First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 27, no. 6 (August 19-September 8, 2014): 10.
It is with humility and gratitude that I and fellow Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran members celebrate the organization’s 27th year of existence.
Kaisa continues to exist and stay relevant as a builder of bridges in the community and Philippine society, thanks to the efforts and strong vision of its founders and elders.
But it is also the trust, support and encouragement Kaisa receives from Tsinoy community leaders and members that spur us on to initiate and persevere in our drive to pursue Kaisa’s sustainability, social relevance and nation-building agenda.
2013 was a challenging year, with the onslaught of major natural disasters, capped by the devastating destruction Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) wrought. It is during these times that the message of unity and harmony reverberates in our minds. Together with the Tsinoy community and other international donors, Kaisa plunged into relief and rehabilitation work to help those affected by the natural disasters rebuild their lives.
Through partnerships and collaborations with different organizations in several relief and rehab projects, we also realized that goals are attained more quickly and effectively when the community worked as one, and that in unity there is strength, 團結就是力量.
The spirit of volunteerism and generosity in Kaisa is a testament of the entire Tsinoy community’s sense of munificence. Our elders’ dream of a cultural and heritage center for the ethnic Chinese in the Philippines would not have progressed beyond the blueprint without bighearted donors and supporters.
As we continue to enjoy the Tsinoy community’s trust and philanthropy, Kaisa also acknowledges that our responsibility to the community should not be taken lightly, and the best way to reciprocate would be to ensure that projects undertaken are done with excellence, have meaningful impact and are sustainable.
Consequently, the different projects have been designed to have longer-term impact than mere cash/resource dole-outs. One such example is the pay-it-forward scheme the Bangkabuhayan livelihood program has incorporated. Within the community, Kaisa is hosting the Tsinoys in Nation Building Consortium, a borderless network and venue for best practice for nation-building endeavors.
Through collaboration and synergizing efforts among Tsinoy organizations, we hope to achieve optimal success. We encourage everyone to join us in our monthly powwows. Kaisa also continues to evolve internally, with the aim of achieving excellent outcomes. With our members’ blessings, Kaisa embarks on a series of organizational interventions that would bring the organization and the heritage center toward greater sustainability and the introduction of effective operational schemes. We envision a financially stable organization, comparable to best global standards in its niche, and will continue to grow and play an important role in the community.
As a Tsinoy youth organization, Kaisa acknowledges and appreciates the wisdom and nurturing provided by other more mature organizations. We likewise thank our elders for allowing us to craft our own path, and learning lessons from our mistakes along the way. As Kaisa takes on the challenges of change and transformations ahead, and as she continues to grow and build new relevance in today’s and tomorrow’s society – we pledge never to forget our core values of humility, respect, integrity and being others-oriented. As the Chinese saying goes: 飲水思源 (Don’t forget your roots).
To make a difference in a world that continues to evolve, we look back to our ethnic Chinese forebears, who stepped out of their comfort zones and fought in solidarity with fellow Filipinos in a revolution that brought about the birth of a nation: the Philippines. We know that if we work hand-in-hand as one Tsinoy community, we can continue to make permanent and positive changes in the Filipino nation and humanity at large. Come join us, everyone!
Again, our heartfelt thanks!