The Charity group AUSSIE FRIENDS OF THE POOR came about as a result of an Immersion Trip to Cebu, The Philippines in 2015, led by Father John Iacono.
This is our story:
In September, 2015, 26 people mostly from St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Moorebank in Sydney, Australia, went to Cebu, in The Philippines.
Cebu Province has the same population as the area of Sydney, but is a ⅓ of the size.
Cebu: population of 4.2 M (2010) people in an area of just under 4, 500 square kilometers
Sydney: 12, 145 square km
Sydney: pop. 4.293 M (2012)
The youngest member was 9 years old and the oldest was 85 years of age.
Fr John Iacono wanted to show us the work that had been done there and where our money goes.
1. We visited an ORPHANAGE run by the Missionaries of Charities - The Sisters do a great job.
Parents would often drop their child into the centre, for the sisters to FEED their children breakfast, as often they didn’t have enough food for the family.
2. We visited people who live in the CEMETERY: A few years ago The Philippine Govt. gave 300 families one week to move out of an area for development. These ‘Displaced’ families had No WHERE to go, so they moved across the road into the cemetery. 1500 people live there. Some have jobs, and some money to buy the basics, but no home to go to.
3. We went to a GARBAGE TIP, where many people live and work. Fr John told us last year about the Bethlehem Day Care Centre built inside the tip, which he was involved in developing. We gave rice to the people and visited the pre-school. The conditions were very heart-breaking.
4. Another place we visited was the SAN PIO HOUSING PROJECT in Talisay . This community project was set up to relocate 360 families from the tip into a community. They had completed about 295 houses out of 360 when we were there. (October, 2015). The families are involved in the building of the community. If they qualify for the project, they have to give 600 hours of their time, whenever they can, working at the community. Then they are allocated a home to live in. These people are so grateful. We met 8 older ladies, who live there, who do volunteering work every day at the prison. They travel 1 ½ hours there and back each day. That’s their ‘paying forward’ to the community of Cebu.
The projects are designed to help people help themselves.
These were only a few places we visited. It was very moving and inspiring.
So inspiring in fact, that we decided to form a charity group…Aussie Friends of the Poor.
Since most of us are parishioners of St Joseph’s Moorebank we wanted to help not just The Philippines but also the great work of Fr Graham McIntyre has done for East Timor.
East Timor is a poorer country than The Philippines, especially in services but basic needs of the poor such as ample fresh water, the availability of nutritional food and the opportunity of education are needed equally in both areas.
Our Moneyboxes: 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to the people who need it, because Fr Graham, Fr John and The Aussie Friends of The Poor have direct contact with the sisters and other leaders over there. So the money gets to the people quickly.
Our group’s focus is: EDUCATION of the children (Knowledge is power. IMPROVING THE WELL-BEING OF THE POOR through better HEALTH and HYGIENE.
We believe in the quote:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day
TEACH him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.