Gawad Kalinga (GK) translated in English means to “to give care”, and it is an alternative solution to the blatant problem of poverty not just in the Philippines but in the world. GK’s vision for the Philippines is a slum-free, squatter-free nation through a simple strategy of providing land for the landless, homes for the homeless, food for the hungry and as a result providing dignity and peace for every Filipino.
What started in 1995 as a daring initiative by Couples for Christ to rehabilitate juvenile gang members and help out-of-school youth in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, then the biggest squatters’ relocation area in the Philippines, has now evolved into a movement for nation-building. Together with its partners, Gawad Kalinga is now in the process of transforming poverty stricken areas with the goal of building 700,000 homes in 7,000 in 7 years (2003-2010). To date Gawad Kalinga is in over 900 communities all over the Philippines and in other developing countries.
The Gawad Kalinga (GK) Walk is an annual event in Cambridge, MA held to raise awareness about its mission to help eradicate homelessness in the Philippines by creating villages in its poorest areas. In recent years, BUFSA has shown its support by sending members to both volunteer and walk the event. In conjunction with the other Filipino Student Associations in D1 and other members of the Boston area’s Filipino community, the GK Walk has shined a beacon of hope for the less fortunate.
Philippine Red Cross
In all its 63 years of reputable existence, the Philippine Red Cross has lived through many changes that were intended to help more people. Where it used to be involved only in providing blood and in disaster-related activities, the Philippine Red Cross now focuses on a holistic approach to uplift the condition of the most vulnerable. Where it used to offer short-term palliatives, it now offers a wider array of humanitarian services ranging from preventive medicine to therapeutic counseling, to youth leadership.
At present, the Philippine Red Cross provides six major services: Blood Services, Disaster Management Services, Safety Services, Community Health and Nursing Services, Social Services and the Volunteer Services. All of them embody the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. These values guide and inspire all Red Cross staff and volunteers, to whom being a Red Crosser is more than just a philosophy but a way of life.