Nurse Jelmar witnessed the glaring reality in his city’s slum areas. He has resources: time, knowledge, and equally concerned peers. He knew he could do something.
The Call to Action
While it’s a highly urbanized city, Iloilo (where our VMAs are based) has depressed areas that show the disparity between progress and poverty. People in slums live off the minimal amount they earn in a day, and medical needs are usually not prioritized.
It may be easy for others to overlook the marginalized but for Jelmar and his friends, it’s a reality that’s hard to unsee.
Three years ago, they organized a small medical outreach which continues to this day. Nobody heads or leads their group. Everyone offers whatever they can. They tap connections, cover expenses from their own pockets, and sacrifice their free time.
The Call is Ongoing
As of writing, Nurse Jelmar’s group has organized three outreach programs. Their first for the year was in a rural town 26 miles from the city.
“We gave out vitamins, canned goods, and noodles to around 20 people” he said, “ and we’re going back in June to deliver the kids’ school supplies.”
Nurse Jelmar is grateful for what he has and considers himself fortunate to have finished school, gotten a nursing license, gotten a good job. However, whatever he has is meant to be shared. “For us,” he started, “a blessing is not a blessing if it’s not shared with those in need. That’s what inspires us to do this.”
Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote about how deliberate disinterest in social problems can be a social evil. That’s why Nurse Jelmar instantly grabbed the opportunity to contribute to society and humanity in his own little way.