In 2014, students from Southern Hills Christian College first visited a small fishing hamlet called Sagay, in the Philippines, partnering with a Christian church group called the IRC (Ikthus Redeemed Communities).
Upon their return to Perth, SCEA Projects manager, Giles Creelman, facilitated an Australian Aid grant via the Australian Embassy in Manilla for a Fish Drying Facility, to benefit the community.
The proposal was successful and in August 2015, a Christian builder from Singapore completed the facility and in November students from Swan Christian College visited the site.
Please enjoy reading this letter received from the Pastor Bert Armada (ICR Community Development Leader) last week, showing how lives are being impacted in the Sagay community:
To the team at SCEA,
I wanted to share the good news that has come to us since you built us the Fish Drying facility here in Purok Bangkal, Sagay. An American company that specializes in crab meat came to Negros and has chosen Purok Bangkal to as its headquarters for its catching and cleaning premises.
They were so impressed by the facility you helped us build through the Australian Aid grant that they now pay our community to use it and have employed more than 50 of our townsfolk in a full-time capacity!
Bringing in this group (RGE Agridev Corp) to our community with this crab venture has already brought in many benefits.
They supplied nets and other needed materials to ten fishermen and gave them jobs that tripled their salaries. Ten more will be employed in three months time!
At the same time, our enterprise employs three full-time workers from our IRC community to supervise our 15 full-time crab meat pickers (our need would increase to 30 in the next few months and a full compliment of 50 crabmeat pickers once we expand production by the year's end!)
Just imagine, idle women now given work right where they live! This is what we want for the community to be empowered and equipped to run this enterprise.
RGE is presently leasing our facility and paying us P5,000.00 a month which we are putting into our scholarships fund for the students you know here.
The important consideration is that they are now here – and it is all because you gave us the facility through your advocacy efforts in the Australian Embassy and Australian Aid.
We have gained a lot of goodwill and credibility in our community besides boosting morale now that there is this community enterprise that promises to bring an economic boom to Purok Bangkal.
Please pass on some of these pictures to your friends in the Australian Embassy in Manila and all those great people supporting us at SCEA.
Each day I wake to see these women hard at work, earning a livelihood for their children – right here in Purok Bangkal. You cannot believe the joy it brings me!
We are so thankful that someone actually cared for us and the blessings that have come from this.
Bert Armada, Philippines