com. How have you contributed lately?

No comments: