Our Speaker on Wednesday 22 March 2023 was Jane Walker MBE of the Purple Community Fund (https://www.p-c-f.org/) who has been working in the Philippines for the past 21 years on a programme to improve the lives of many.
For 21 years, The Purple Community Fund has been changing lives of the people in the Philippine slums for the better. They started with a two-pronged approach: educating the children and providing economic activity for the adults.
Previously, children in the slums could not go to school at all. They were condemned to live the same life of poverty as their parents. Jane explained the ‘Pagpag’ economy, based on food rescued from restaurant bins and from rubbish dumps, which sells for the equivalent of 30p per bucket. Even that though is beyond what many can afford. For children to go to school, there must be an incentive and nutritious food was one draw. The children were given more than they could eat so that there would be some for the parents – an incentive for the parents to ensure that the children attended school!
Next came economic activity. The rubbish dumps are scoured for aluminium and other metals, and these are sold to ‘junk dealers’ who sell the junk for much more than they pay the rubbish pickers, and who enforce the price structure with violence if required. The Purple Community Fund concentrates on making products from can ring pulls, and also makes shoes from old tyres and inner tubes. These products are sold without going through the junk dealers, and the family prospers.
Education is the ladder out of the pit of poverty, and the Purple Community Fund has helped an enormous number of people leave rubbish picking for others at rock bottom prices. Jane provided examples of Pharmacists, Engineers and Scientists who had taken part in the programme.
Her call to action was to support the programme through donations, through business start-up loans, through collecting ring pulls and buying the products made in the slums for the programme. She asked Club Members to spread the word about the Purple Community Fund, to sign up for their newsletter, and provide support on Social Media.