Our Programs/ Grassroots Partnerships /Capacity building for savings and community engagement

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On a typical weekday, Veronica Atlas, a housewife from Bgy. Sapinit in Antipolo City, wakes up with a smile on her face. As a loving wife and mother of four children, she prepares the breakfast of her family to fuel their day at work and school, respectively. After she bids them goodbye, she tends to the communal farm, using skills she learned from the training of One Meralco Foundation’s Bio Intensive Gardening (BIG).

BIG’s main goal is to help depressed communities fend for themselves by establishing a backyard farming community to cater the immediate need for food and nutrition. By doing so, these communities recognize the value of saving – instead of spending money on groceries, the families who will benefit from BIG can focus on other expenses such as utility and school expenses. And this holds true for Veronica and her neighbors who have been religiously spending time in the community’s farm.

“Malaking tulong ang gulay sa aming bakuran dahil hindi na namin kailangang bumili ng talong, kamatis, okra at iba pa. Sa halagang Php 50 na pambili ng gulay sa isang araw naitatabi namin ito para sa mas makabuluhang pangangailangan katulad ng pambili ng kailangan sa eskuwela ng aming mga anak at pambayad ng tubig at kuryente.” quips Veronica. ”Natutuwa din ang aking asawa dahil kahit wala akong hanap-buhay nakakatulong ako sa araw-araw naming buhay,” she continues.

In addition to appreciating the value of savings, BIG also brings about a large dose of community engagement as Tess Argota, the community leader of Bgy. Calawis in Antipolo City recounts, ”Naalala ko nung  dumating ang unang araw ng pag-ani ng aming mga gulay. Ang sarap ng pakiramdam na lahat kami na nagtanim ng mga gulay ay sama-samang namimitas ng sitaw, kamatis, ampalaya, okra at talong para gawing pinakbet tapos ung iba nag-ambag-ambag para bumili ng isda at bigas.”

”Sama sama kaming kumain at masaya kaming nag kuwentuhan. Dahil sa Bio Intensive Gardening nagkaruon kami ng isang araw na sama-sama at masasabi ko na mas masaya ang aming samahan dahil nagkaruon kami ng pagkakaisa na pagyamanin ang aming lugar,” reveals Tess. 

Indeed, big things come in small packages – that is, small plots of land tilled for the good of many.

 
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