EPCALM’s outreach arm spearheaded by its Outreach Director, Pastora Norma Manuel is slowly building eternal bridges with our Leukemia patients, family, relatives and community with the mini-Agri projects that are being introduced to the families. The goal is to help sustain the families of our Leukemia patients by helping them to grow vegetables right at their own backyard.
Using the integrated organic vegetable gardening approach, patient families are trained on the methods of organic farming on any available plot on or near the patient’s home. Such project provides a regular source of fresh and healthy vegetables for the patients and their families.
The first mini-Agri project started when Leukemia patient Glenn Mayo from Batangas City passed away last February 2012, leaving behind his wife Menchie and their four (4) children. Immediately after that, Pastora Norma and her volunteers helped Menchie and her family to set up a vegetable plot in her backyard and provided the necessary training and assistance to enable the family to stand back on their own two feet.
Just recently, this project was again replicated with Leukemia patient Arlene Bismanos. Bringing her group of volunteers, Pastora Norma once again went to Arlene’s house in Cavite to set up a mini-Agri project in her backyard. Arlene is again sick and is not able to regularly earn a living (washing clothes) as she used to in the past months. As such, a 13 meters x 1.5 meters plot was cleared out for the vegetable plot. Arlene’s husband, Erwin (a truck helper) gathered different sizes of good pieces of lumber to make a trellis and other supporting structures.
Vegetable seedlings will be sourced from the local Department of Agriculture (DA) office. Fully grown vegetables can be harvested 60 days after planting. Other projects are being planned for the available 100 square meter plot, so that this could be a source of income for the family. As per our latest report though, our agricultural projects could not be completely implemented in Arlene’s backyard due to poor soil and socio-cultural hindrances in their neighborhood .
However, despite these constraints, vegetables were still harvested from their yard, together with doing minor yard improvements. A Christian family though has offered their farm lot so that a 200 sq.m. integrated vegetable garden plot can be developed. A 2mx2m Mushroom house will be built so that Mushrooms can be grown and sold for profit by the Bismanos family.
Pastor Norma is also looking into improving the living conditions of the family as they are currently living in a house with a leaking roof that causes flooding inside the house whenever it rains. As the family sleeps on the floor, sleeping is a challenge whenever the rains come. Pastor Norma then helped the family to buy a bamboo bed.
Hat’s off to you Pastor Norma!!! EPCALM’s faith in action! EPCALM’s Mission and Vision is about being a Bridge to Life. Being there and walking with the patients and their families.