What is GK Fiat?
The Gawad Kalinga (GK) Fiat Village - no connection to the Italian car-maker - is a community of 33 families who were given decent homes through the support of the local diocese in Silay, the Gawad Kalinga movement and donors and supporters from the local community and abroad. For years, these families were squatters, living in flood-prone areas, with no access to electricity, running water or toilet facilities. Many of the original families were day laborers for the Diocese of Silay, providing domestic services for the parish church as cleaners, gardeners, etc.
Just slightly more than 30% of the families have regular employment but earn an income of just 100 dollars. The rest of the families are contract workers with an average daily of income of between 1-2 dollars a day. With this income they will need to feed and provide for an average family size of 6 people.
In 2005, the Diocese of Silay partnered with Gawad Kalinga to provide decent homes for the church workers, beginning with the most destitute families. Using land donated by the church, local organizers were able to muster enough donors to build 21 concrete houses. Each house has electricity connection and a toilet. The water supply comes from 2 artesian wells and a water pump. Though basic, these amenities meant a great leap forward in the quality of life of these families, who for years have done without electricity and running water in makeshift huts (See pictures below).
In the bayanihan spirit that Gawad Kalinga inculcates in each of the village it helps build, each family helped in the construction of each others' houses, and in clearing and upkeep of the village. It is this spirit of cooperation and sharing that nurtures a sense of communal ownership and responsibility for each other's welfare.
A few years later, 5 more houses were built in the village through donors and supporters of Gawad Kalinga from as far as Australia and Europe. Finally, 7 more houses were built for the remaining squatter families in the area in 2010-2011, thus completing the GK-Parish Fiat Village community.
But while the transformation from destitute squatters to a vibrant community of hope is nothing short of a miracle in itself, important steps need to be done.
The most compelling need is for livelihood - a regular means of income for the families in this village; a way for them to move from being mere beneficiaries to income earners. The multi-purpose center promises the opportunity to do just that.
A Commitment To Help
Convinced that a multi-purpose center could open doors of opportunities for income generation, we are committed to help GK-Fiat villagers reach their goal. It is for this reason that we are launching this fund-raising campaign. The villagers have come far, with the gracious help of external supporters and donors. Now, their aspirations for a better life are within reach; all it needs is just another strong nudge. Hopefully what we do today, with your support, can be that final push. And, when built, the center should provide the villagers with the following:
- A workplace for their livelihood projects;
- An outlet to sell their handicrafts and produce;
- A venue for community meetings and discussions; and
- A learning center for the children of the community.
The Gawad Kalinga Philosophy
In summing up, we help because we want to help end poverty in the Philippines by building strong, productive, self-reliant communities.
This is the way of Gawad Kalinga, a way we fully support because unlike previous other models of poverty reduction and community development, this model just works and benefits those who need it the most.