By Maria Pakhomova, Operations Director

On some level, directly or indirectly, poverty affects us all. One organization, Gawad Kalinga (GK) Community Development Foundation, seeks to eradicate it entirely. GK is a “Philippine-based movement that aims to end poverty for 5 million families by restoring dignity to the poor.” They do this through long-term improvement in housing and community building of economically disadvantaged areas. GK hopes this work will ultimately restore the dignity of the poor and empower local groups.

CCI Greenheart had the chance to work with this ambitious organization in November 2015 while interviewing Filipino university students who were interested in coming to the United States for the 2016 Summer Work and Travel program. Our staff traveled to the Philippines to meet our Filipino partners and future participants.

During our visit, we were given the opportunity to volunteer with GK and learn about their mission of “ending poverty in local communities.” As part of the volunteering project, we got to practice our sewing skills and created heart pillows alongside local seamstresses. We knew that the project was shining a light on the future vision of a community infused with support and empowerment.

Overall, CCI Greenheart’s time in the Philippines proved to be successful as we were able to interact with the participants face-to-face at the recruitment event. For many of the participants, it will be their first time traveling to the United States and being away from home. We are looking forward to welcoming them on their cultural exchange journey.

Interested in getting involved? Check out the Greenheart Club for more volunteering ideas and see how you can make an impact!