In partnership with Hineleban Foundation, the volunteers of Better Together 2018 OVP also planted over 100 trees in Bukidnon to promote environmental conservation.
Hineleban Foundation is engaged in the preservation and restoration of rainforests and critical watersheds. It is also involved in developing livelihood opportunities for the indigenous people (IP) in Bukidnon and Lanao Del Sur in Mindanao.
Huang Kun, Network Cloud Engineer at Singtel, said the overseas volunteering program served as an eye-opener for him.
“Everyone deserves access to good education. What we have done is nowhere near adequate for them. More nourishment, be it material or non-material, will be beneficial to these kids who will become leaders in the next two decades. I sincerely hope that I can give back more in the future, and wish this program can continue to expand, and create greater impact by making the world a better place,” Huang said.
For Walid Sukkarieh, Associate Director at Optus, seeing the unfortunate circumstances that some communities in Northern Mindanao face inspired him to do more volunteering activities in his hometown.
“Nobody will ever forget the smiles on those little kids’ faces at both Indahag and City Central schools, nor those on our own faces for having experienced the opportunity to be surrounded by such joyful people who continue smiling despite the challenges they face. The unfortunate circumstances and challenges that these communities face are quite common and replicated in our own backyards and beyond. Let's get back home and drive the continued expansion of volunteering and awareness for those less privileged than ourselves,” he added.
The Better Together program is now on its seventh year. The program was created to foster engagement opportunities for employees of Singtel and its affiliates. Back in 2011, Singtel launched its first OVP in the Philippines with Gawad Kalinga where volunteers helped build villages and communities.
In 2017, the OVP was done through a four-day outreach program at the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (Centex) in Bauan, Batangas, and Taal Lake Conservation Center. The volunteers conducted a DTP workshop, sports clinic, school repairs, under Brigada Eskwela, storytelling sessions, as well as a clean-up drive. Other OVP efforts in 2017 were done in Thailand, Australia, and India.