Singapore School Manila, Philippines |

The Helping Hands Project – Help us, help others!

We are delighted to share a blog written by Saira Saundh, a student at Singapore School Manila who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2018-19 Global Goals Competition.

Their project is among over 620 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community. 

If many little people in many little places do many little things they can change the face of the Earth! -- The Helping Hands Project - Help us, help others!

Project Overview

The Helping Hands Project aims to hold collection and distribution drives for people to donate their unwanted household and pre-loved personal items and spare coins, all of which add on to clutter at our homes, however can be used to help the needy. These items will be used to cater the needs of local poor communities/communities affected by disasters/calamities such as typhoons.

The items which cannot be directly donated or those that are not needed by such communities will be used to raise funds. Funds raised will be used to provide essential commodities such as toiletries, medical supplies, menstrual products, undergarments, socks, eyeglasses food etc (items which are not usually donated however are most needed) to the needy.

We also aim to make use of skill sets of our family members, friend circle, teachers and parents of our school community to educate slum dwellers about our targeted SDGs and provide services such first aid, basic health check up, employment opportunities.

We believe that many people have good intentions and would like to positively contribute to society, however, they are unable to do so due to lack of time, or other commitments. We will enable people to actualise their kind intentions and help them put their extra things/household clutter/unwanted things/pre-loved things to good use.

We will share the details of our donations with everyone who contributes to our drive so they can see the impact of their donations and will be further motivated to contribute more and they feel good how they were able to make a positive impact in the society.

Poverty is rampant in the Philippines and many people lack basic necessities. We hope to do our bit by helping such people by holding feeding programs, medical missions and providing basic necessities to them.

Feeding programs in collaboration with Thrive: We partnered with Thrive to volunteer with them for their feeding programs. Thrive connects global donors and local volunteers to schoolchildren living in the poorest areas of the world by providing nutritious food and promoting healthy habits to give them a chance at a better life. Last February 10, we visited Smokey Mountains in Tondo, home of Manila’s poorest of poor to provide nutritious food and hygiene packs to children. We used money raised from our coin drive for this initiative. Using these funds, Thrive personnel arranged healthy meals and hygiene packs for the children residing in the community and we helped children to wash hands (learn the importance of hygiene- hand washing), distribute food items & hygiene packs. We were able to feed more than 150 children that day. We intend to do regular feeding programs in collaboration with Thrive.

Raising awareness on our targeted SDGs: On Feb 22, the Helping Hands Team invited Ms. Karla Ramos from the Giving Hope Foundation to give an educational presentation to the primary students & teachers in our school, about our two targeted goals Zero Hunger and No Poverty! The Giving Hope Foundation is a non-profit organisation that runs daily feeding programs for undernourished kids in public schools. Ms. Karla expounded on the two topics of poverty and hunger, specifically in the Philippines, and ways to help solve these problems! Through this partnership, we were able to raise awareness on these problems and inspire our school body to take action irrespective of their age. We in-turn funded the meal of 240 kids from Barangay Pineda(a poor community in Pasig, Metro Manila).

Donation Distribution Drive: On February 14, Helping Hands Team visited an urban poor community in the 3rd district of Manila. We were able to talk with Barangay* Kagawad (councillor) and some of the residents to understand the living conditions and needs of the people in this settlement. After going around the settlement, the team handed over their collected donations comprising of clothes, shoes, books, household items & toys, With this, the Helping Hands Team was able to help around 300 families staying in this community. After the meeting with the chairwoman, councillor and people of this settlement, we better understand the needs of this community and on our next visit we will be bringing the specific items needed by the community such as vitamins, diapers (there are about 70 babies staying in this tiny place!), milk, medicines etc.

*A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward.

Raised Funds through coin drives, garage sale and sale of Merchandise: We created our own merch. We sold shirts and pins during our school fair. We also held coin drives for people to declutter their homes and donate loose change lying unused at their homes. Lastly, we had a garage sale. The funds raised through all these will be used for our subsequent feeding programs, medical missions and to provide other needed items to poor communities.

Using social media as a tool to raise awareness about our project with regular updates about our activities. We have managed to get 1000 likes for FB page which means more and more people are associating with us for our cause. We share regular updates so those who support our cause may know how their contributions are been utilised and as such more people can be inspired to join this movement of creating a positive change in our society.

Sorted and packed the donations for the communities. For sorting, packing and our inventory management, we were able to successfully involve many volunteers from our school. We also treated them with food for their help again using a small portion of funds we raised. We understand that to achieve maximum possible impact we will have to have many people work alongside with us and thus we are recruiting more people to join our projects. Our friends and family member are indeed happy to join our cause seeing the positive impact we have had so far.

We have gained over 1,000 likes on our FB page, and around 200 on our IG account.
We held a garage sale, using a portion of our donations. We were able to raise 15,000 php by selling clothes and shoes for one day.
We have managed to raise 6500 php by selling our own merch. We sold shirts and pins during our school fair and are now continuing to sell them through our social media platforms and in our school.
Through our coin drive alone, we managed to raise 13,000 php as well, proving that every coin really does count.

We sent out flyers to each student in our school, and received a great number of donations for our chosen communities.
We re-used old boxes from our school and homes for packaging our donations as well as scratch paper to print our posters. This was done to minimize our carbon footprint as much as possible, and promote recycling.

Have additional drop-off locations and space for inventory: The school has offered us a place for our donation items so we can sort and pack them in our school during our free time. Some of our volunteers have also offered their houses as drop-off locations. As of now we have 8 drop-off locations, covering central points most of the Metro Manila.

We had around 100 donors who donated items of all sorts to be distributed.
We plan to prepare a presentation for our school to show the effects of our initiative and what our initiative is all about. This will also include us talking about the rest of our SDGs.

We plan on having a medical mission in the community we visited in 3rd District. During our communication with the community officials, medicines and vitamins were identified as one of their biggest needs. In line with this, we plan to invite doctors to give a basic free check-up to people living there.

Hold more feeding programs in collaboration with Thrive and Giving Hope Foundation. In order to be able to help more people, we at times will also just sponsor the feeding programs since it will not be possible for us to go every week for the feeding programs. We do intend to go as often as we can but for the times we can’t, we will still sponsor the meals using the funds we raise.

Hold multiple distribution drives to help the poor communities in Metro Manila.
Partner with more organizations to have feeding programs and seminars.
Hold educational seminars which increase employment opportunities of people from these communities so they may improve their living standards.

Our Journey

We have developed leadership skills, team skills, project management skills, people skills, communication skills, even planning, social media, time management skills to name a few.

We have learnt that everyone can contribute to make a positive change in society irrespective of their age or background; all you need is a will to do. We gained immense confidence in our capabilities through this project. It was very heartwarming to see the smiles of children and families after our feeding programs and distribution drive. We have so far managed our challenges well by setting SMART goals and breaking down each big goal into smaller achievable/doable steps. We prepared our timeline at the start of the project and worked accordingly.

We are very thankful for the learnings in the process and the relationships built. We also realised how blessed we all are. We interacted with the kids in the community and were happy to see them smiling and enjoying despite their conditions.We were able to get a lot of volunteers from our school and friend circle which enabled us to accomplish a lot in a short span of time.

Awakening, Empowering and Immensely Fruitful experience!

The Next Chapter

Yes, we will definitely recommend more people of our age to get involved in similar projects. We feel this is a great opportunity to give back to society, share our blessings with others. Through this project, we have come to realize that everyone irrespective of their age can take action to help make this world a better place. Every small action counts and makes a difference. Small actions consistently carried over a period of time lead to big positive changes. This project empowered us to believe that we all can be social activists. We would encourage everyone to start with something they are passionate about and find small ways in their local community to make things better. This project taught us that change truly begins with us! No matter your age, no matter the scale of your problem, if you have the will and choose to work with determination, change will happen.

The 2018-19 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2019. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.