Kanlungan Filipino Consortium is a consortium of various community-based organisations, who themselves are engaged in their own volunteer activities. For Kanlungan, their success and growth is intrinsically linked to the way they engage volunteers in an efficient and effective way. The volunteer roles offered are varied – and even then, there are no areas of work off limits with volunteers lending their time to develop resources to help advice and support, run social media campaigns, host fundraising events and more.
Kanlungan attribute the mindset that most of their volunteers come with to the Filipino culture – in the local language this is called “bayanihan” (from the word “bayani” which means “hero”, so “bayanihan” is a sense of heroism by helping).
Of the organisation’s mentality to volunteering, Andrea Martinez said
“We encourage volunteerism among our service users, a sort of “pay it forward” to the community. The funding [we received through the Mental Health Sustainability Programme] was used to train our volunteers who were once our service users. They are now volunteering in our new project on Violence Against Women.”
During the height of the pandemic for instance, they opened a volunteers’ programme and were able to mobilise close to 80 people as volunteers, either as those who deliver groceries to members of the community who were self-isolating, or those who deliver their Food for the NHS programme (providing hot meals to our Filipino nurses in the NHS as form of solidarity).
Moreover their work to increase the mental health and wellbeing of the Filipino migrants has developed greatly in the last year. In response to reports that Filipino migrants were suffering from mental health concerns, they charity decided to gather Filipino-trained psychologists (mostly post-graduate students doing their Masters or PhDs in the UK) to devise a mental health programme for their community. All of this work to develop the programme was undertaken by this small group voluntarily when, after some months, they received some funding in order to allow the volunteers in this mental health team ‘graduate’ to become paid members of staff. They are now supporting other counterpart Filipino migrant organisations in Central Europe to set up something similar.
Kanlungan Filipino Consortium were awardees of our recent small grants round through the Mental Health Sustainability Programme. Beyond the funds given, they have been able to access webinars and peer support forums through our wider programme offer – as well as complimentary membership to The Association for the year 2021/22.