“Adopt a tree” – HUGPONG’s first eco-friendly activity

HUGPONG, our local group gathering volunteers' organizations, participated into a tree planting activity last Saturday. The Mayor of Don Salvador Benedicto invited HUGPONG organization to join a project called “Adopt a tree”. The municipality has indeed designed an environmental program designed to promote forest preservation in a participatory approach. It is dedicated to ensure a fresh, pollution-free and cool environment for every inhabitant in Don Salvador’s area.

The tree planting activity encourages the local community to engage itself for the protection of the environment. Indeed every interested person has the opportunity to support the city’s eco-friendly program with the symbolic “purchase” of a tree to be planted in a designated area. The current area is located along the road going to San Carlos (western coast of Negros Island), which is approximately an one-hour drive from Bacolod City.

As a not-for-profit organization, HUGPONG has been offered one of the pine trees to be planted during the first ceremony held on September 14th. The second batch of trees will be planted next December. Nearly one hundred people attended to witness and/or participate into the tree planting activity. The trees had been purchased for one thousand pesos (€17) by individuals, companies, associations as a donation dedicated to the protection of the environment. It showed the commitment of the community members to preserve the nature and the eco-system and raise awareness on this sensitive issue. As a member of Hugpong, HOST-NGO joined the event along with local volunteers from LEAD (League for Environmental Advocate for sustainable Development) and Warriors for Peace. The students association of Saint La Salle University and the Artists Association of Bacolod also planted their own trees. A total of 50 trees were planted by the participants. The formal ceremony was followed by a friendly lunch organized by the Mayor in a building owned by the Department of Education (DepEd) in Don Salvador.


A sustainable partnership with PEACE CORPS

Since the departure of Daniel, our former Peace Corps volunteer who dedicated eight months of his mission within the SDC, we were impatient to hear about her or his successor. Her name is Terry and she will join us in Bacolod City in a few weeks only. We will publish a detailed profile as soon as she has settled down.

As an historical background, the Peace Corps were established in 1961 by Senator John F. Kennedy with the initial goal of promoting peace and friendship. He called on American youth to give back to their country by living and working in developing countries. The Peace Corps’ mission has the following objectives: helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, and helping promote better mutual understanding of the Americans and the communities served. Peace Corps Philippines is the organization’s second oldest program. Back in 1961, there were 130 volunteers assigned in the Philippines as teachers of English language, mathematics and science. As of today, over 8,000 volunteers have served in the Philippines in broader fields. The ultimate purpose of Peace Corps is to foster world peace and friendship through cross-cultural contact and collaborative development efforts.

Bacolod City, with the support of Virlanie Foundation and HOST-NGO [via the People-Private-Public Partnership], successfully requested last year the assignment of a Peace Corps volunteer to support the SDC. Daniel has been the first volunteer to join the programme under implementation within the frame of our SDC project. His main responsibilities were to ensure the sound implementation of the activities at SDC, while sharing his expertise in the field of psychological support. Along with our team, the Peace Corps volunteer aims at fulfilling the needs of the most vulnerable kids based on the most efficient and sustainable approach.

Upon Daniel’s return to the US, it was essential to assign a new volunteer whose mission inside the SDC is important for the time being. Terry has been assigned by Peace Corps organization and after a three-month training in the Philippines, she will arrive to Bacolod City around September, 19th. We are looking forward to meeting her and introducing her to our beneficiaries and to her new teammates!

Daniel with one of our beneficiaries at the SDC