CHARITY begins at home and extends to the communities beyond its walls.

Throughout the Quadricentennial celebration, the University has been an example of unwavering compassion through development projects sharing its unending grace to partner-communities.

“Simbahayan 400,” UST’s centerpiece project for its 400th year, made use of the diversity of expertise of the different faculties and colleges in the University, which willingly supported and provided service in different community development programs that focused on education, healthcare, livelihood, and environment.

The University was able to pursue 862 community development programs under Simbahayan—more than double of the initial target of 400 projects to represent UST’s 400 years of unending grace.

Free hearing aids

After giving free cataract surgeries last year, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and UST Health Service provided free hearing aids to hearing-disabled individuals in 21 screening centers last Dec. 2 to 4.

“There are almost 2,300 recipients of the free hearing aids—1,672 during the first batch given in UST. [We] gave out 900 more this time in Bohol,” said Dr. Norberto Martinez, head of the “400 years… 4, 000 ears free hearing aid” project.

An estimate of 6,000 people participated in the project, which reached as far as Cotabato.

The three-day event held at Plaza Mayor was done in cooperation with Starkey Hearing Foundation, CBM International, Better Hearing Philippines, Inc., and Link Center for the Deaf. It was attended by senior hearing specialists from the United States and sports superstars like boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and Los Angeles Galaxy football team captain Landon Donovan, who were invited with the goal of “instilling to these celebrities the value of giving-back.”

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According to Martinez, this project was a first for them since it was initiated by an academic institution.

“Since this was a multi-department project, which included not only the Center of Audiological Sciences; we also tapped speech language pathologists and special education teachers to cater to the needs of the patients,” he said.

To complete the project, they will distribute the remaining 4,000 hearing aids this May in Batangas and “possibly” the Bicol region.

Other projects

Under the “Kanlungan” series of projects, a housing project named “Bahay Mo Mula sa Puso Ko Project” was initiated for victims of typhoon “Pepeng” in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

Public high school students in Marinduque, on the other hand, were the beneficiaries of “Karunungan” projects, which were spearheaded by the College of Education’s teachers-in-training specializing in English, math, and science.

Seminars were also given to 35 parochial school teachers in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, followed by an eight-month review program in preparation for the licensure exams for teachers. The review program that started last August will run until April this year.

Catechism training was also given by the Institute of Religion in the provinces of Kalinga Apayao, Isabela, Aklan, Marinduque, Bicol, and Cagayan de Oro.

Healthcare or “Kalusugan” projects that include medical and dental missions, the tuberculosis campaign “Tubercle-Fight5!,” a deworming program, feeding program, women’s health clinic, and hypertension programs were hosted by the different faculties and colleges.

Faculty of Pharmacy community development head Minerva Daya said these monthly programs which started last Nov. 13, were made possible through the help of alumni, faculty members, students, partner foundations like Sulyap Bukas Palad and Focolare, and partner medical schools like the Far Eastern University, which helped in dental missions.

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Meanwhile, the UST Guidance and Counselling Center, through the initiative of the Gawad Kalinga (GK), provided an “empowering seminar” to GK’s “Kapit-bahayan” community leaders held last Aug. 13, Sept. 10, Oct. 15, and Jan. 21.

Also, “Kabuhayan” or livelihood projects such as free computer technology and practical electricity courses, Autocad training, plumbing, and basic shop practice of metal fabrication and welding were conducted by the Faculty of Engineering. Such programs have been going on for the past seven years, said engineer Manolo Binuya, Engineering’s community development head.

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