I am very lucky to be part of an organization that sees “giving back” not only as a major thrust, but an integral part of company life as well. I don’t mean to say this to pat myself on the back or para magtaas ng sarili kong bangko, but I am just very proud and amazed how much the spirit of giving thrives strong among our employees, and I am humbled by how, despite the difficulty of the times, they still make it a point to share their blessings.
My lola was like that too. She was an extremely generous person, and the poor were very close to her heart. Socio-civic work was a huge part of her adult life, and she joined many organizations that helped to alleviate the plight of the marginalized. She even put up a foundation that helped provide educational scholarships to her less fortunate relatives. Before she passed away, she actually became an ordained lay nun. By doing so she thought she would be able to serve the Lord better, by praying for and sharing her blessings with the less fortunate.
I think this is why the need to be socially responsible runs strong in our Company. I’m hoping lola will be a proud that her legacy of giving back is living on.
Recently, we had the opportunity to help at a house build activity of Habitat for Humanity. The project site was at Navotas—a city hit hard by Typhoons Pedring and Quiel. According to the head engineer, water levels rose as high as his waist resulting in severe damage to homes, and leaving many families displaced.
As we drove through the streets of Malabon first, then Navotas, so many emotions overcame me simultaneously. First, I felt really sad. I felt sad that so many people lived in such horrible conditions. There was so much poverty, it was painful to see. Despite there having been no rain in weeks, there were still pools of flood water left on the streets. Ofcourse, by that time, the water was really black and really smelly. I wouldn’t even want to be exposed to this for a couple of minutes—imagine, these people including kids–are exposed to it 24/7. I shudder at the thought.
I also felt a bit helpless. While I am sure there are many people with big, generous hearts who contribute not only funds but their efforts to help as well, it is still not enough. The situation of poverty in our country is so big, and there are too many in need, it sometimes seems that it will take many lifetimes before we see the conditions of our slums get better. I don’t mean to sound very hopeless—in fact, I am not. I am just pointing out how grave the situation is, and how the imperative and responsibility to do our share can no longer be ignored.
In my opinion, giving back does not even need to be through some grand gesture—which is often unsustainable, anyway. It begins with something as simple as a change of paradigm and paying it forward. A small act of kindness towards others done repeatedly can go a long, long way. Thinking positively, and helping to develop discipline, respect, consideration for others, and love of country can help too! It need not take a village (but ofcourse that will help tremendously!), but a willingness to personally make a difference is a good way to start.
As an ending to this post, I’d like to leave you with more images of our employees and their tireless acts of service and love. Hopefully, it will inspire you, the way they have me :).