“The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination.” - John Schaar

BERTH Project is a vision of a new affordable housing. Economical, environmentally friendly, sustainable, green and wholistic.

It will be a created future of changed lives. Powered by a transformed sharing community based on core values of commitment, humility, respect, integrity, service and transformation.

At present our partnership with an organic demo farm in Bacolod, Philippines has provided us with knowledge, skills and expertise in organic farming which will help us with our FAITH (Food Always In The Home) garden program. A vital part of our focus being on food and economic sufficiency. An aquaponic organic garden will be next. It combines fish culture and organic farming. Our source of inspiration is the successful 'Backyard Aquaponic' in Western Australia.

Various seeds from Australian seed banks have already been purchased for planting in the Philippines for purposes of organic production and seed gathering.

This month our organic farming specialist Davien Pati-on will be leaving for Uganda, Africa for a two month assignment to teach, train and establish mini organic projects with the farmers of Uganda. Davien has done a similar assignment in Laos and Cambodia in Asia.

We have a team of three ladies involved in community outreach in an area of 50 kilometers in diameter with the municipality of Murcia. A local government that has recently been given a "Corruption Free Municipality Award" by the Commission on Audit. An auditing arm of the national government .

These ladies are working in cooperation with the town government together with the Ecumenical Fellowship in the area. Their involvement covers values and character formation workshops as well as social and sports development programs. They also assist groups to network with other development programs and are active members of a vigilante chaplaincy group called NACPHIL (National Association of Chaplains in the Philippines) that monitors abuses and corruption in the government.

Another beautiful, active partner Leah Aguirre who is the CEO of Katuwang Resource Center has given us very substantial support especially in organizing our BERTH Project board of directors and registering the project with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non government and non profit project.

Just about to be opened is our trust fund with Bank of the Philippine Islands which should enable us to have a PayPal account soon.

KATUWANG, a micro lending NGO is at present assisting more than 12 000 people to move out of poverty. I have visited some communities with her in April last year and been to her office several times which is enough to give myself a first hand experience of the extensive assistance that they are giving to many communities. “Mom Leah” as she is called is also one of the key persons involved in the establishment of LAB Organic Farm Project last April of 2012 of which Davien is the farm manager.

Our partnership with “hands on” people involved directly with “grass roots” people is providing us with a solid gateway into various communities where we will be operating in the near future.

In October last year Michael, through the assistance of Ray Trappel attended the EBAA (Earth Building Association of Australia) Conference which gave him the latest view on developments in Earth Building in Australia. BERTH Project has been received with positive interest and has already received actual support and contributions from some members. Michael is now an official member of EBAA.

Together with Eric Thomson and Charlie Ocampo, appointments are being arranged to meet up with some aid organizations in Melbourne and Sydney.

In Sydney, our BERTH Project working group has been organizing to send three Balikbayan boxes to BERTH Project Philippines. This shipment will consist mainly of early childhood learning materials gathered by Maritess in preparation for the community centers that we will be building as pilot projects in various communities. Our fund raising concert with Sining Lahi Cultural group in Sydney will help with the cost of the shipment. Special thanks to Menchie and Dr J. Languido and Leone Martinez of Austral Freight Couriers for giving us a special discount.

In October Michael will leave for Chiang Mai, Thailand to learn about bamboo treatment. With BAMBOOROO, a bamboo project, whose project manager is Mark Emery an Australian architect who from the start encouraged us to push forward and make BERTH Project happen.

After Thailand, Michael will fly to South Korea to attend a 'Peace for Life Conference ' in Jeju and connect with some Faith And Development networks during the '10th World Council of Churches Assembly' in Busan.

In mid November, Michael will be in the Philippines to touch base with our BERTH Project working group before returning to Sydney via Thailand.

In this update, we are sharing with you the truth that the realities that we have encountered have already changed our thinking and our lives. We take everything, positive and negative as precious opportunities for learning and encouragement. Our mission is clear: “to bring laughter, hope and love to others. To remind ourselves that our humanity is linked with theirs, to surrender to servanthood and to be thankful for everything always. With God's grace we can strive to live life giving lives so as to inspire others to do the same”.

May 2013 be a year of many blessings for all of us

BERTH Project working team

AuthorMichael Pillora

Instead of asking what our communities can do for us, we should be asking ourselves what we can do for our communities. "Berth" a place to rest or sleep. It also means to anchor, in order to find oneself in a safe and firm position. This acronym defines the very essence of this project. It is about building a home where commitment, humility , respect , integrity and service are the very values that will bring about the transformation needed so that one's restless being can find rest, joy and love.

BERTH project also means being aware of our responsibility towards the many gifts of creation, including our environment and how fragile it has become. The urgent need for our care and respect demands that we become advocates for 'green initiatives' this is why our choice is bamboo and earth. We embrace the three R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, therefore we will incorporate many simple uses for renewable energy.

Organic Farming will be at the forefront of our concern. There is so much chemicals in our food chain and the poisonous flow needs to be broken because of the ill health and environmental destruction that it has brought about. We will advocate for FAITH gardens (Food Always In The Home) program. We have partners in the Philippines (LAB) that have already started an Organic Demo Farm and subsequent Organic Workshops.

As well as introducing Solar Energy, there are also other new innovations like Composting Toilets and a food production technology called Aquaponics.

The project will seek to involve as many volunteers as possible. People power will be the driving force behind the implementation of this project. The varied areas of services will give many people a real chance to contribute, serve and be a blessing to others.

At this starting stage of the project it is important that while there is a solid reservoir of knowledge and skills ready to get BERTH project established it is good to realize that we are very much at the 'Stage of Possibilities". Everything needs to be seen under the umbrella of this reality.

With our mission ,vision, goals and values having been clearly stated it is with joy that we share with you the news that the BERTH project is now firmly in it's establishment phase. BERTH project has just been recently approved by the Philippine government Security and Exchange Commission.

Many thanks to our BERTH Philippine team led by Katuwang's Executive Director, Ms Leah Aguirre and the Board of Directors that made this approval possible and our sister projects like KATUWANG (info@katuwang.org) and LAB projects, which have been a source of great inspiration. In May 2009 Katuwang was servicing 10,500 clients which translates to 50,000 individuals being given opportunities to move out of poverty. These active and living links are paving a solid path for BERTH in becoming a real force for good in the near future.

In Australia, the Sydney team has already collected Sports and Learning Materials for Early Childhood Education which will be our standby materials for community centers which will be BERTH's pilot project prior to home building.

The ongoing establishment of BERTH has been blessed by the growing commitment of a number of people who have given their time and for some money as well as prayer support. These contributions have ensured a steady progress. We entrust everything in God's own timing and provision and remain thankful for so much that we have already received. In thanksgiving we remember everyone who have helped especially my son Jaime who has spent so much time with our brochures other materials and at present in the process of helping build our Website.

A new fold up brochure will be out soon it will give us a pictorial view of many other possibilities and photos of people who so far has been behind the scene of BERTH project in the making.

As a faith project we do not only ask what we can do for our communities but most importantly ask for wisdom to discern what God is doing in our communities so that we can be a part of his life giving action especially in peoples lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6
We trust in the above promise and ENJOY EVERYTHING !!

AuthorMichael Pillora