“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