Fairplay Coronavirus Update 18: Scholars Taking Over & Soup Kitchen Begins

Fairplay Soup Kitchen

It’s now over half a year since the lockdown in Metro Manila began and there’s no real end in sight. The longest lockdown in the world continues with only minor changes to what is and isn’t allowed from week to week.

With little government support in most communities during the lockdown, we are working to provide a soup kitchen within Payatas. This came about largely due to the kind support of a local group called ‘Save a Child, Save a Life‘, who have donated Vitameal, a super healthy rice and lentil mix with added vitamins.

One bowl provides 100% of the RDA of most vitamins, as it’s designed to help with malnourishment specifically. While our stocks of this last, anyone from the community who wants this can claim it from our Cafe. Families are asked to bring their own bowl and spoon to reduce the waste, while those who need that still (e.g. those with no home) will be provided with the bowl.

We are also giving this out along some targeted areas for a short time to show this round and letting everyone know it’s available. Guidelines from local authorities still state that anyone below the age of 21 years old is not allowed to be along the street and so we can deliver this to our communities for the time being. As with most things during this time it is slow adjusting to the changing guidelines and rules.

Older Scholars Tutoring & Interning With Fairplay

Over the more than half-year pandemic we have lost some staff members who have either returned to the provinces with their families, to get away from Metro Manila, or couldn’t come into Payatas either because public transport was banned for months or because family members were particularly at-risk.

The good news is that our older scholars continue to step up and help to administer and manage the Cafe, Youth Center, and Sports. With school postponed for months, they had the time to assist with tutorials, help with running the Cafe, and figure out what was possible for us to do to continue the social and emotional support of our scholars.

They receive a small allowance for this as they lead a group of our younger scholars and mentor them with the tutorials but also as an ‘ate’ or ‘kuya’ (older sister/brother), to be a support network outside of the academic side of things.

Some of our College Scholars are also learning to administer and manage the Cafe and other operations. Duties include weekly budget requests, financial reporting, and inventory.

We’ll bring you more news about this to show how our older scholars are bridging the gap between their higher education in senior High School and University, and getting experience and training for practical skills on-the-job. But it’s one area we’re very optimistic about a long-term positive thing coming out of this pandemic.

So despite all the challenges one thing is for sure: people want to help. From our scholars, to our families in the community, to people outside of Payatas who hear about the extra problems those here face, people want to help. And so we remain grateful and look for opportunities to turn this pandemic and the long lockdown into good long-term possibilities.

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