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.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

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.


Post a Comment

<< Home