Some 60 supporters of Rotary Homes gathered at the City Club Lounge on Ayala Avenue on October 16 for the Rotary Homes Members’ Night, an annual event aimed at presenting to members an update on the program of the Rotary Homes Foundation and a progress report on the work done in Rotary Homes.
One of the highlights of the event was the turnover to PDG Sid of our donation of P400,000 for two housing units. This latest donation brought to 14 the number of houses donated by the Club so far.
Rotary Homes is a community in Paranaque jointly built by RI District 3830 and the city government of Paranaque. It has two complementary objectives—one, to revive the moribund Paranaque River to its pristine condition by enticing the families that have settled on its banks and polluted it to move out; and two, to build a community for said families to settle in and live decent, self-reliant lives.
At the helm of the project is PDG Sid Garcia who chairs the Rotary Homes Foundation.
The Members’ Night event was thought of to attract new members and new supporters while encouraging members to actively contribute to the work by signing up in a committee or two. And of course, as always, it is a platform for fellowship among RH supporters within and outside Rotary. Membership in Rotary Homes costs P2,000 per annum.
The program began with an inspiring invocation by PE Ben Valdecanas of RC Makati Dasmarinas, in which he thanked God for His presence in hard times “so that we shall lean on You,” on bright and sunny days so we can share what we have with those who have less, and on holy days, when we celebrate our families and friends. He asked that God speak for those who have no voice, heal those who are in pain, keep the lonely company, shower the depressed with hope, help us provide for the needs of others and give the world that which it needs the most: peace.
This was followed by a report on the status of Rotary Homes by PDG Herman Gamboa, a community assessment report—number of families, number of jobless, type of jobs, etc.—by PDG Sue Sta. Maria, and a presentation by PDG Sid on the evolution of Rotary Homes, from its inception in 2010, through its teething and growing-up pains, to its present state as a lived-in community with many amenities and services.
Rotary Homes has come a long way from what it was when the City of Paranaque donated a 4.6-hectare property in Brgy. La Huerta as the site of the RH community. With support from individual and institutional donors, notably Rotarians and Rotary Clubs here and abroad, the community was built from the ground, unit by unit, brick by brick. A total of 238 housing units have so far been built and turned over to the informal settlers who had polluted the Paranaque River to near death and because of Rotary Homes became proud homeowners for the first time in their lives.
With the goal of developing the place into an integrated community, the RH Foundation has put up a number of facilities meant to enhance the living conditions in the place.
Every effort has been made to assess and meet community needs. The place is secured with a gate and perimeter fence. Basic utilities are provided—there is electric power to light up houses and streets and run home appliances; there is clean water running from pipes and into faucets in the homes; and there are e-connections to run electronic devices.
For the children, there is a day care center donated by Standard Insurance and a playground where they spend time doing what children do and ought to do—play. There is also a library that serves as a resource center for students and other learners and a health clinic that addresses basic health needs--both donated by Rotarians from District 3490-Taiwan. There is also a multipurpose hall that serves as venue for lectures, seminars and workshops as well as social gatherings. There are spaces for residents to build pocket gardens of ornamentals and/or vegetables.
The community’s spiritual needs have not been forgotten either. PDG Sid has seen to it that the facilities menu included a multi-faith/non-denominational place of worship, built courtesy of St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Medical missions are periodically held in the community and in December, Rotarians from various clubs schedule gift giving activities and Christmas parties for the children.
PDG Sid ended his presentation with the Foundation’s vision of the future—a plan to apply this same Rotary Homes concept to a project to resettle informal settlers in Laguna de Bay to a community of their own in Muntinlupa.
There to lend support to PDG Sid were PP David Ackerman, who emceed the program, VP/Dir. Louie Aseoche, Chito Cantada, IPP Jun Jun Dayrit, Chris Ferareza, PN Peter Manzano, PE Bimbo Mills, PP Reggie Nolido, Manny Padiernos, PDG Tony Quila, Dir. Derrick Tan, and PP Roland Young.