In 2010, Ian Campbell lost everything, including his house, when his business went bankrupt. He was also diagnosed with cancer. He thought his life was over.
But instead of feeling sorry for himself, the 64-year-old thought of making a difference in the lives of other people. Campbell had been to the Philippines. He also came to know a lot of Filipinos in the United Kingdom. Armed with his knowledge of the country, he decided to build an orphanage in Balayan, Batangas under TEN Foundations. There he met Joy Ganadin, who manages the orphanage.
The TEN Foundations shelter livelihood centre provides a home and a small school to nine children. They offer scholarships for many others as well. Their feeding program helps more than 400 malnourished and hungry children in Batangas. More than 30 individuals including mothers benefit from their livelihood programmes which cover skill development trainings like sewing, soap making and meat processing.
TEN Foundations also gives medical assistance, if not immediate help, to typhoon victims.
“We believe in the proverb, ’Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.’ We think of sustainability. If we only prepare food for them, it is very exhausting and draining to our energy and resources. But on this initiative we can generate income for them and for other TF programmes. We are also helping mothers who are not employable due to illiteracy and lack of skills,” says Campbell.
To reach a wider market for the products made in the livelihood centres, TEN Foundations opened a café and gift shop in Belfast, Ireland last June. Here, they sell bags and other Philippine products made from recycled and environment-friendly materials like tetra packs, crisp packs, rice, straws, etc.
“Our shop in Belfast is already making a difference to us. We now have over 30 mothers making these bags and it’s probably the most important thing we do. Just one year ago these mothers were living in complete poverty –no money, no education and no hope. Today they are earning up to P10,000 a month. It is all about giving them the ability to change their own lives,” shares Campbell.
Campbell hopes they can build 10 more livelihood centres all over the Philippines. These projects, he says, have a very positive effect on the communities that they are helping.
“We are trying to raise P1 million to buy one hectare of land so we can build soon our own shelter, livelihood centre, and alternative learning area,” he says.
TEN Foundations is organizing a fundraising event from Belfast to Dublin this July using the pedicab, a traditional Filipino transport system. They are inviting all Filipinos in these cities to join and promote the event.
To know more about TEN Foundations, visit http://www.tenfoundations.org/ or see photos of their education and livelihood projects on their Facebook page www. facebook.com/tenfoundations.
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