St. Hannibal Empowerment Centre

St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC) is a religious organization of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus. It is a community of Spirit-led persons which aims to follow Jesus Christ in his union with his Father and in his proclamation of the kingdom of God. It is an inserted community among the squatters. The goal of SHEC is to empower the poor people of Metro Manila, Philippines, through housing, livelihood, education, health, waste management, youth and values formation.

Location: Pasay City, Metro Manila

Mission: Its mission is to empower the poorest of the poor and catalyze an integral Christian transformation of urban poor communities in collaboration with the local Church by a holistic process that addresses concerns on housing, livelihood, education, health, environment and sanitation, justice and peace, youth formation and values formation. The goals of SHEC consist of assisting in alleviating poverty among urban poor communities in Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila; and building the foundation of community transformation through intensive values formation. Its objectives are, specifically, to facilitate the organization and formation of people’s organization that are self-sufficient and empowered, facilitate the values and spiritual formation and capability building of urban poor leaders, to assist the urban poor / informal settlers of Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila in realizing their dreams of achieving security of tenure through in-city relocation, to facilitate the implementation of economic programs and basic social services in urban poor communities, and to facilitate access to formal education in favor of the poor and deserving students.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Livelihood: Banking on the Poor

In the slum community I work for, a family of five is earning less than US$ 150 a month. Six out of ten people of working age is out of work. Singly headed families, a great number of them, are doubly hard-up because of the added demand for care-giving to infants and toddlers.

Meanwhile, the Philippine economy is at an all-time low and dropping. Employment opportunities are shrinking. Investment resources are flowing out of the country. The national government is in a seemingly perpetual mess.

I can perhaps remain faithfullly optimtistic that the national economic scenario will turn a new leaf, but in the meantime, immediate concrete action needs to be taken to uplift the living standard of the poor. And the times call for the people themselves to take control of their own economic life. This is a daunting task given the long history of dole-outs and hand-outs that undermined the self-help initiatives of the poor, perpetuated dependency and sychophant attitudes. Where to start? I believe that banking on the poor has to start first with changing the general perception of the poor...that they are not completely the sniffling helpless creatures who are lacking in all but the tattered clothes on their backs or the rotting wooden push carts they slink in at night.

The livelihood program that I am setting up at SHEC, being undertaken together with collaborators, seeks to build from the current strengths and resources of the people, to be later combined with external resources to generate and multiply results. Enterprise development shall focus on the potentials of the people as they themselves recognize from a process of self-reflection. Whatever assistance that they will seek from outside will be something that they themselves ascertained to be truly beneficial by careful deliberation as individuals and a community.

Banking on the poor is to invest on the capacities and potentials of the poor. This proposition, I believe, will make alive any livelihood program for and with the poor. In practice, it will lead to the development of a local safety net for poor communities in times of economic adversities at the national and global setting.


Post a Comment

<< Home