Inspirational success stories from our partners and beneficiaries

It's a family thing: Volunteerism in the time of COVID

Written by Jonna Marie P. Marquez-Ranes
Jhayra and her family keeps the KALAHI-CIDSS spirit of volunteerism alive throughout the pandemic. Jhayra and her family keeps the KALAHI-CIDSS spirit of volunteerism alive throughout the pandemic. Jonna Marie P. Marquez-Ranes

“Listening to my mother’s story about her active involvement as KALAHI-CIDSS volunteer encourages me to become a volunteer, too”, says Jhayra Alcayde, from the municipality of Biliran, Biliran.

Her mother as her inspirational guide to volunteer

Jhayra’s mother had a great influence on her decision to volunteer under the KALAHI-CIDSS program. She considered her mother as an inspirational figure since she was a child; teaching her how to be selfless; to live not only for yourself, but also for others.

“My mother has taught me valuable lessons. Growing up, I saw the good things she was doing which influenced me to do the same.”

Volunteering through KALAHI CIDSSto help address COVID-19

Jhayra’s mother, Rosalie,started being a community volunteer in 2015. Being a community volunteer also gives her the opportunity help her barangay most especially when the crisis hit the country.

Rosalie said that being a volunteer is satisfying. Even if it is precarious amidst the pandemic, she is happy to serve her community. She added how grateful she is to have passed on her dedication to volunteer most especially to her children.

Jhayra witnessed her mother’s dedication towards her responsibilities as a volunteer–chairperson despite the health risks brought by pandemic. This act motivated her to also volunteer under the KALAHI-CIDSS, last year. Young as she is, she bravely went for the challenge. “Helping knows no age and no boundaries.”, her mother reminded her all the time.

Facilitating and leading the isolation facility

Rosalie was among the volunteer-chairpersons to lead the construction of a temporary isolation facility in the year 2020. All the volunteer-chairpersons met regularly discussed the status of implementation and to assist in monitoring the workers. They have also agreed to work as timekeepers in a reshuffling basis every week.

Communities identified the establishment of temporary isolation facility as their project under KALAHI-CIDSS, wherein all the 11 barangays with 4,061 households could benefit from the said project.

The project has helped to house or accommodate confirmed and suspected cases in an aim to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 virus.

Never letting crisis win over the desire to help

Jhayra and her mother Rosalie’s experiences as KALAHI-CIDSS volunteers “was not that easy, but it was something they can really to be proud of.” Their challenges involved having limited access to transportations due to the imposed lockdown. Both of them needed to travel from their home to the town proper for 15-20 minutes to attend meetings and supervise the project implementation. To ensure their safety, her brother constantly fetched them from their house to the KALAHI-CIDSS activities.

Jhayra did not mind this challenge, rather she saw it as a springboard to find her purpose as young adult during these unprecedented times.

“It was an opportunity that I, as a procurement team member, was able to perform the task assigned to me. I also became aware of canvassing, Pre-procurement meeting, opening of bids, monthly fiduciary and other activities facilitated by KALAHI staff. Friendship and camaraderie with other community volunteers was also developed. The best lesson I got was the knowledge in conducting procurement activities such as canvassing o fdifferent suppliers and observing how the bids and awards committee (BAC) evaluate the quotation using procurement criteria which is the lowest calculated and responsive bid (LCRB). We, as the procurement team members, also enjoyed the experience in writing the quotation, abstract and purchase order.

For Rosalie, as long as they strictly follow the health protocols, “crisis would not be a hindrance to extend any form of help,” she uttered.

Their family benefiting from the KALAHI-CIDSS project

The communities prioritized hiring displaced workers to give them opportunities for additional income from constructing the Php 6.5-M facility.

Jhayra’s father, Lucas, was among those given the chance to work in constructing the isolation facility.

Lucas happily shared that the income he received was able to help their family sustain their daily needs, especially since he lost his job as a construction worker due to pandemic.

The income also helped them pay for miscellaneous fees for school, considering Jhayra’s younger siblings are still in highschool and college level.

“During the pandemic, I lost the job that provided our daily subsistence. Good thing that with the process of KALAHI-CIDSS, displaced workers like me had the opportunity to have a temporary work. It means a lot for us.”, Lucas highlighted.

Volunteering for community service, and helping each other as family

Jhayra shared how she and her mother treat volunteerism as bonding time. They meet during meetings and helped each other with the paperwork.

Rosalie is supportive of her daughter’s active participation in KALAHI-CIDSS activities because this channels her daughter’s energy to righteous things.

Lucas, as the pillar of the home, also showed his support to her daughter and spouse. He says that when Jhayra and Rosalie are attending meetings and activities, the household chores are done by everyone including himself.

Taking pride in volunteering

Jhayra’s mother Rosalie has also been serving the barangay as Barangay Nutritionist Scholar (BNS) for six (6) years already.

As a barangay front-liner, she took charge in helping patients in the KALAHI-CIDSS isolation facility alleviate their anxieties. She roamed around the facility to ask for concerns.

“I serve the suspected and confirmed cases with their needs such as food, water and other necessities. I always ask them their conditions. The simple question such as ‘how are you?’ could make their day. It makes me happy that I can help them be at ease amidst the stressful and overwhelming situations they are in.”, Rosalie said. Rosalie takes pride in her endeavor as KALAHI-CIDSS volunteer and Barangay Nutritionist Scholar (BNS). More so that she led by example and showed her daughter Jhayra how volunteering makes a difference.

Jhayra feels grateful towards KALAHI-CIDSS program for many opportunities given to her and her family. “KALAHI-CIDSS has given us nothing but good things including lessons I will carry for the rest of my life. Volunteering gives me the realization of what I can do for my community.”


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