Building a New School for Communities in the Philippines
A team of students from UVic, UBC and Queen’s came together to work just outside of Cebu City in the Visayas region of the Philippines on a sustainable development project.
Valuable contributions to the first construction stages of a basic trades school that will be sustainably run in the future to offer women in the sex trade an alternate, legitimate livelihood. Ultimately, the centre will double as a day care for children to accommodate single mothers in the trades training programs.
During their stay, they spent the majority of their time on the worksite of the future livelihood centre. They were the first of several teams from the Canadian NGO Developing World Connections (DWC) to work on the project, so the main triumph was preparing the site for construction and laying a foundation for the building. This involved intense manual labour, which included digging trenches, forming support structures, and pouring cement.
The worksite was located just outside Cebu’s city centre, right beside an impoverished community with scarce access to basic needs. By working alongside locals, and getting to know the children in the community, they felt truly welcome and were able to develop positive relationships. Although they only complete parts of the project during the stay, DWC has since sent other teams of Canadian volunteers to continue the work.
At the end of our construction work, a local charitable organization they had come into contact with during our stay offered to take them all on a 4-day sailing trip throughout some of the other many Filipino islands. After having just spent some time in the city, it was such a delight sailing the clear waters, sleeping on deck, visiting desolate islands, and swimming with whale sharks! The diversity of the different islands and the warmth of locals were extraordinary,
and definitely had a lasting impact on the entire team.
International volunteer opportunities offer incredible experiences to anyone involved. The value of living and working within a foreign community is beyond measure, and the relationships formed during these experiences are unforgettable.
They hope that they will continue to help eager volunteers have as memorable an experience as theirs!