Uplifting through education and smiles

Aspen Philippines, in collaboration with the South African Embassy and Project PEARLS trudged through the mud and heaps of compost on two separate occasions during July in honor of the centenary Mandela Day celebrations.

Project Pearls strives to improve the living conditions of the poorest of the poor children by giving them P.E.A.R.L.S.: Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love and Smiles through education, empowerment, nutrition, nourishment and healthcare.

One of their focus communities is Helping Land. This is an impoverished community situated onan active dumpsite in Tondo, where the community exists by recycling “pagpag” which literally translates to disposed leftover food from restaurants scavenged from garbage sites and cleaned of dirt to make it edible.

Aspen embraced Education and Smiles from Project PEARLS to help alleviate the plight of poverty within the community.

Lectures were provided by Aspen’s captains of the hygiene, Rey Munar (Product Manager for Kwell Lotion and Shampoo) and Aileen Puzon (Marketing Manager for Consumer Healthcare), while Ana Sabrina Fresco, Myrra Catarroja and Princess Saraza were kept busy preparing a meal in the soup kitchen for some 400 children from Helping Land who were educated on good hair hygiene and who were given hygiene kits.

Although the lectures seemed unimportant to the children and parents alike at the outset, they soon appreciated the importance of proper hygiene in avoiding spreading infections and diseases.


On a separate occasion, heavy rains and a flooded venue due to a tropical depression didn’t dampen the spirits of the children, parents and sponsors who enjoyed a special Mandela Day centenary birthday celebration together. This event included fun, singing, dancing, and games. Despite their hardships and pains, the Helping Land community relished in the generosity of those who shared some happiness with them for the day.