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Turning over of 12 Homes in Bignay: Turns 12 lives
Turning over of 12 Homes in Bignay: Turns 12 lives

By: Vicente Santos


By: Vicente Santos


Last 29 September 2018 at Northville 2, Bignay, Valenzuela, twelve (12) families were all smiles as they expressed utmost gratitude for having officially received their new homes from Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) and Fatima University Medical Center (FUMC) through a simple turnover ceremony. This is in conjunction with Fatima’s landmark project, “50 Homes for Fatima’s 50 Glorious Years”, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity— an international, non-governmental, and nonprofit organization dedicated to building homes for the world’s underprivileged sector.

Present at the event were University President, Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez; Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Mylene S. Abad Santos, and OLFU students and employees. The event was also graced by Habitat for Humanity’s Lala Baldelovar and Judith Dionisio. Baldelovar’s opening remarks demonstrated her gratefulness for the partnership made between Fatima and Habitat. She also cited the remarkable impact of involving the OLFU students in this project:

“It’s not just community development that this partnership would be supportive [of] but also inculcating within the youth, the next leaders, the future leaders of tomorrow how they should be contributing (at) their own resources, how the youth should be supporting community development.”

New homeowners Teodora Katubigan and Edmond Palacio spoke on behalf of all 12 beneficiaries, expressing their deep appreciation for the houses they never dreamt of having.

Turnover Of 50 Homes With Habitat (collage)

Nagpapasalamat po kami dahil sa kanila nagkaron kami ng bahay na maganda” Katubigan said.

(“We are very thankful because we now have a beautiful home because of them.”)

In addition, Fatima was able to interview another beneficiary, Ester Ocampo. She fondly shared her journey on being one of the recipients of the 50 homes. She recounted her family’s struggles of renting an apartment before being awarded her new home in Bignay. As she looked back at the time of the houses’ construction, she mentioned how touching it was to see Fatima employees who uncomplainingly shoveled through dirt under the heat of the sun.

Nakakahiya man pero talagang nakatulong iyon (yung paghuhukay). Hiyang hiya kami noon, kasi naawa rin ako. Pawis na pawis sila nung naghukay kami noon, hirap na hirap kami. Kaya lang maligaya naman ako kasi natulungan niyo talaga kami sa lahat ng bagay.” she said appreciatively.

(“It was embarrassing but it really helped a lot (the digging). We were so embarrassed that time, because I felt pity towards them. They were sweating so much while we were digging that time; we had a really hard time. But still, I felt happy because they were able to really help us in all aspects.”)

The turnover of the Bignay house to Ocampo also comes at a bittersweet time. Her husband who had been ailing from cancer even before the housing project began, unfortunately passed on while the house was being built. Now a widow, she is grateful that she has a home to call her own sans the rental worries of years past.

When asked about her plans for her new home, she revealed that she actually intends her second son to inherit the house when the right time comes. Hearing her intentions, Fatima knows that they have definitely achieved the primary aim for undertaking this project; the dream of making a difference in the lives of others and leaving a legacy that can last for another 50 years. Being able to provide shelter that will be passed on from one generation to another is truly a great honor for Fatima.

This monumental project is driven by OLFU’s Social Orientation and Community Involvement arm led by Neil Suñer, and fueled by volunteerism courtesy of the students and employees of Fatima.

As for the remaining houses that will complete the 50-home commitment, Suñer said construction is currently underway in Bistekville 5, Quezon City with targeted completion by November 2018.