The Ateneo de Manila University adopted the Payatas Trece GK community in 2003, and has already built around 150 of the 200 homes needed. As a sign of the Ateneo’s continuing partnership with the local community, Payatas Area B has since been renamed the Blue Eagle Village.
Now that housing is nearly complete, the Ateneo has been focusing on the other components of developing the community sustainably, notably in the areas of health, education, and livelihood.
The university has helped set up a health center and train health volunteers. Thanks to a partnership with FEU-NMRF medical doctors come to the center twice a week.
In addition to the continuing education work of Ateneo organizations and units such as the ACIL and the ACED in Payatas, there are three GK-specific education programs: SIBOL, SAGIP, SIGA.
Children aged three to seven attend SIBOL in a beautiful day care center, with Kinder session in the morning and Nursery in the afternoon. Mothers share in their formation, and take turns preparing the daily feeding program. SIBOL expects 80 children by June 2005.
Roughly 80 registered children from the Payatas B-Annex Elementary School participate in SAGIP (Sagipin ang Isip at Pangarap ng Kabataan). Every Saturday morning, they meet for two hours of art, music, dance, and drama workshops and to share nutritious food and drink.
High school students and out of school youth aged 13 and up join SIGA (Serving in God’s Army). They meet to share a meal and for formation sessions after Sunday Mass. The Ninoy and Cory Aquino Center for Leadership is currently facilitating a SIGA series on heroic leadership.
Finally the Ateneo has been supporting livelihood programs, notably forming the Blue Eagle Catering Service an excellent catering service run by the residents. The GK-Ateneo student arm, GKOM, has also launched a livelihood center with sewing machines, and has helped empower residents to subcontract as bag sewers.
Beyond the Blue Eagle Village, the Ateneo has also begun work with ABS-CBN, the city government of Quezon City, and GK to help build homes and a vibrant community for about 1,000 families in Sitio Ruby, Fairview, near La Mesa Dam.