ACTS in Manila
Mission Date: 2 Dec 2012
This was the 2nd December that ACTS visited this community in December. We had decided since 2011 to adopt this community for our yearly mission, which would be based in Mandaluyong city, in a very local area called Sta Mesa. This is where the FMA (Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco) have their Provincial House and operate two schools from – Don Bosco Elementary and High School; Laura Vicuna Technology Center.
An initial group of 10 catholics from Singapore spent a week of Manila with the FMA Sisters and their communities of young adults and children whom they witness to. During our week there, we ‘adopted’ several more Singaporean volunteers , who reside in Manila. So that by the end of the week, our little mission group grew to 14 volunteers.
We were hosted by the Superior of the Provincial House Sr Dolor Reyes and her community of bubbly and hospitable sisters.
The mission preparation started at least 6 months ahead of December 2012, with spiritual formations, planning meetings and fund raising. The team was blessed to raise S$7,400 from friends and family. The funds raised went towards the children and LVTC in various ways described below.
1. Laura Vicuna Technology Center (LVTC)
LVTC provides technical and vocational training to needy students to prepare them for the working world. The students receive a year of education in LVTC followed by a year of work attachment. The ACTs team spent three half days in LVTC, coaching 53 students in business management (interview techniques, elements of business skills etc) and electronics courses. For the students completing their on-the-job training in 2013, ACTS will sponsor their medical checkups and log books for their daily journaling.
For the electronics course, we purchased electronic kits to teach the students to assemble a simple alarm clock and taught them to assemble their own reading lamp using discarded batteries and other simple electronic components. This project was well received and highly practical for the students who have little or no light to study at home after dark.
The LVTC is a 16-year old establishment in dire need of repair and upgrading. For the past year, repair works for faulty electrical points, broken windows and toilets have been carried out. As part of this on-going effort, ACTS contributed to the purchase of paint, ladder and other equipment; the team also personally helped to repaint the ground floor of the school building.
2. Time with the Vicunans
Vicunans is a name given to the children who come daily to the Provincial House for group activities such as sports, games, music lessons and tuition. The House acts as a care centre for children from needy families in the nearly barangays.
The ACTs team lined up a host of activities for about 100 children – making musical instruments, making sock toys and dance classes. By the end of our mission week, we had a little party of performances and a warm meal.
The funds raised would cover several things for the vicunans:
- a new TV for their activity room;
- a hot meal a few times a week, for the whole of 2013
- transport and cost of activities for their summer camp and other outings
- other miscellaneous expenses such as school supplies, medical fees and other essentials.
3. Mobile Library reaching out to over 200 kids in the urban squatters
The mobile library is part of an initiative by VIDES International, a lay group that witnesses to the spiritual, health and physical protection of street children. The mobile Library is a retro-fitted van that goes out to 5 local slum communities in Manila every day, reaching out to over 200 children. It offers them access to books and learning materials. The ACTS team had collected story books from kids in Singapore for the Mobile Library. As well, every afternoon of the week that we were on mission, we had organise storytelling and activities to engage with the children. The children were also given a goodie pack of snacks, towel, dental kit and a colour pencil set.
By Audrey Leong, Dec 2012