Tuesday, February 14, 2012

IFFAsia Mission Project 2012

Trusting in the Divine Providence of God with the spirit of going beyond...

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you all and Happy Valentine's Day!

We would like to share with you what’s going on in the current IFFAsia Mission Project 2012, here at SEARSOLIN, College of Agriculture of Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro.

SEARSOLIN stands for South East Asia Rural Social Leadership Institute. It is one of the outreach units of Xavier University and a training center dedicated to the formation of socially committed and competent leaders in the struggle for poverty alleviation and holistic human development. As an international center of learning, it caters to a wide range of diverse cultural and religious traditions in Asia, Pacific and Africa. It further aspires for a just social order, where respect for human dignity, deference of various religious beliefs, equitable distribution of wealth and care of the bounty of the earth prevail.

IFFAsia students and interns at SEARSOLIN, with Ms. Rachel Polestico, SEARSOLIN Executive Director (4th from right, front row), and Mr. Abraham Chongo, IFFAsia Mission Project Coordinator(1st from left, front row).

The students and staff of IFFAsia arrived in Cagayan de Oro on February 4, 2012 for their Technical and Skills Training. This is being done through classroom sessions, lectures and inputs from various practitioners within their own fields of expertise. A big part of these inputs are very much grounded in visits and exposures/immersions to various community initiatives in the area. Students and staff had an opportunity to visit the victims or survivors of the SENDONG typhoon, in the places affected. They also went to the relocation sites where these people have been provided with temporary shelters/tents. At this point in time, we can only say, it has really been a God-filled experience of last week.

One may want to ask, why Cagayan de Oro, and particularly SEARSOLIN? As we have mentioned earlier on, we have been moved by the Leadership Training Program of SEARSOLIN. It is a program which facilitates change and promotion of the welfare for the emerging rural communities. As a school of discipleship for young adults and professionals in Asia and society, IFFAsia regards itself as being at the service of local churches and communities. It strives to form the young adults/professionals as leaders for a renewed Church in Asia to become actively involved in the affairs of the church and civil society. IFFAsia envisions itself to be a hub of formation for laity in Asia. Its mandate is to transmit the needed knowledge and skills for effective ministry. At the same time instilling values and attitudes that can help to empower young adults and pastoral workers to become responsible leaders, capable of taking on initiatives for church renewal in Asia. Concretely, it simply means putting in place measures that put focus on quality program for excellence.

Having looked at the vision and programs of SEARSOLIN against that of IFFAsia, it became evident that these can be mutually enriching for both institutes. With this in mind, a program (Module) was designed with the theme or focus on: Building Entrepreneurship for Social Pastoral and Development Practitioners. The module aims to equip students and staff with the knowledge and skills needed in the promotion and development of micro-enterprise, marketing, management and micro-finance.

Students and staff, on the banks of the Cagayan de Oro River, offer prayers for all those affected by the Sendong typhoon, which caused massive flooding in a large part of the city last Dec., 2011.

At the end of this intensive course, students are expected to come up with two major outputs. The first is the Business Plan for a particular community (where they are being exposed), stipulating what steps they will take to initiate and implement this business venture. The second is the Social Development Action Plan (SEDAP). This is a proposal plan which will address the question of “what” each of the students intends to do when they go back home to their own countries and “where” (specific place) they intend to carry out these projects.

So far, the students have started exploring self-help financing schemes in support of new or existing micro-enterprises and other income-generating projects within the community. As part of a measure and strategy that help the learning groups to experience and see in action how enterprising people can be, the students were exposed to the present situation of the recent SENDONG calamity that took place in Cagayan de Oro. To help IFF Asia students and staff have a hands-on-experience of the impact of the tragedy, a “Sendong Tour” was organized. This tour gave students a wider perspective of how enterprising people can be even times of great calamity like, people have found a reason to strive more for a meaningful life. Micro-enterprise and Micro-finance are indeed a strategy and modality for survival and livelihood for communities in a recovery situation.

With this in mind, we invite you to journey with us as we continue to learn from local people and the SEARSOLIN community on what it means to be Social Development and Pastoral Micro-finance Entrepreneurs. We ask for your prayers, support and contributions in any way you can toward this year’s mission project. This is a big contribution to our formation program cost. It is also our way of sharing and being in solidarity with our local people out here.

The group having fun after finishing a community survey in Cabula (a local area affected by the recent flooding in the city), part of the requirements in their course.

We will be updating you on a day-to-day basis about the wonders the Lord is doing in these young people from all parts of Asia. God bless you and make you fruitful, generous and cheerful givers of life.

Abraham S. Chongo
Mission Project Coordinator, IFFAsia

We continue to appeal for your support for the project. For financial contributions, please email us at ifa.fondacio@gmail.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment