There was no better way to end the month than through service. Last September 30, 2017, students and teachers from Xavier School San Juan participated in the yearly Gawad Kalinga (GK) Build which was held this year at the GK German Village in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Gawad Kalinga, a non-governmental organization founded with the aims to help bring social justice to the poor, establishes plots of land around the country used to build houses and communities for the less fortunate. Majority of their funding comes from donations from sponsors and volunteers who help develop the community. For this GK Build, Xaverians, in collaboration with Paolo Inting, the head of GK Ateneo, worked together to help the GK German Village.
The aim of the excursion, led by faculty member, Mr. Atom von Monfero, and Lingkod Committee Projects Head, Nathan Te, was to enlighten students on the current state of our fellow brothers and sisters, as well as to extend a helping hand to them. Likewise, throughout the day, students, alongside community workers, helped lay the foundations of various houses by connecting a “concrete chain” used to deliver liquid concrete from the production site to the actual house. While this may have been mentally and physically exhausting under the heat of the sun, students enjoyed the activity as they knew they were helping people through the service they had given.
The build also featured a “boodle lunch” wherein food would be spread out along banana leaves and eaten using bare hands. The food, mainly, pork adobo, rice, and chopsuey, was cooked by the local community and shared among students and workers. After the lunch, an interaction between the students and the youth from the community was conducted. This was mainly done in the spirit of bonding and sharing love to the community, aside from building the houses. As such, games and presentations from both participants took place, culminating in a song number being delivered by the youth community.
Ponz Guitterez, the head of GK Cavite, was invited to deliver a speech on behalf of the volunteers to their community. He noted key elements of the GK structure and how the stakeholders interacted with one another to bring forth a prosperous and friendly community. Aside from the donors, he also took time to appreciate the Xaverians for going out of their way just to help the ones who needed it the most. He hoped that in the future there would be more volunteers joining the GK Build that would ultimately influence change in the country for years to come.
By the end of it the event, not only did the students learn the importance of sacrifice and hard work in achieving basic necessities, but they also learned the significance of creating relationships with people whom they never thought they would meet.