21 September 2021

Selwyn Filipino Community hoping to be part of the solution

With thoughts of his sister currently battling COVID-19 in the Philippines, for Pinoy CARES Chairman Blade Lazo, volunteering at the pop-up clinic at the Rolleston Community Centre meant so much more. He took leave from work on Thursday to help organise the COVID-19 vaccination pop-up clinic for residents of Selwyn District. Pinoy CARES is a Filipino group that organises activities, fundraisers, events and education sessions for the community.

“Just yesterday I heard from my sister, she was told she is positive for COVID-19. It breaks my heart that I’m far away, that I could not be there for her,” shares Lazo.

“On the video call, my sister talked about the fact she is experiencing body pains. She is also worried about our other family members who are living in the same house. Fortunately, she is already vaccinated so we are all praying and hoping she will get well soon.”

Co-chairman Plivia Alaba shared that the group attended a forum led by the Ministry of Ethnic Communities. They raised their hand to help organise a pop-up vaccination clinic. They were put in touch with Pegasus CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Health Manager Ester Vallero and when the dates for the vaccinations were confirmed, Pinoy CARES mobilised their volunteers to get the word out, and got in touch with the Selwyn District Council to enlist its support. Plivia also took annual leave from work to volunteer. She even used her graphic design skills to develop the vaccination event poster.

Pinoy CARES volunteers

The Philippines continues to see thousands of new COVID-19 cases daily. More than 40 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines have been administered there to date, however most regions outside of the capital, Manila have yet to be reached.

Bryan Singuran who received his first dose at the pop-up clinic in Selwyn says his family back home is still waiting to hear when they might be scheduled to get vaccinated. He says, “fortunately they live on an island, not in a crowded city.” He is very grateful that his workplace allowed him to take the opportunity to get vaccinated on a work day. “My employer is very supportive and encouraged me. They want to know how I feel after the vaccination and asked that I let them know.”

Lazo encourages the Filipino community to get vaccinated. He says, “we are very lucky to have this opportunity to get free vaccination and it’s important that we do our part for our community.”

“I feel very proud that we can support the vaccination programme for the Selwyn community. This is our second home now and we want to be part of the solution,” says Lazo.

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