The WORD in Other Words by Fr Gil Alejandria SVD (Philippines)
Thursday Week 7 Ordinary Time
For more than two years now, the JPIC office of the SVD Philippine central province has been helping the homeless of Manila through the KALINGA program. KALINGA stands for KAin (eat), LIgo (bath) NG Ayos (properly and decently). The program provided a centre for the homeless to have a proper shower and free lunch, all made possible by volunteers and generous benefactors who believe in the message of the Gospel that we should do something for the little ones and the least in our society.
The centre, located at the Catholic Trade building of the Divine Word Missionaries along Tayuman Street in Manila, caters three times a week to more than a hundred homeless individuals. The number of beneficiaries is a mere fraction of the total homeless people in Manila, and is restrained by the limited resources of the centre. The apostolate manages to continue because of the volunteers and donors who see in the centre an opportunity to give to the less privileged among us.
The efforts of the KALINGA centre may not solve the problem of poverty and homelessness, bu for those who want to live out the gospel message of charity, to practice what they preach, it is a simple and selfless way to aspire to be true Christians.
The beneficiaries have also acknowledged that they are able to regain a measure of their dignity when they get physically cleansed.
The program is slowly evolving also to provide opportunities for some to learn to read and write through the Alternative Learning System. Job opportunities and livelihood training have also been made available.
It is evident that when there is sincere efforts to help those in need, many things become possible.