Organic gardening

Negros Island is a reference in terms of organic agriculture in the whole Philippines. Therefore the region holds the necessary know-how to transform the SDC's existing garden into an integrated organic learning and experimenting area.

Upon the recent partnership with CAPGEM, Capitol Government Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the team in charge of community development within CAPGEM has been supporting the SDC to set-up an organic garden within its premices. This garden represents the opportunity for the children cared at the SDC to grow their own fruits and vegetables, to be served directly at their table.

The local agriculturist, Mrs. Edna Garde, from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), has been promoting the benefits of organic agriculture for over 15 years. She is regularly sharing her knowledge and advice to the public through a local radio station. Mrs. Edna accepted with enthusiasm to get involved at the SDC on a weekly basis. Since October, she has been holding activities at the SDC every Thursday, with the objective of educating and raising awareness of the children on the importance of gardening to feed oneself on a daily basis while promoting the protection of the environment.

The following topics will be addressed with the young students throughout the sessions: how to enrich the soil with compost, preparation of plots and containers, concoction of natural fertilizers, effects of pesticides and chemicals, laying out of the gardening area, solid waste management, etc.
All the participants have showed great interest from the very beginning of this activity and they are now used to take care of the garden everyday. The first outcomes are very promising: eggplants, squash, and chinese cabbage are growing fast thanks to the suitable local climate.

The initial part of this training intends to provide the children with actual gardening skills, which might help them to find a job when they return to the community. In the Philippines, there are indeed over 30% of agriculturists. Mrs. Edna also wishes to maintain her support throughout the year in order to share the love of the earth and healthy food with as many underpriviledged children as possible. With all these fruits and vegetables to be prepared, the SDC's cook and his young assistants won't be out of work in 2013!


SDC's Family Day

On Saturday, 22nd of September was organized the very special Family Day, an event gathering all the families and friends of the children catered at the SDC for a festive and playful reunion. Every child and member of the team was very excited and nervous to see how the day will turn out. It was actually very successful as 26 families came to the SDC to support the children during that difficult period of detention.

The volunteers from Lifegate involved themselves and organized the first games, dance and music performances in the morning, with the participation of every child, family and staff member of the SDC. Lunch was a collective sharing from families and from the City with a whole assortment of local specialties: chicken and porc adobo, valenciana, bihon, afritada, etc. In the afternoon, Mrs Gina  F. Castro, Center Head of the SDC, introduced the art creations made by the children during the art therapy sessions held by Pastor Arthur Bayles, a local artist from Bacolod City involved at the SDC. The emotion was high among the families as the art topic focused on the children's life, dreams and family.
This discussion was followed by a movie about the relationship between parents and children. Afterward, the 'FUN' took over the SDC with the organization of basket-ball and collective games, which everyone took part of in a happy atmosphere: children and their families, university interns from UNO-R, SDC's team members, volunteers from Virlanie-Bacolod and Peace Corps, members from Lifegate Congregation, etc. The snack (locally called “merienda”) was offered by HOST-NGO to be shared with all the participants. The celebration ended with a “karaoke party”, which was the opportunity for the children to sing and dance with their friends until the night came along.

Life at SDC can be pretty hard as most of the children bring along their issues and difficult background. However this type of event helps them to share moments of pure youthful joy and leaves a warm feeling of love in their heart.