For veterinarian Anton Lim and his family, providing even the most basic needs to disadvantaged people are enough to bring them hope for a better future. Dr. Lim, who heads the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, has been active in various charitable initiatives since 2010, helping to address the prevalent needs of the less fortunate in society.
Recently, the Foundation partnered with Project P.E.A.R.L.S. (Peace Education Aspiration Respect Love Smiles) of Melissa Villa-Wilcox, an OFW from San Jose, California, to donate bags and school supplies to more than 300 kids of families in Barangay Matiang in Bocaue, Bulacan. These families were relocated from a slum community in Tondo, Manila.
The families of Lim and Villa-Wilcox were among the past recipients of the Jollibee Family Values Awards, Jollibee’s annual recognition for exemplary Filipino families.
During the event which was co-sponsored by Bag 943, a social entrepreneurship venture which gives schoolbags to students to champion education, the kids received backpacks filled with school supplies. They were also treated to Jollibee snacks in the special Jolly Joy Box and a special appearance of the well-loved Jollibee.
“Giving the kids school bags is just the first step in helping boost the morale of the youngsters and keeping their dreams of a better education within reach. It’s more than just a bag. It’s a symbol of where you put your pencil and notebook, and that represents hope,” said Dr. Lim.“We just don’t come here and give bags, we also encourage them to study hard because that’s the only way our country will move forward.”
The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation started in Layag-Layag, a mangrove village in Zamboanga City where children brave the river waters just to reach school. The foundation provided boats to ferry the students to school and to enable the families to earn a living through fishing.
Project P.E.A.R.L.S., on the other hand, was established in the Philippines and the U.S.A. in 2008 by founder and executive director Melissa Villa-Wilcox, to develop outreach programs and gather volunteers to help the poorest of the poor. Her husband, Clif Wilcox, and their daughter Francesca help in the fundraising events and in developing educational programs while her brother, Juan, oversees all local operations as Team Leader in the Philippines. The group has worked hard to relocate the community away from Barangay Ulingan in Tondo where factories threaten the health of the children. Scholarship grants are also provided by the organization for the affected students.
Despite having different advocacy programs, these organizations work hand-in-hand to achieve the vision of making the Philippines a better place.
The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation and Project P.E.A.R.L.S. continue to partner with other non-government organizations and tap volunteers to help improve lives and promote positive values. As the outreach activities reach more communities, other families and organizations are also encouraged to join and contribute to the advocacies.
Today, the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation is able to reach more places in the country. “We’re in 55 communities nationwide. We do feeding and de-worming programs, but our bottom line is education,” Dr. Lim said.
“Charity starts at home, but it shouldn’t stop there. Marami pang dapattulungan,” concludedVilla-Wilcox.