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Story and Photos by Karla Narcise-Rodulfo | PME Manager | Heifer Philippines
Passing on the Gift© (POG) celebrations are always special. Original project participants prepare for this day and pass-on families look forward to it. It is a day of blessing, giving and paying forward; a day to recognize the effort of the original families to sustain themselves and share the benefits of the gifts to other needy families.
From the original 100 families of Heifer Philippines’ Capacity Building and Harnessing Animal Gifts to Transform Lives and Nurture the Environment (CHATON) project, 25 families from one self-help group passed on gifts of swine, goats, fruit and forest tree seedlings, farm tools and hand-weaving sets on November 23, 2012. The ceremony was held along the road overlooking the cliffs of Tadian, in Mt. Province.
An opening prayer offered by John Marion Buyagawan, parish priest of the Holy Rosary in Tadian, set the tone for the festivities. “I sincerely hope that all projects for the needy, whether implemented by the government or civil society, will replicate the Cornerstones (Heifer's 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development), the values-based approach and POG. I am very privileged to have attended one of the Cornerstones workshops, and I must say it made all the difference.” Father Buyagawan also challenged the pass-on families to continue the POG model even after the project, because according to him, if the cycle of POG continues, poverty will be a thing of the past.
This POG celebration was attended by supportive local government authorities as well as representatives from the Jaime Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI), the organization that implemented the project, and other local Heifer project leaders.
The festive mood continued throughout the day. Original recipient families and pass-on families presented their own song compositions, thanking the people who helped them help themselves.
Lilia Alindeg, one of the original participants, shared, “I feel so happy to have passed on [the gift], and we are now reaping the benefits of the gift. I know the pass-on families will feel the same joy we had when we received the gifts from Heifer and JVOFI. Now, I know how it feels to become a donor.”