Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 15, 2006
Couples for Christ give care
Those who have share with desperately poor Filipino couple
By CELIA DeCASTRO
Special to the WCR
The Lord is hearing the cry of the poor in the Philippines. The Couples for Christ (CFC) through their project Gawad Kalinga (GK, meaning "giving care") are bringing hope to many of the poor in the Philippines.
The GK project is steadily making a remarkable difference in the lives of the homeless and squatter dwellers in many parts of the country - restoring their faith and hope and a chance to a life of dignity and fulfillment.
According to Greg Parillas, CFC Edmonton leader, "Gawad Kalinga is the project initiated by Couples for Christ in the Philippines in response to God's calling to bring glad tidings to the poor."
The hopelessness that has permeated the minds and hearts of many Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad is now being replaced with a spirit of hope and determination to work together for the poor, in the name of Christ.
Dylan Wilk, international partnerships coordinator of ANCOP International Inc., said, "Right now, a miracle is happening each day for the poor in the Philippines. The country is being slowly transformed for the better because of the work of GK. It is transforming the slum areas in many parts of the country into beautiful, peaceful communities."
ANCOP is the soliciting and marketing arm of Gawad Kalinga project. ANCOP is an acronym for Answering the Cry of the Poor.
On April 23, I attended the major information and fundraising of ANCOP International Canada Inc. at the Sherwood Park Alliance Church.
Wilk, the keynote speaker, recounted how, although he was born poor in Leeds, England, he attained early success in the business world. In 2000, he was named the ninth richest man in England below 30 years of age.
Despite possessing every material thing he could want he wasn't happy. He prayed and asked God, "Lord, why am I rich?" After some soul-searching, he realized he wanted to help the poor so he went around the world to find a program that would alleviate the suffering of those doomed to poverty.
After six months he went back to England without an answer.
In England, he met a Filipino friend who didn't feel good for having spent airfare to England with the amount that could have readily built two houses for the poor in a GK Project.
Intrigued, Dylan made a trip to the Philippines to see for himself the houses that could be built for $1,500. He was amazed by what he saw: communities of bright coloured houses, landscaped, with their own schools and health centres.
Rainbow of houses
"It was like walking into a rainbow of houses where no one was drinking or taking drugs or fighting, the people were working."
In Gawad Kalinga, he found the answer to his question why God had made him rich.
Dylan looked at his brand new BMW, saying to himself, "Just one wheel of this car could build three houses. My car stereo could build four houses." He then sold his BMW for US$70,000; went back to the Philippines in 2003 and built a community which was named BMW Village, consisting of 63 homes.
Dylan Wilk started a trend. After learning about what he did, many other wealthy individuals and institutions followed suit. They began donating land and money to build GK communities all over the Philippines. Although GK helps others in the name of Christ, not all recipients are Christians.
In the spirit of "bayanihan" (cooperation) Christians and Muslims in the southern Philippines are building houses for the poor and victims of natural catastrophes. Where there was war and antagonism between Christian and Muslim folks before, now there is peace.
I hope and pray that the GK (giving care) concept of helping the poor will spread like a wildfire, not just in the Philippines but also everywhere there is poverty. Very likely, giving dignity and justice to the poor and the oppressed will greatly increase the chances for peace and happiness among people, eliminating unnecessary violence.
In this consumerist/materialistic society, we need more Dylan Wilks, who, unlike the rich young man of the Gospel, heeded Jesus' advice to heart, "If you want to follow me, sell what you own and give your money to the poor." Give, he did.
Dylan Wilk initiated the GK777 Program - the GK's ultimate dream of building 700,000 homes in 7, 000 communities in seven years. If you are interested in helping financially or serving as a volunteer or would like more information, contact Couples for Christ at 447-0900.