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, November 27, 2006

The Great Bukluran Health Workers!!!

During the medical mission sponsored by the Adamson University, the health workers of the St. Hannibal Christian Community have proved themselves to capable in attending to the basic needs of the patients. Some collaborators have showed their concern to help the poor and sick people. Thanks God.

Wow, the talented Guys!!!

Age does not matter. As long as there is a will, there will always be a way to prove oneself. The singers, Pandong and Celia, are competing for the first prize in the singing contest. On one side, Sr. Beta shares her talent in dancing. How graceful she is!

How Sweet!!!

These partners literally show that no one can set them apart. During the victory party, they portray that a happy life starts from the bonding between partners. Incidentally, these are our leaders who manage to lead their groupmates towards a better service to others.

If they can, we can!!!

During their victory party, the leaders of the St. Hannial Christian Community are proud to show that they can still dance cha-cha, swing etc. Amidst the strenuous work, they decided to thank the Lord for the gift of healthy life. Some are envious with them. They want to dance; but they need more practice. Thanks God.

Let's do it!

In their jubilation, the leaders together with Sem. Hernan expressed their hidden talents in singing and dancing during their victory party. They can not but rejoice on account of their laudable leadership skills that led to the success of their housing projects. They are the promising leaders of the society in the near future.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dance, dance baby!!!

During the victory party of the members of the St. Hannibal Christian Community, the field workers from the Asian Social Institute have contributed and shared their talents in dancing as seen in the picture - Fr. Orville, Tina and Retche and in singing like Bench and Sr. Van. What a joy to be with the leaders as they celebrate together for all the graces they have received especially in their housing projects.

What a feeling to have graduated!!!

After a series of sessions about the fundamentals of reflexology, the time has come for the students to finish their classes. This is the first batch. The students are members of the St. Hannibal Christian Community. They are assisted by some volunteers who are facilitated by the field workers from Asian Social Institute, Lina, Jenny and Beta. During their graduation, Fr. Orville Cajigal has graced the event.

Be healthy, the doctors say!!!

Knowing how precious health is, some doctors from the UP-PGH have thought of sharing their time and talent in helping the St. Hannibal Christian Community. Through the initiative of Doctors Portia, Ian and Community Organizer Mica, a consolidated effort is being fostered to help the poor in the selected areas of Pasay City. They are assisting in giving information and in training barangay health workers. This is to empower them to care for their own neighbors in order to prevent sickness. At this point, they are also sending their medical students to help the scholars of St. Hannibal Empowerment Center in their academics and in the feeding program.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Energetic Rogationist Brothers!

At the start of the second semester, the students of theology from the Fr. Di Francia Center of Studies have come over to discuss how they could maximize their apostolate of presence in the depressed areas of Pasay City under the guidance of St. Hannibal Empowerment Center. Their focus of attention are the youth. They want to incarnate the love of St. Hannibal for the youth. Two of them are already deacons, viz., Revs. Julius and Javier.

Oh, How Relaxing!!!

During the demonstration of the reflexology class, held in St. Hannibal Training Center, the students from Asian Social Institute, Bench, Van and Tina offered themselves as the clients. After the treatment, they seem to have felt so relaxed. Their burdens are gone. How relaxing it is!!!

Stretch Out Dear!!!

Being with the people in Barangay 152, Pasay City, field workers of Asian Social Institute - Lina, Jenny and Beta came up with a program on livelihood based on the needs of the people. One of the activities is that of having reflexology lessons. The participants are coming from the area itself. The trainors are coming from TESDA. There will still be other lessons depending upon the progress of the present participants.

The dream team!

After completing the beautiful model house in St. Hannibal Housing Project Phase 2 with Habibat for Humanity, a project management team was created in order to focus on the construction of 344 units for those leaving in the danger zones of Pasay City. The members are composed of Fr. Dexter and Engineers from Habitat: Warren, Toto, Larry and Beth

NGO's action force!

In order to foster a unified effort, the non-government agencies in Pasay City made a coalition. The aim is to know one another, to share one's knowledge and expertise and to eventually help one another in rendering a valuable service to those in need. This is headed by its president, Rey Bayona.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Habitat on the go!

Today, the orientation of all the homepartners in St. Hannibal Housing Project, Phase 2 begins. They are given some pointers to consider in spending hours for the construction of their houses. Engineers like Toto, Kenneth, Larry and Alex were present to help the people manage their sweat equity. The homepartners are now very excited to begin the construction of their houses.

Open heart, wonderful life!!!

As the Philippines is confronted with seemingly endless political bickering and undying brand of red tape, perennial monetary mess and the unfinished war against poverty, what “better life- condition- in- a well- developed- and-modernized-state- of Pasay City can any Pedro / Petra can hope for?”

It is such an upsetting reality that a big chunk of the Barangay 152 populace who lived way below the poverty line would rather park idle on their seats of hopelessness along Apelo Street and “wait for the guava to fall from the twig” so as to speak of the legendary Juan Tamad.

From San Mateo , Rizal or Asian Social Institute, Manila I was able to observe all this depressing but definitely enlightening situation in Pasay City .

Barangay 152 is situated in Malibay, Pasay City . To reach the area and I have to endure 2 hours of travel via tricycle , FX, MRT / LRT and pedicab.

Being a Social Work Intern, I am in Barangay 152, Malibay, Pasay City for five months immersion program on working with groups through the Saint Hannibal Empowerment Center.

I can remember the first time when our group of students together with our School Supervisor Prof. Gina Yap met with Fr. Dexter Prudenciano, SHEC Executive Director for a trialogue.

An ocular visit to seven barangay members of SHEC- SHACC ( Saint Hannibal Association of Christian Community ) was our initial activity after which an orientation about Saint Hannibal Empowerment Center ( SHEC ) was done by it’s Executive Director who discussed the agency rationale of preferential option for the poor, 7 aims ( housing, livelihood, education, health, environment, sanitation and values formation.

According to Fr. Dexter, immersion is living with them and learning with them (the Poor) which he did in six to eight years resulting in the formation of SHACC. To date, it has expanded from Phase I to 13 composed of 7 barangays.

My Field Work has been based on the preparation of the barangay Profile /Community Study of Barangay 152, the newest SHACC member. We were informed that an initial / study about the area was done by a Social Work Intern ahead of us.

My first visit to the area consisted of exhaustive interviewing with the local residents, and original settlers, barangay officials, women leaders and a City government employees with the aim of establishing rapport or networking to determine the profile of the area ecological condition / history, socio-political, cultural, economic, religious and support organizations or institutions through data collection, validation, planning by the people and implementation of the planned projects or activities.

More than spending time in SHEC and Barangay 152 and dealing with facts and statistic after the survey conducted with the people and doing various sorts of paper work, it was actually living through the plight of the urban poor in the area that awakened a sympathetic heart in me as a “dayo”.

The Community of Barangay 152 suffers from the distraction or tarnishes of the industrialized and commercialized City of Pasay . There were public and private buildings and facilities, tricycles, mobile phones, carinderias, sari-sari stores, food chains, bus terminals and nearby MRT station and shopping mall. The traits of the City Urban poor dwellers in Brgy. 152 is authentic. In spite of their impoverished living conditions and brutally demanding manual labor as “magliligid” (scavengers) or vendors in nearby bus terminals or in a make-shift table for cooked food vending, they are happy because their lives are simple; what they dream and aspire for is not a car or an elaborate home or even wealth they are happy with the lives they lead as is where I tried myself to immerse in the realities that the local residents of Brgy. 152 must face everyday “iba ang pakiramdam; ibang klaseng kaligayahan galing sa kahirapan” ang hinahabol nila ay yung kinakailangan nila sa pang araw-araw.

That during my brief immersion, I engaged in conversations which helped we gain insight into their personal perspective, touching on their feelings on the latest news about the country, education, opportunities, dreams, problems, aspirations, ideas and life in general. The more we engaged in Brgy. 152, the more desperately my mind began to search for a project that would withstand their way of living.

The Brgy. 152 experience with problems as complicated, deep and wide as those that are faced in other urban poor centres, I often felt that I was on the edge of hopelessness. But now, I believe that it is, in fact not hopeless, but rather I feel helpless. I am realizing now that there is no way one person can bring about the entirety of change. No matter how passionate and dedicated I may be to help the urban poor along Apelo Street up on its knees, I will not be able to do it alone and it will require cooperation from different similarly impassioned entities.

The fellowship has really challenged me at the same time , I have formed close relationships with the women leaders, barangay officials, staffs of SHEC, and respondents / original settlers. So despite the setbacks and apprehensions, it has been an invaluable experience.
By Roslina Cordero.

Community Organizing- challenging yet exciting!!!

I would like to share some reflections and insights on my experiences as a social work intern in St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC), especially in Barangay 152, Pasay City. I divide my reflection into three sections; first, I will share my outer and inner journey, second my journey with the group and then my specific learning points.

1. My outer and inner journey
As my fieldwork II began, I knew that my adventure has begun also. I would journey to the “unknown”. I said the “unknown” because I did not know the place, the people I worked with, nor the agency. One thing I knew exactly was I would meet many new things. These always had two sides: challenging yet exciting.
The immersion was the first thing I did. This was a time to have acquaintance with and to build a relationship with the people. A question came to my mind “How can I do the immersion without Tagalog?” To be able to speak the people’s language was important, but above all to be faithful in spending time with the people was the most important thing. I was welcomed warmly in their simple houses. The local leaders helped me a lot. I really had a great time with them. I talked with them, sat in their cariendera, and even stood and chatted in front of their junk shop. I felt that I was accepted. My heart always leapt for joy every time I pass by their house and their children called my name. It did not happen in two or three days. It really needed time. I have learned that taking things slowly makes things grow naturally.
I joined the agency’s meetings, such as strategic planning meeting, Board of Directors meeting, and General Assembly. I saw the members were very active in participation and full of enthusiasm. Their spirits touched my heart. I have learned a lot on how to accompany people. I have learned that to catch people’s attention, the worker has to begin from their interest (in this case, housing). I have to understand and accept who they are and the way they do things. It needs a big and open heart to leave expectations behind.
Value formation was another thing I was impressed by. In every meeting, a silent prayer was used to begin. After that they connected the passage from the gospel with their daily lives. It was like a “living Gospel”. In our weekly meeting, Fr. Dexter would share with us about Jesus’ mission. We based our sharing on a book “Backpack of Jesus Seeker”. We tried to understand two essentials of Jesus; first, Jesus was connected with the Source and second, Jesus poured Himself out in mission for total salvation. It underlined my own experience that to be channel of God’s love to others, I should be connected with the “SOURCE”. By having an inner relationship with God, I would have a peaceful heart, see the problem clearer, solve it creatively and be more effective in working with the people.
As time passed by, I realized that being a community organizer will be my choice in the future.

2. My journey with the group
I was not alone in my journey. I had two companions, Geraldine and Ate Lina. They were my translators on many occasions. Our team went on smoothly. Each one of us tried her best to build a group relationship. It did not mean that there was no difficulty. We came from different backgrounds. We have unique personalities. As a group, we experienced a stage of group development. We adjusted to each other, tried to understand and accept one another’s limitations.
It was not easy. I had my own expectations. Sometimes I was frustrated when something did not happen as we have scheduled it. The key was communication. I could reach a point of understanding and acceptance by taking a risk to speak out my feelings.
Communication was really important in working as a group. We worked together, shared our feelings, laughed together and supported each other. I really felt blessed that I was in this group. I enjoyed our time together; and I treasured it. Our unique personalities enriched our relationship.

3. My specific learning points

My experience doing CO work in SHECC enriched my spiritual and social awareness. The following are some of my specific learning points:
· Open all senses in immersion
· Work on an issue which is the concern to the community
· Build a good relationship with people in power.
· Include people in doing planning.
· Learn to accept and face different cultures and personalities.
· Embrace my own weaknesses and share my strengths.

I have walked with many people, so I am not the same anymore. We have transformed each other’s lives.

(I would like to say thanks a million to Geraldine and Ate Lina for being my companions in doing fieldwork, to all SHEC staff, SHACC leaders and members, Leaders and Members of barangay 152, my deep gratitude especially to my supervisors, Prof. Gina Yap and Fr. Dexter Prudenciano RCJ. I thank God that I have met all of you on my journey. You have contributed to my personal and professional growth.)

By Sister Emiliana Beta, FCJ

AHA!!! This is my learning experience!

As a student…..
…..I bring the name of my school (Asian Social Institute) that I need to be sensitive and aware of my actions.
Obedience to authority shall be observed, that I continuously respect my school and agency supervisor.
As Co-volunteer/ Co-student…..
…..I had no regrets being with Lina Cordero and Sr. Emiliana Beta, FCJ. We learned to bend on our shortcomings and even tried to be polite approaching each other dealing with our mistakes. The exchange of ideas, be it academic or spiritual, enriched my life that at most of the times served as reminders for me having my limitations as human.
I will miss their sisterly care.
As we part, may God bless them in all their endeavors.
As Volunteer of St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC)…..
…..I heard many things about SHEC from previous students that made me think that I don’t want to do my Fieldwork II in the area. I had no choice when our school supervisor assigned me to be with SHEC.
Fears and wonders were in me, having no experience at all performing community work in the field of social work. But everything turned to be different. The agency staffs were accommodating. We were allowed to attend agency meetings (internal and external), and to do immersion.
Supervision was provided by Rev. Fr. Dexter Prudenciano, RCJ, that was substantial enough to guide us in our community work. During our supervisions, it seemed that I had my Spiritual Growth Series as our community work were being related to the work of Jesus in working with the poor, having it sourced from the book “ Backpack of Jesus Seeker.”
I am so grateful of knowing him. May God bless Rev. Fr. Dexter, that may he continuously be filled and be zealous enough as he is guided by the Holy Spirit with the strength to endure every challenge that lies ahead. By God’s grace, may he finish the race.
All glory be to God.

As a Social Work Intern assigned at Barangay 152…..
…..My journey with the people of Barangay 152 allowed me to understand them, to handle the differences I encountered and be able to accept them as what they are. We enjoyed the laughter, learned from shared stories that contributed both on our personal growth. My experience with them is a great blessing.

Awarenes is crucial from the period of entering the community until termination of service ( e. g. manner of dressing, way of communicating with people)
Importance of “courtesy call” to influential leaders of the community
Immersion and Social Investigation shall be performed simultaneously through informal means of “kwentuhan”, “pagbabahay-bahay”, “ugnayan” as I build rapport with the people.
“Participatory Planning” shall be encouraged after the people had identified their priorities of concern which are realistic and attainable in nature. Inclusion of people in community decision-making leads to “people’s empowerment.”
Flexibility of one’s personality in dealing with diversities
Livelihood concerns go with housing issue to have means of sustaining everyday needs, uplift standard of living and pay monthly housing mortgage.
“Social Responsibility” means interconnectedness, and the goal is “development.” (Jennie Lucero)

The four angels of St. Hannibal!

Life in community organizing is fantastic. It makes you cry and laugh. It lets you reflect on your life and the life of the people in a much deeper way. Theoretical realities are learned from the school. But sometimes, more learning experiences happen when organizers are with people and when principles are applied. Wisdom is gained not by reading books found in the libraries but by reading the book of life of the people. This happens when there is a true involvement in the life of the people in order to bring them up from the mire of poverty. Blest are these persons for they have gained wisdom in organizing communities. This gave them strength to go on despite difficulties in life. Indeed, community organizing makes life a different reality. In the faces of these lovely ladies, happiness is seen. They wish to share with others too. (Jenny, Lina, Beta and Gina)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Oh happy are we!

Volunteers from different fields are blessing to St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC). They make the spirit of St. Hannibal grow. The Rogationist Religious brothers are of great help to the activities of SHEC. Friends are also dear because they share with the personnel of SHEC the burden of the work. They make the service to the poor a reality. Thanks to all of you.

The Great Collaborators!

The groundbreaking of the St. Hannibal Housing Project Phase 2 could not have been successful without the assistance of so many supportive persons like the students from Asian Social Institute and other neighbors and friends.

Dancing Queens!

These ladies, leaders of St. Hannibal Christian Community, have been so tired in their preparation for the wonderful event of Thanksgiving Mass and groundbreaking. Despite the fatigue, they seem to be ever-active. They want to show their hidden talents, that they will forever be the dancing queens.

Thanks God - We now have a house!

After the joyful event of groundbreaking, the newly built model units were shown to people. They could not explain their gladness. For so long, they have been longing to have their own house. The time has come. The beneficiaries, together with their children, could not hide the joy brought about by the blessing of having a decent home.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Joyful Celebration

Thanking the Lord for all the blessings He has showered upon the beneficiaries is seen in the faces of the people. These are coming from the danger zones of barangay 156, 157, 162, 165 and 180. All of which are from Pasay City. They know that they are never forsaken by the Lord if they hold hands together in liberating themselves from the clutches of poverty. They think that they can really move on because they feel that God is with them.

Model House - St. Hannibal Housing Project, Phase 2

After almost 8 months of preparation, this dream house for the people residing along the danger zones of Malibay Pasay City is now standing. This is the model house. This will be the pattern for all the 344 units to be built. This is the fruit of labor of Habibat for Humanity, Pondo ng Pinoy, National and local government, government and none government agencies, homepartners, Rogationists, and all the people who have contributed for this project. This will serve as the St. Hannibal Subdivision, Phase 11.

Breaking the Ground

After the Thanksgiving Mass, the groundbreaking followed. This was participated by Usec. Valdez from the Office of the President for Religious Affairs, Bishop Cortez from the Archdiocese of Manila, Atty. Arzaga -President of the Social Housing Finance Corporation, Cardinal Rosales -Archbishop of Manila, Mr. Montinola - BPI President, Mr. Jugo - Chief Executive of the Habitat for Humanity Philippines. There will be 344 units to be built for the squatters along the danger zones of Trippa de Gallina.

Thanksgiving Mass and Groundbreaking

October 29, 2006 is indeed a blessed day. After coming from the blessing of the houses and subdivision in Barangay 156, Tramo, Pasay City, now a thanksgiving to the Lord is held for the St. Hannibal Homeowners Association, Phase 11. This is again presided by His Eminence Gaudencio Gardinal Rosales, DD. Archbishop of Manila. It is a blessed day because when the ceremonies started, the rain stopped to fall. What a beautiful day!

Tears of Joy

For almost twenty years of waiting, finally they have now their own homes. Estrella Buenaflor, one of the beneficiaries, espressed her thanks to all the people who have made their dreams come true. She can not but let her tears roll down her cheeks on account of joy for the blessings they have received from God.

New houses - built with labor and love

These houses were a response to the fire last year that made around 300 families homeless. Through the effort of the fire victims, Pondo ng Pinoy, Habitat for Humanity, government agencies and friends through the leadership of St. Hannibal Empowerment Center, a plan to build decent houses was done. And here they are after five months of intensive labor. Thanks God.

When the houses were finished, they were turned over to the beneficiaries. Some tokens were given through Ambassador Devilla. Such tokens: bible, key, bottle of pondo ng pinoy, tell to the beneficiaries that having houses is not enough. More than the houses is relationship with God and neighbor by means of sharing something to help others too.

Pondo ng Pinoy - New House, new life

What a joy to have a new house, new life. This has come into reality through the Pondo ng Pinoy, Habitat for Humanity -Philippines, Homepartners, local government, St. Hannibal Empowerment Center and friends. His Eminence Cardinal Rosales blesses the houses that are newly built.

Opening- Ribbon Cutting

To officially commence the opening of the St. Hannibal Subdivision, the ribbon was cut. In the picture are the persons who helped in the realization of the subdivision: Cardinal Rosales, Ms. Buenaflor, Fr. Joey Tuazon and Hon. Tony Calixto. This moment marks the beginning of a new life for the people. It is the start of a closer relationship among the people, the Church and the government.

The St. Hannibal Statue - guide and protector!

The name of the new place is St. Hannibal Subdivision, Phase 1. This is in honor of the Founder of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus and the Daughters of Divine Zeal, St. Hannibal Mary di Francia. He inspired the Rogationists who are presently working with the poor in the squatter areaas. Fortunately, the subdivision is made open by the blessing of the statue of St. Hannibal.

People are eagerly awaiting for the arrival of His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, DD. He would be one to open the ceremonies of inauguration. In the picture are some of the leaders and members of the subdivision, viz., Joy Daily, Crisly and others.

Blessing of the Subdivision

Finally, the most awaited part of the life of those living in Barangay 156, Tramo, Pasay City, Philippines has come. This particularly refers to those who were razed by fire last December 21, 2005. It marks the inauguration of their subdivision. For so long, they have been called as squatters. Now, no more. Thus, the name of their place is St. Hannibal Subdivision, Phase 1. This event is graced by his Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, DD, Archbishop of Manila. Other dignitaries were also present to witness the grace-filled event.