Filipino Charity Rises to the Challenge Amid Lockdown

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By Queenie Lee Tanjay

The news nowadays becomes quickly saturated with disheartening content accrued to the ongoing pandemic and national issues; however, it does not also fail to feature the outpour of support from several individuals and communities.

One that does deserve recognition is the Good Heart NZPH Foundation Charitable Trust.

Good Heart Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to help migrants and OFWs with regards to their settlement in New Zealand. Even during the lockdown, the charity remains steadfast with its mission to help fellow Filipinos.

“The Foundation encountered extreme difficulties during the lockdown as we were inundated with requests for assistance,” Lani Larsen, the head of Operation Foodbank, said. “As the chairman, I anchored the relief operation and worked hard to ensure that the messages of requests can be attended to. We were able to distribute food bags to those that have been caught in lockdown due to financial stress and give cash donations to nearly 600 recipients all over New Zealand.”

In addition to these, the Foundation also assisted with several issues regarding redundancy, wage subsidy scheme, and immigration.

All of these were made possible by the shared initiative of donors and the embassy to mobilize donation drives.

“COVID has brought out the best in Filipinos during trying times. Their resilience is beyond comparison. And my volunteers were delivering goods after work. So inspiring,” Lani remarked.

“To give credits to my hardworking team, they are Edgar Calapati (Auckland), Dennis Magcalas (Auckland), Corazon Sitchon (Hamilton), Alice Lozano (Administration Manager, Wellington), Atty. Ronan de Guzman (volunteer Immigration Advisor, Hamilton), Rodel Agustin Duquioag (Blenheim), Ivan & Elizabeth Presquito (Christchurch), Iya Brady, among others,” Lani added. All of them display dedication to serve the community, including the elders, international students, and fellow OFWs.

When the pandemic is over, the Foundation looks forward to the continuity of some of its projects to name – first founding anniversary, South Island forum, Ambassador’s Cup 2020, VAMBA Tourism, and advocacies relating to OFW rights and improvement of life and work quality in NZ.

Good Heart Foundation emerged from the need to educate newly arrived migrants following a vehicular accident involving newly arrived OFW in Tauranga. It was officially launched last year, August 25, at Kauri Academy with Ambassador Jesus Domingo. The project is part of the Embassy program and stands out with its advocacy to provide immediate assistance to those in need.

Among its pioneering projects include the KAALAMAN, KARAPATAN, KALUSUGAN, an education and settlement drive that started in Auckland, several forums held in Hamilton, Matamata, and Tauranga, and outreach programs around New Zealand.

In the process, the Foundation factored in the fundamental understanding of law and order, basic rights, and entitlements in New Zealand to carry out a series of beneficial projects.

Currently, the Good Heart Foundation is composed of 4 trustees and members from Auckland, Hamilton, Central North Island, Wellington, Blenheim, and Christchurch.

Everyone in the community is encouraged to become a member of the Foundation and seek help from the team.