Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.
The target communities are: 1) one purok (zone) in Irisan, Baguio City. Irisan is the largest barangay of Baguio city (out of the 128 barangays). Irisan has a total of 30 purok and has around 25,000 population. Each purok accounts for around 1,000 population. Irisan is an urban poor community. The city's dumpsite is also located here. Most of the people depend on it (garbage collection and junk shops) for livelihood. Others belong to the underground economy or the informal sectors: drivers, construction workers, laundry women, vendors, housekeepers, workers of small shops and eateries, and other odd jobs. A few, including some elderly women (age 70, 75) work in rock quarrying. Though located in the city, the people belong to poverty and below poverty threshold, hence, basic health services are inaccessible.
2) Brgy. Daclan - this is a farming community in Tublay, Benguet. This is north of Baguio City, around one and a half hour ride (public ride) from the city. Daclan is one of the 8 barangays (village) in Tublay. Residents are vegetable farmers (Ibaloi) who belong to the Igorot tribes (indigenous peoples). The people of Daclan were victims of Typhoon Ketsana that hit the country in 2009. Their communities are still considered disaster-threatened communities. Brgy Daclan has around 2,200 population. Daclan is far from hospitals and clinics. Tublay, the municipality where Daclan belongs, is a class 5 municipality. It is one of the two poorest municipalities in Benguet. Hence, health services are also inaccessible.
3) Brgy Bolasi in San Fabian, Pangasinan - Bolasi is a poor fishing village. It has around 2,800 population. Our area in Bolasi is a cluster of around 200 makeshift houses. Women here are fish vendors and their husbands are small fisherfolks. Illegal fishing by commercial fishers results to drastically reduced catch of small fisherfolk, hence, they also could not afford basic health services.
Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
Serve-Net will be the founder of the project. Serve-Net is an NGO that is operating in Northern Philippines, particularly in some of the grassroots communities of Baguio, Benguet, San Fabian in Pangasinan and Sto. Tomas in La Union.
Serve-Net is borne out of actual engagements with urban and rural poor communities. It is a new organization founded in 2007. It has been actively engaged in responding to the victims of Ketsana in 2007.
Serve-Net's exposure to the marginalized communities inspired us to come up with the idea of this Project. We are witnesses to the daily life-and-death struggle of grassroots communities. Health budget is last of their priorities. They could hardly make both ends meet. Their irregular income is not even enough for the very basic needs - food and shelter. Basic social services like health and education are inaccessible. Outside intervention is irregular, seasonal, short-term and not empowering.
We, in Serve-Net, are familiar with the aspirations of the rural and urban poor. They are grateful for outreach programs and intervention. However, they dream of having long term and sustaining projects that could bring back the dignity to them rather than being at the mercy of outside help.
Serve-Net would want to strengthen their hopes, and overcome hopelessness. We want to assist in their efforts of empowering themselves, and overcome helplessness.
One day, we dream of hearing from them "We did it!" rather than forever be saying "We need your help! We can not make it!"
This project would make this real and true.