Balay Mindanaw celebrates its journey for equity, development, and peace as it observes its 25th anniversary on Saturday, May 8.

Balay Mindanaw founder Charlito “Kaloy” Manlupig credits the gains of 25 years of building empowered, sustainable, resilient, and peaceful communities to the partners, peoples organizations, local leaders, staff, volunteers, and funders who trusted and supported the dreams of the organization.

“It is a gift from friends, especially those who stayed and accompanied me during my darkest and lowest moments 26 years ago, those who believed in the dream of establishing a local NGO with nothing except a few friend-volunteers, no funds, no office, nothing,” said Manlupig.

Manlupig believes that he only “started the fire” quoting a sign he read from a restaurant. “Thus, the honor should properly go to those who continue to cook the foods that have nourished the journey of 25 year,” he said.

Manlupig thanked lumad farmers whose “fight for their rights” and for their invitation to the organization “to partake of their struggle” kept the fire in his belly “burning.” He also acknowledged communities and barangays “who have welcomed us, especially our SIADOs thus making us truly community-based and barangay-focused.” Pioneer volunteers who “took the leap of faith as they staked their future on a fledgling NGO” and mentors’ and role-models’ guidance and inspiration were also recognized.

Manlupig said that their very first funders “dared to trust and support an NGO that had no track record to offer” but many other resource partners came along. Since 1996, various local and international private groups, local government units and government agencies who “gave us the break as they welcomed us to their networks.”

Balay Mindanaw has since partnered 400 barangays, 40 municipalities and 15 provinces and gave birth to various organizations to strategically address their needs.

The organization since then has become a group of non-government organizations (NGOs) that offer different strategic interventions across Mindanao.

In 2007, the Katilingbanong Pagbarog, Pagbangon ug Pamahandi sa Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (KP3MFI) was a social enterprise organization that develops income generating projects for partner communities or barangays, especially for those affected by disasters. 

The Bangko sa Balay Foundation was organized in 2008 as a micro-finance institution to help address the needs of both the urban and rural communities, especially the small entrepreneurs.

When Typhoon Sendong hit Cagayan De Oro City and neighboring municipalities in 2011, several members of Balay Mindanaw were also affected. In its aftermath, the organization decided to establish the Disaster Risk Reduction Resiliency-building and Emergency Assistance Mission (DREAM) with its own “hub”. The hub, located in Barangay Lumbia, is a staff office, a warehouse with pre-positioned goods, and camping ground.

The same year, the Global Mindanaw Polytechnic, Inc. (GMPI) (2011), was founded in Gingoog City to offer Technical Vocational courses primarily for partner communities or barangays.

Balay Mindanaw DREAM has since responded to various man-made and natural calamities including Typhoon Yolanda which ravaged the Visayas, the earthquakes in Mindanao, the Marawi “siege”and the recent Typhoon which affected Luzon.

The Global Mindanaw Agri-Ventures, Inc. (GMAVI) was founded in 2015 as the network’s arm tasked to help the network become self-nourishing (no longer dependent on external support) and self-sufficient (sustainable).

Manlupig said that Balay Mindanaw remains a “gift from all those of you who have been a part of this journey – the staff and volunteers, past and present.”

Balay Mindanaw is inspired to pursue more years of building empowered, sustainable, resilient, and peaceful communities in Mindanao, the country, and the world.

Mike A.
Author: Mike A.