A Message From The Founder
The past six months has been an unbelievable and productive period for the HELP Foundation. We have had numerous volunteers from other countries who have spent time working in our projects. Most notably, John Hannes, from Rotary International Headquarters. The volunteers have seen firsthand our passion and commitment to help the poor in the Philippines. We always welcome visitors because, after their visit, they return to their home country and share their experience with others. The following paragraphs highlight our accomplishments in the past 6 months.The Foundation sponsors the education of 270+ elementary and high school students. However, we felt that there were a select few of the students who deserve to go on to college but could not afford it. Thus, we started a college scholarship program where bright and capable high school graduates can continue to excel. We are now sponsoring nine college students who are the “cream of the crop” and we will continue to offer scholarships to deserving and needy high school graduates provided funding is available. It costs $135 to sponsor a child in elementary and high school. However, it costs $1,000 sponsor a student in college. Many of you have agreed to take this next step and I thank you. These students are the “Future of the Philippines”. Our In-Country-Director suggested that we take a small portion of the foundation’s property – till it with our tractor- a Brahman cow and a one bottom plow – and plant sweet corn. Several ladies in the area took on this project and the results were phenomenal. The ladies planted the corn, cultivated it, harvested it, cooked it, and sold it in the local market. They availed themselves to a micro-loan from Project Kasaligan and paid back their loan and made a significant profit!
The Foundation also initiated a pilot project in raising swine. This also, has been a great success. So much so that the Hastings, Nebraska Morning Rotary club and Rotary District 5670 have committed $5,000 to expand this project. This will be a selfsustaining project where poor families will receive feeder pigs to raise and sell at the local market. Some may wish to start their own swine operation. We don’t give the pigs away, but rather, they have to borrow money at a reduced rate from Project Kasaligan, our Micro-Credit operation, to purchase the pigs. In this manner, they don’t receive a “dole out” from the foundation and have bought into our philosophy of accepting responsibility for their financial obligations on their journey to “self empowerment”. Believe it or not, it works!!
As a final note, and this is personal, Pat and I are in our 70’s and we have had a great ride during the past 10 years initiating, fostering, and implementing our passion to help the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. As we receive donations from you folks, we spend them on a worthy project. I don’t know how many more years we can continue to do this. It becomes more and more difficult, especially the 30-40 hour plane ride between Kansas and the Philippines!! But my goal is to continue our work after Pat and I are no longer able to oversee it. Thus, I came up with the idea to initiate an endowment. Currently it is money in, money out! If we could only build an endowment where we could use the interest on this endowment to satisfy the needs of our projects in the Philippines, our worthy projects could continue for years to come. It would take bequests and donations by you folks to build up an endowment that would be fiscally feasible. This money would not be touched for the operation of the foundation; only the interest would be used to support the foundation. Currently, we spend $120,000 – $150,000/year to satisfy all of our project requirements but that will decrease as we achieve our goal of self-sustainment. So, in order to be self-sustaining today, the endowment would have to reach 3.5 million dollars! That is a scary thought! Let me know your thoughts and God’s Blessings to each of you.
Keith W. Hooper
Update on College Scholarship
This school year we have admitted 9 out of 12 candidates in our college scholarship program. They enrolled in universities situated within the district and are taking courses in (5) Business Administration, (2) Criminology, (1) Elementary Education, and (1) Accounting. These students come from poor families who cannot afford to go to college. Their parents cannot express in words how grateful they are of the support given to them. We wanted to share one particular story of a college student who has been a scholar of HELP Foundation since he was in 3 rd grade and now he is a step higher in reaching his dreams. Jerwin Adame Amuncio is the 10th child of Leonora and Melodio Amuncio. Growing up in a very poor family, he realizes that his parents are not financially capable of sending him to school. His father was working as a farm laborer and his mother stays home to be with the children. Their desire is to send all children to school. Jerwin was ecstatic when he learned that his mother enrolled him on 1st grade at a public school in Talakag Bukidnon. He made a promise to himself that he will earn good grades, finish high school, get a degree and help his family escape poverty. He made his parents proud when he was recognized 3rd honor in his 1st grade class. The following year, 2005, his father passed away and it erased all his hopes of a better life. He wanted to drop out from school to help lessen their expenses. His mother was very persistent and did not allow Jerwin’s discouragement to hinder his goal to a brighter future. One day, Leonora, his mother, came home with good news that Jerwin got accepted in the school sponsorship program of HELP Foundation. He was in 3rd grade then. He was so excited that it sent all his worries away and he will never forget that special day. Now, Jerwin is attending first year in college taking up
a degree in Criminology at a university in Cagayan de Oro city. He wishes to thank all the sponsors who made it possible for him to proceed to college. This scholarship is very meaningful as it takes him a step closer to his dreams.
College Scholars Helping with Foundation
Reading to children while the mothers prepare the meal for feeding program
Partnership with Xavier University
The Foundation opened its doors to a partnership with Xavier University through its social involvement program called KKP (Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana), translated as Christian Community for Social Awareness. Xavier University also known as Ateneo de Cagayan, is a Filipino and Jesuit governed educational institution with over 9,000 enrollees this year. They are committed to serve its surrounding communities and this is accomplished through Partnership with Xavier University Slippers are a basic and the most popular footwear in a tropical country like the Philippines. Even during the rainy season children and teen agers alike prefer to wear flip flops instead of rain boots. When Mr. Rufo Mondido came and visited to offer a training on how to make slippers, we booked a schedule with him right away. He is a certified trainer from TESDA (Technical Education Skills and Development Authority), a government agency dedicated to improving the Filipino workforce by conducting community based training programs. The training was divided into 2 sessions, morning and afternoon to accommodate the schedule of our a program called CSLP (Collaborative Learning Service Program), a curriculum based service learning experience where they send participants, usually 3rd and 4th year students, to partnering institutions and local government units. This school year, a group of computer science students are assigned to help us create a data base for past and current sponsored children. Every year the number of students we send to school is increasing. Currently, we are supporting 278 students and this program will make monitoring of grades and attendance easier. Another group of students from the Department of Agriculture are also expected to introduce us to new methods in goat and hog raising. These services not only provide the students from Xavier University a learning experience but also help them to become socially responsible individuals. We are thankful for this partnership, another opportunity of serving and giving back to the community.
Adopt a Goat Project
Another batch of Goat Raising Seminar was conducted last September 11, 2014 with Dr. Nida Ganzan, D.V.M as the speaker. Recently 9 mothers received one doe each. They were optimistic that through this project they can help meet the daily needs of their families and improve their lives.
Training on Slipper Making
Slippers are a basic and the most popular footwear in a tropical country like the Philippines. Even during the rainy season children and teen agers alike prefer to wear flip flops instead of rain boots. When Mr. Rufo Mondido came and visited to offer a training on how to make slippers, we booked a schedule with him right away. He is a certified trainer from TESDA (Technical Education Skills and Development Authority), a government agency dedicated to improving the Filipino workforce by conducting community based training programs. The training was divided into 2 sessions, morning and afternoon to accommodate the schedule of our a program called CSLP (Collaborative Learning Service Program), a curriculum based service learning experience where they send participants, usually 3rd and 4th year students, to partnering institutions and local government units. This school year, a group of computer science students are assigned to help us create a data base for past and current sponsored children. Every year the number of students we send to school is increasing. Currently, we are supporting 278 students and this program will make monitoring of grades and attendance easier. Another group of students from the Department of Agriculture are also expected to introduce us to new methods in goat and hog raising. These services not only provide the students from Xavier University a learning experience but also help them to become socially responsible individuals. We are thankful for this partnership, another opportunity of serving and giving back to the community. (left) Faculty of Xavier University; (middle) Fr. Roberto Yap, University President; Grace Bigcas; (right) Jannina Alfante, Program Officer– KKP Another batch of Goat Raising Seminar was conducted last September 11, 2014 with Dr. Nida Ganzan, D.V.M as the speaker. Recently 9 mothers received one doe each. They were optimistic that through this project they can help meet the daily needs of their families and improve their lives. Adopt a Goat Project Training on Slipper Making Livelihood Project beneficiaries. There were 82 attendees and this is the first time we conducted such training. The mothers were thrilled when they realized how easy it is to make this essential footwear. After the training a group of microloan beneficiaries from the village of Guimbaloron made and sold slippers to neighboring villages and to small variety stores in the area.
Innovation on beaded jewelries
To enhance the skills of our jewelry makers, our HELP Foundation staff took them on a day trip to Cagayan de Oro City last July 29 and August 4, 2014 for a training with Mrs. Amalia Yap, a known beaded jewelry maker and retailer in the city. They were introduced to new techniques and designs of bracelets, earrings and necklaces which they applied right away during our jewelry making this month of September. Their output are just some of the livelihood products we displayed during the 4th Talakag Farmer’s Day.
Pressed flowers Handmade Greeting Cards & Gift Bags
They started on handmade greeting cards. Now, the mothers are venturing on pressed flowers gift bags – timely for the Christmas season.
Farmers’ Week Celebration
The Department of Agriculture with the partnership of the Local Government Unit (LGU) commemorated this event with emphasis on how to strengthen resilience against the effects of climate change. The farmers in Talakag were provided with booths in the plaza where they could display their home grown produce. The HELP Foundation has been actively participating this event since it started four years ago. In a tropical country like the Philippines the farmers can plant and harvest any time of the year. Bananas, potato, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, coffee, coconuts, to name a few are common finds during Farmers Day. We are also privileged to be given this opportunity to display some of our livelihood products which include bayongs (bags), handmade greeting cards, goat’s milk soap, and beaded jewelries. The locals always look forward to this annual event where they can buy fresh fruits and vegetables at a reasonable price and at the same time learn new methods in farming. In behalf of the mothers who meticulously made the beaded jewelries, bayongs, and handmade products we would like to say our sincerest thank you to our Founders who helped us promote and market our products in the US; to Cindy who allowed us to display our beaded jewelries in her Curiosity Shop; and to all of you who purchased and supported this livelihood project. On average these mothers earn between 100-150 pesos daily or 3-5 US dollars. What a joy to see them buying rice, food, and milk after they get paid from a day’s work. Our goal is to introduce our products to other public and private sectors to increase market share and to continue to provide jobs for our low-income mothers.
Project Kasaligan, our micro finance project, has made significant achievements in the past quarters. First, we have doubled our number of clients from 130 to 271 borrowers and that is more than 100% increase in just 4 months. In addition, we have opened three more centers in different villages with 20 clients each center launched. Indeed, our loan officers have been working diligently in recruiting new clients and retaining the old ones. Secondly, we have added insurance to our micro-loan package which serve as an extra security to their loans and to the borrowers as well. For each loan cycle the minimum amount deducted to cover the insurance is only 25 pesos or .50 cents (US currency) but may vary on the amount loaned. Thirdly, to be able to meet other business necessities of our clients, we have introduced special loans for our outstanding borrowers. We have provided 4 options under this category. If CLIMBS Insurance Manager, (middle) Mr. Nilo Redulla with HELP Foundation staff5 they wish to venture or expand their business they could avail the Cash Loan of 20,000 pesos – 50,000 pesos or $500-$1,200. Our second option is the Agricultural Loan which is basically intended for husbands who do not have sufficient funds to plant their own crops. We also encourage the mothers to raise piglets where we provide pigs and supply of feeds until they are fully grown and ready to butcher. A group of mothers who are skilled to make a certain product but are not existing members of PK may qualify to avail our special loan called Community Loan. Lastly, our Seasonal Business Loan is intended for a group of mothers who have undergone livelihood trainings with us in t-Shirt printing, flower arrangements, candle making, and Christmas decorations. As much as we can, we wanted to widen our scope and provide our clients with whatever is necessary for them to be able to find success through their small business establishments. In conclusion, we are increasing in number because we direct our attention to the needs of our clients and provide necessary solutions essential for the development of their business. Our focus in helping these mothers does not limit to availing the loans but also educating them with business strategies and proper financial management through our entrepreneurship modules conducted by our Business Administration student volunteers from Bukidnon State University. Project Kasaligan’s next goal is to reach 300 clients by year end and add two or three centres on the fourth quarter and make their business more profitable and viable!
Mrs. Cristina Lilangan is a single mother who supports six kids. She is our first beneficiary who was able to loan piglets and feeds with minimal interest from our Swine Project. Before she availed a loan with us, she was already operating a small business in pig fattening, and backyard farming which helped her finance the schooling of her children. When she joined Project Kasaligan 2 years ago, she used the money to expand her business. Her efficiency paid off when she was awarded last year as the Highest Saver among 150 borrowers. Currently, she is on her 6th loan cycle where she can avail to loan P 7,000 ($ 150) or higher amount. Mrs. Lilangan is planning to venture to other business and looks forward to repairing her house when she paid off her loan.
Mrs. Virginia Añora is also a member of Center 4. Her business is selling assorted processed foods and peanuts to all company workers where her husband is working as an Agrinanas Labor Union Treasurer. They’ve been selling their goods to the workers for almost two years and this has been a regular income for her and her husband. With five children, Mrs. Añora assures through her business, they will finish all their studies. On her second level, she loaned 7,000 for six months and a special loan of 30,000 for 18 months as added capital for her new products of processed foods.
NEW FACES IN THE WORK FORCE
Our Project Kasaligan’s new set of Loan Officers. Mr. Abaton, 22 and Ms. Cacay, 27 are recent graduates of Bukidnon State University in Business Administration. Their profession and their desires to work for the community are a great help to our endeavor to help women out from extreme poverty through self-discipline and proper management of a business.
The HELP Foundation
c/o Keith Hooper
23031 60 Road
Lebanon, KS 66952
PICTURES FROM ONGOING FEEDING PROGRAM
NEW SPONSORED CHILDREN WITH THEIR FAMILIES
Another year has come and gone. It has been filled with wonderful opportunities and great blessings. As we celebrate Christmas may it be a time to remember the birth of Jesus; His gift of forgiveness and salvation. In behalf of HELP Foundation staff, we wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Thank you for sharing your light with us! Happy Holidays!
Download in pdf format: 2014 Winter Newsletter_Final.pdf