Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Christmas Gift Giving

This Christmas season, Cherry Mobile CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) team crossed seas and skies, and travelled thousands of miles on rough roads and hilly places just to bring the message of hope and compassion for the survivors of the fatal earthquake and typhoon Yolanda.

It was extremely low tide but CSR team crossed the sea and bring these Christmas presents to hundreds of families living in Lakawon Island, Cadiz, Negros.

The best people to reach out this Christmas are those who think they have no reason to celebrate. In the midst of loss, hopelessness, and despair, Cherry Mobile CSR team went back to Visayas Region and took the initiative to ignite a spark of hope among the families affected by the fatal earthquake last October and typhoon Yolanda in November.  

She is not forgotten this Christmas because Cherry Mobile CARES…

Father and child in Bantayan Island, Cebu, patiently waited for their family name to be called up to receive bags of noche buena goods.

On the second week of December, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team of Cherry Mobile set out to 12 communities in the Visayas area bringing noche buena packs and a lot of game prizes to help the affected families recover from stress trauma.

Four teams simultaneously visited more than 12 communities in Iloilo, Bohol, Cebu, Negros, and Capiz to hold a simple Christmas party for the affected families in the poorest of the poor sector.  CSR volunteers (certified social workers, teachers, business owners, students, government & private employees) conducted stress debriefing thru games for the young and the elderly.

Participants in the community with the oldest Cherry Mobile units received prizes. Kids, moms, and grannies laughed their hearts out as they enjoyed the games prepared by the volunteer organizers. In some areas, the local people even performed a dance number during the program. After a short inspirational talk from Cherry Mobile representatives about the true meaning of Christmas, the whole crowd sang a Christmas song together, rekindling the spirit of compassion, sharing, and giving which is the essential value of the season.

Afterwards, the volunteer organizers drew a raffle for the mobile phones, backpacks, and aluminium water bottles. The crowd cheered with excitement as they wished for their numbers to be called.

The winners of the raffles joyfully received the new mobile units with which they could replace their old phones soaked in water by typhoon Yolanda.

After the short program which was held in more than 12 communities, each family received a generous pack of noche buena goods. Around 2,700 families were made glad by Cherry Mobile with these food gifts.

The essence of Christmas is the realization that there is always a reason to celebrate the season despite all the storms that passed in 2013. Christmas is the best season to be selfless and share more because of the message of love that defines the Reason for the season. Because we freely received love and provision from above, we can share it to those who need comfort and compassion. This is how Cherry Mobile cares unceasingly—by letting the compassion flow through a multitude of hearts until it creates ripples that will eventually cover the entire nation.

This season we are celebrating big and not forgetting what we are celebrating for. This Christmas, Cherry Mobile makes the best preparation efforts, invests the biggest resource budget, and brings out the widest smiles to make a memorable Christmas experience for a lot of people in places where devastation left tremendous loss and shattered hope.

Whatever storms you have gone through this year 2013, you have a Hope to cling on to. With this Hope in mind, you can celebrate the birth of the Saviour. From the Cherry Mobile CSR team, have a merry, blessed Christmas!

Written by Keren Grace Tandico 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Caring for Rural Health: Barangay Cherry Mobile Conducts Medical Mission

Extra rainy days require extra caution from everyone as it tends to bring coughs and colds and serious illnesses to some. Barangay Cherry Mobile had the opportunity to help local residents overcome this health challenge as they conducted a medical mission in the mountainous area of Sta. Maria, Laguna, together with a team of expert medical practitioners.

Sta. Maria is the third largest town in Laguna when it comes to land area, but it is still a fourth class municipality because of resources and facilities that are still being developed. It is the northernmost town in Laguna, lying next to Pililla, Rizal, and Real, Quezon. Sta. Maria currently has an estimate population of 28,000.

There is no hospital in town so residents go to Pakil Laguna District Hospital for treatment. Out of 25 barangays, there are only five health centers, each manned by midwives but supervised by only one municipal doctor. The health centers usually serve as lying in clinics and are available for pre natal check-ups and infant vaccination. The last medical mission was conducted by the Philippine Army in this barangay three years ago.

The Barangay Cherry Mobile medical mission was supported by Manila Medical Society, and the local municipality. It was held in Barangay Bagumbayan, the central barangay where upland barangays situated in the mountainous terrain of Sta. Maria would come down for needs that cannot be met by their barangay council.

Bagumbayan is progressive compared to other barangays in terms of education, having its own elementary and high school buildings, a few of which are newly constructed. Its livelihood activities are also sustainable, being able to give every household a water pipeline after long years of depending on water pumps. The barangay has its own maternity clinic and an ambulance, which many of the upland barangays borrow whenever they need to bring an ailing patient to the hospital located in the next town. This is the reason that the local residents were glad to know that a medical mission would be conducted in their area.

The medical mission took place at the Bagumbayan Elementary School, at the center of activities among barangays in the mountainous terrain of Sta. Maria.
The covered court of the elementary school served as the main venue for the four stations of the medical mission. 

The team is composed of doctors from Manila Medical Society, a number of nurses from the rural health unit, and Cherry Mobile employee volunteers. The team traveled almost four hours to reach the location, brought medicines and food with them, and prepared their hearts to serve those who needed medical attention but somehow could not afford it for themselves and for their families. Local health workers headed by municipal health worker Doctor Cynthia Tamares also helped with the medical mission.

Health workers from the municipality also volunteered their time to help with the medical mission.

The mission started at 9:00 in the morning and ended at 3:00 in the afternoon. Early in the morning people already lined up with their children, the elderly accompanied by their children, and the sickly brought on a chair by caring neighbors and friends.

The patients came by family: after one doctor checks the mother, he would check each of her children who also went with her to the medical mission.

Many people come in batches to register and have a check-up, bringing along with them family members and relatives.
The elderly sitting on wheel chairs were brought by their relatives for a medical checkup.

The process began with the registration. Right after receiving the patient’s information sheet, they proceed to the vital signs section, where important body measurements such as blood pressure, weight, and height among others are taken. Afterwards they take turns in having a consultation with one of the doctors. Those prescribed with medicines would go to the mini pharmacy to claim free medicines. Approximately 350 people had their medical check-ups and were able to receive free prescribed medicines. The common illnesses found among the patients were coughs, colds, tuberculosis, hypertension and diabetes.

This is one sample of the signages posted around the venue as reminders to patients.

Patients go directly to the registration table upon arrival to present their stub and get their patient's information sheet.
After registering, the patients would proceed to the Vital Signs section where nurses take the vital statistics as required in the patient's information sheet.
Patients wait in line for their turn at the consultation station, where nine doctors were set to examine their physical condition.

Medical missions as some might say, is like just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Oftentimes, they would say that medical missions barely help meet the needs of the community, because the team is there for only a short period of time and provides only a percentage of the dosage needed to completely cure the illnesses of the residents. But Barangay Cherry Mobile believes that if there is one good thing that can be done, it should be done without hesitation. And it should be done with the intent of letting the people feel that there is hope, there is an opportunity to level up their way of living, and that there is a way for them to go beyond their current situation if they would be first to help themselves up.

The volunteers were all smiles after the whole day activity of bringing medical assistance to those who needed it. 

Cherry Mobile does not hesitate to give help to far-flung areasto communities who are barely able to give back in return for what they receive from the companybecause it is a way of starting ripples of hope and encouragement that would continue on to impact others. More than just gaining points for social marketing, the main point for conducting such outreach activities is to raise awareness of the various needs in our country, and to meet some of these needs by connecting those who have the knowledge to those who need the compassion. Indeed, it is Barangay Cherry Mobile’s way of reaching out to the nation by changing one community a time.

To view more pictures about Barangay Cherry Mobile’s Mission, click here

Written by Keren Grace Tandico

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Culture of Hope and Conquest: Cherry Mobile Extends Help to 12, 500 Families Devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda

Nothing compares to the joy of witnessing survivors who got a spark of hope in their eyes especially those on the brink of giving up. This is what employee volunteers from Cherry Mobile experienced when they flew to different locations in the Visayas region to reach out to more than 12,000 families affected by the typhoon Yolanda. While the majority are focused on helping the victims in Tacloban, the relief operation team composed of employee volunteers from Cherry Mobile went to northern parts of Iloilo, Roxas City, Cadiz, Negros Occidental, Bantayan Island, Cebu, and Ormoc to give relief packs to communities that are not highlighted in the news but also suffered greatly from the typhoon.

A lot of preparations were made, and one sure thing out of the list is wasted time. As soon as the news was heard on air, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team of Cherry Mobile coordinated with the dealers and partner organizations in locations where the typhoon struck a lot of families. The relief team was divided into six groups to personally hand out help to the communities. These communities were totally devastated. People suffered from hunger and extreme heat at daytime due to absence of trees which were destroyed by the super typhoon. People chilled at night, suffering from torn houses, washed out farms and crop fields, fallen electricity posts, and lost loved ones.

The captivating island of Bantayan (Cebu) after the typhoon Yolanda struck the land

Areas in Bantayan, Cebu, and some municipalities in Iloilo suffer loss of electricity for weeks due to fallen electricity posts.

The typhoon withered crop fields and farms, leaving the communities profitless and foodless.

Employee volunteers, the staff of Cherry Mobile dealers, people from partner organizations, students from colleges and universities, and representatives from the local government units worked together in repacking the purchased goods, securing the logistics, and in distributing the goods personally. The whole process of planning and executing the relief operation was toilsome and it indeed took a great deal of time, strength, and resources from the volunteers. The cooperation of each involved party, however, made the burden less difficult to carry.

Employees from Aerophone in Cebu gladly helped repack the goods in their office after work hours.

Volunteers from Galleon Trading helped produce 2,086 relief packs for the affected municipalities in Cadiz, Negros Occidental.

Pharmacy students from the University of San Carlos stayed late at night to prepare the relief packs for residents of Bantayan Island.

Regional Emergency Assistance Communications Team (REACT) Philippines – Metro Cebu Group played a big part in distributing the goods in Bantayan Island.

The Negros team worked even up to midnight to ensure that relief goods would reach the right beneficiaries

In this photo taken by a student volunteer from Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion, the volunteers had to lift up the wires of a fallen electricity post to be able to get through to the relief distribution venue.
Students and faculty members from Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion volunteered their time and strength to help distribute goods to three barangays in Roxas.

Despite all the stress, hunger pangs, sleepless nights and sickness (before, during and after the relief operation) experienced by the volunteers, all hardships were gone when the volunteers saw the smiles of the beneficiaries. They were willing to wait in long lines at very early in the morning or in the heat of the midday sun just to receive one share of relief goods. They were so grateful for what simple help they got from Cherry Mobile. The regained hope evident in their eyes proved that the relief operation, hard as it was, is not in vain. It helped them rekindled their shattered hopes and started to mend their broken spirits.

Bantayan residents waited along the roads in hopes that a relief truck would pass by, and got an answered prayer.

Kids get their share of food packs when the relief team distributed goods in Bacolod.

It is amazing how calamity brings people together. The local communities gladly received people from other places who came to help, and the relief operation team gladly held out their hands to assist—not as an effort on their own, but as a collective action of different groups uniting for the purpose of uplifting those struck down by disaster.

There were lots of challenges; as they say, there is no such thing as a perfect disaster relief operation. One could only wish that natural disasters would never again occur in our country. But one certain thing is that no matter what challenge may come, the strongest people—the Filipinos—will live to overcome it. This is the kind of lifestyle Cherry Mobile seeks to uphold and value: a lifestyle of hope and conquest.

Written by Keren Grace Tandico

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Juan Experience: Cherry Mobile Employees Volunteer to Build Houses

Before October ended, Cherry Mobile brought 30 of its employees to a venue outside the office premises where they could realize what more their hands could build for the community.

Thirty (30) Cherry Mobile employees went as a team to one of the project sites of Habitat for Humanity Philippines (Habitat) at Bistekville I, Payatas, Quezon City. The participants gathered at 7:30 AM in the office and rode a tour bus from the office at Apacible to the project site for the Juan Builds activity.

A few minutes after arrival, the site engineer gave an orientation about the work being done in the construction site and how volunteers contribute to the whole process of building houses for those living along the poverty line. Habitat envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live, because they believe that one way to fight poverty, create strong families, and build healthy families is to help Filipino families obtain decent housing. Through the Juan Builds campaign, Habitat gives volunteer partners (companies and individuals alike) the opportunity to help fund housing and community projects for Filipino families, as well as the chance to be engaged by actually helping build houses during their volunteer hours. Cherry Mobile had the chance to contribute to the pool of resources (both financial and workforce) that Habitat is using to provide shelter specifically for school teachers working at the public school located in Quezon City, as well as for families being relocated from their previous homes at danger zones (e.g. dumpsites, waterways, squatters area.)

Right after the orientation, the site engineer led the team in a short warming exercise. The volunteers were then divided into two groups and the work began.

The employee volunteers were readying their bodies for a morning of "heavy" work--excavating and brick hauling.

One group worked on excavating the land in preparation for the laying of the house foundation, and the other group were in charge of brick hauling. Excavation was harder than usual for the volunteers because the rains turned the land into sticky mud, making it hard to dig and for troughs to form. Brick hauling was relatively easy for the male volunteers but required extra effort from the female volunteers. They completed the task despite the rain shower that accompanied them the whole morning. The two groups shifted tasks after a short break in the morning.

No load is ever heavy when there is teamwork. Employee volunteers formed a human chain to haul hollow blocks from one side of the site to another.
Excavating was an extreme effort exerted by the volunteers as the rains turned the soil to sticky mud.

The employees willingly helped out with the preparation of the the foundation for houses that will look much like the two-storey homes at the background.
At the end of the activity, the site engineer gave the group a progress report and stated that they were able to prepare ground for laying the foundation of five houses and hauled bricks that can be used to build at least two houses.

The volunteers were glad about their accomplishment. It cost them time and an extra amount of strength to help at the construction site, but it certainly gave them first-hand experience of what it is like to build houses for a cause. The activity brought a lot of realizations to theminsights on what they help build, who needs which buildings and who help them meet those needs.

Small things do count, because it is the small things that make up the big ones. Cherry Mobile volunteers spent half a day helping build houses, but it did build up something within thema sense of being part of a community and contributing to it, a conviction of actually doing something more than just wishing and praying for the needy. It is another facet of life that they experience, and with it comes the awakening to the reality of life. It is a small act of helping bring change to the community. And as they do so, they eventually see that change is also happening within thema growing desire to help more, and to serve more.

The Barangay Cherry Mobile team after a whole morning of volunteer work with Habitat for the cause of giving every Juan a decent place to live.

Written by Keren Grace Tandico