Infanta expats pool resources to help town mates
Inquirer Southern Luzon
By Delfin Mallari Jr.
Southern Luzon Bureau
Posted date: June 21, 2007
LUCENA CITY – Frederick Rili, 26, a native of Makati City, will be finishing his masteral studies in International Relations this year, thanks to a scholarship grant from the Metro Infanta Foundation (MIF).
The 11-year-old MIF, a Filipino-run nonprofit organization based in Colorado, USA, unites a group of Filipino expatriates living in different parts of the globe not only to provide education to students but also to initiate and fund worthy causes back home, especially in northern Quezon.
Mila Glodava, MIF president, said the foundation was an offshoot of a two-page newsletter which she distributed to her former high school classmates in Infanta in 1995.
The newsletter was such a hit that one of her sisters and her friends suggested sending a similar publication to “Infantahins” in the USA to expand the mailing list.
“Soon, more names were coming my way and it was clear that a nonprofit organization was in order. By the time we turned to the website, we had more than 400 on our ‘Where are they now?’ list,” she said.
The foundation was formed in 1996 when Glodava was a fellow of the Asian/Pacific Women’s Leadership Institute. The fellows were required to create an impact project that would benefit at least 25 people.
“I was determined in seeing to it that my impact project would reach out to my hometown. I wanted to create a foundation that would pool the resources of Infantahins so we could address the needs of our hometown and beyond,” Glodava said in an e-mail interview.
Since its formation, the MIF has been providing scholarships to high school students.
In 2002, during the launch of the book “Labong ng Kawayan: Walking through the Pathways and Streets of Infanta,” a compilation of stories about their native town which the MIF published, the foundation decided to establish several scholarships for college students.
A number of high school and college students in schools belonging to the Catholic Association of Schools of the Prelature of Infanta (Caspi) also started to avail themselves of educational subsidy.
“Before 2002, our scholarship efforts were quite sporadic. That’s why we decided to retain the services of the Socio Pastoral Institute (SPI) to monitor our grants’ recipients, especially our scholarship program,” Glodava said.
The SPI, a Church-based nongovernment organization in Manila, assists the MIF in the implementation of the scholarship program.
In school year 2007-08, the MIF will again support 39 students in Quezon and Aurora provinces.
Glodava said the MIF had been pooling resources from concerned natives and fellow expatriates from northern Quezon, who are now living in Chile, Saudi Arabia, England, New Zealand, Japan and the United States.
“A donation of at least $125 will take care of one year’s needs of one student. We recommend that a prospective donor consider making a donation annually for four years to cover the cost of the entire high school course of one student,” she explained.
Scholarships usually include everything, from tuition to books and allowances for housing and transportation.
“We have created the Ambassador Arizala Diplomacy Scholarship at his alma mater—the Lyceum University for deserving students, not necessarily from Metro Infanta. This is a post-graduate scholarship,” Glodava explained.
Arizala, who also hails from Infanta and is now based in Chile, is among the active members of the MIF.
All scholars must agree to “pay it forward” by doing some community service for high school students and projects that would provide positive impact to the community for post-graduates.
“These partial requirements determine if MIF will continue funding their scholarships as we don’t want recipients to become lax with their studies,” Glodava said.
“Our long-term goal is to expand this feature of the MIF so future servant leaders could be developed,” she explained.
Glodava cited the success of Rili in organizing the Sulyap Savings and Credit Cooperative, along with neighborhood leaders in Barangay Rizal, Makati. Members of the cooperative pool their resources and provide loans to one another at reasonable interest in times of financial difficulty.
Glodava, who is also the director of communications and stewardship at the St. Thomas Moore Parish in Centennial, Colorado, has worked on the partnership of the parish with the Prelature of Infanta and the SPI.
During a visit to Colorado, former Infanta Bishop Julio Labayen received cans of pennies from children who collected a total of $10,000 to help rebuild a church in the island town of Panukulan.
During the typhoons of 2004, the foundation helped Infanta and its neighboring towns. “Expatriates from all over the world responded immediately to our call for help. Some not only made their own contribution but also raised money in their own locality,” Glodava said.
Aside from pursuing causes to benefit their town mates, the foundation links fellow natives now residing in foreign shores through a website, (www.infanta.org).