A US-based non-governmental organization (NGO) doing outreach work on children of Ulingan, a slum community in Manila, was given recognition for its untiring efforts in uplifting the lives of children who are living in sub-standard conditions.
Volunteers of Project PEARLS, the US-based NGO organized by a mother and daughter team in California five years ago, have found fulfillment in their outreach efforts by focusing on the poorest of the poor children in Ulingan, a place that sits on a dumpsite and surrounded by charcaol factories that emit toxic smoke and where there is no electricity and no access to toilets or sanitation.
Volunteers of Project Pearls doing charity work on the children of Ulingan
According to Project PEARLS, Children as young as three-year olds work in the nearby charcoal factory to help their families.
Young kids working at Ulingan (charcoal factory) to support their famlly
Volunteer Kath Reyes, feeding the young at Ulingan in Manila's slum area
Volunteer Kath Reyes feeding a child at Ulingan
Project Pearls' founder Melissa Villa with children at Ulingan
For their humanitarian efforts, Melissa Villa and daughter Francesca Villa Mateo's Project PEARLS was given recognition as finalist in the 2012 Gawad Geny Lopez Bayaning Filipino Award.
Project Pearls founder Melissa Villa (3rd from left) at the Gawad Awards
The Award was named after the late Don Eugenio Lopez, Jr., who headed the Meralco Group of Companies and ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network. The Award was envisioned to give recognition to ordinary folks who had done heroic acts and extraordinary deeds.
Gawad Geny Lopez
Also, a Certificate of Recognition was given to Project PEARLS for the prestigious Bayaning Filipino Award, by the California Legislature, represented by Assembly member Jerry Hill.
Recognition by California legislature
In her recent facebook entry, Villa said, "Project PEARLS is not a fancy outreach ministry; it is nothing large or grandiose; it doesn't compete or seek for glory. We just simply want to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and hold the hands of those who hurt."
Villa must have been really amazed at how Project PEARLS volunteers share their time and efforts in helping the less fortunate in our society.
"Rain or shine, flood and mud, trash and flies, soot and smoke - nothing can really stop these amazing Project Pearls volunteers from going to Ulingan every Saturday morning. Their unconditional love and genuine compassion for humanity humbles me greatly." Villa said in her Facebook post.
For more information about Project PEARLS and for viewers who wish to volunteer their services for a worthy cause, please click here or visit Project Pearls' website here.