The ‘new normal’ seems to be taking shape here in the Philippines as the longest lockdown in the world continues in Metro Manila. Our sports program is still on hold as team sports are not allowed, but tutorials continue throughout the week with our older scholars enjoying the challenge of teaching our younger scholars.
Meanwhile, they continue to improve the administration of the Fairplay Cafe and participate in the growing number of clubs we can offer in this situation.
A Comics Club has started, with the aim of creating a Payatas FC Comics Story, while the Media Club will teach photography, videography, and graphic designing to interested students. In the Social Media Marketing Club, our older students who are studying marketing and relevant staff members are going through a Udemy course together.
The goal of these clubs is firstly to learn. They should be interesting and fun and a space where the scholars can learn something they enjoy learning about – without thinking about an exam or test for school later on.
And secondly it is to continue the progress in growing the capacity of our Fairplay scholars to intern with us, gain work experience, and then work with us on graduation. We are getting closer to the day when almost all our staff members will have been scholars of our program from the beginning – and that’s something we can be proud of.
With the lockdown over half a year long, families are beginning to get desperate. With a reduced income, or no income at all for many, crime around the country is starting to rise. The run-in to Christmas is well known in the Philippines to increase the crime rates as people try desperately to prepare for that time, however being unable to work for so long for so many has meant that theft and other crime is on the rise in some areas, as people look desperately at how they can survive this time.
Through the help of Save a Child, Save a Life, we were able to get access and give out Vitameal to families in our area. Fortified with 100% of the RDA of many different vitamins and minerals, the rice and lentil mix is super healthy.
While we generally shy away from short-term solutions, like feeding programs, the ongoing pandemic is exactly the right time when taking care of these short-term needs is most effective. So while the kids aren’t hungry today, we continue to work in the background to ensure that next year they won’t be hungry either and we can solve the root cause.
Another boost to our food donations came from two groups last week. April and Maiza of Bayanihan Home organised a donation to the Fairplay Cafe with:
- 140kg of cabbage
- 30kg of baguio beans
- extra 20kg of carrots from Rural Rising
This gave our families here in Payatas an extra boost this week. Most families here have had little to no household income for six months and eagerly await the chance to return to work.
- Potatos 20kg
- Carrots 10kg
- Garlic 7kg
- Sayote 25kg
- Kangkong 11kg
- Kalabasa 20kg
- Calamansi 30kg
Together it not only cuts costs for the Fairplay Cafe through reducing the need to buy ingredients at the market, but also gives a boost for our families with the vegetables we can’t use in that time being given to our families and staff in Payatas.
If you’d like to help the Fairplay Cafe and our families here with a donation towards fresh fruits and vegetables please do Contact Us.
We just ask a few days notice so we can organise the storage and distribution effectively to deliver on your kind support.
In preparation for sports returning at some point, we’ve also taken this time to experiment with some mini-goals and other equipment.
Previously we had PVC pipes for the mini-goals and they take a battering from being thwacked with balls each training session. With the local ingenuity of Payatas locals we have been able to make some mini-goals (for 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, rondo drills, etc.) out of metal. These should last much, much longer and therefore while being a little more expensive initially, should provide much better value in the long-run.
We have a few more ideas in mind for sports equipment to be able to make locally as well, and perhaps eventually offer for other teams too as a social business.
So it remains a challenging time all round, but there is some hope and optimism that we can learn, grow, and become stronger through this pressure. If you’re looking for the positives in a situation like this, look to the helpers. There will always be helpers. And we’re grateful to them and to you for support us in this time.