My meeting with Jane Walker, CEO and founder of PEC
My meeting with Jane Walker, CEO & Founder of PCF
I had heard little snippets of information about the work of the Philippine Community Fund now over a number of years. In fact, I had been in touch with Jane both by Facebook and email several times but due to us both being very busy, we never had the chance to actually meet up.
I am sure most of you, like me, have connected with various people through social media and even read about people but never actually met them face to face. Well after several messages between us, we finally met up today at the cafe chain, EAT in Fenchurch Street.
Jane started the meeting by introducing herself and her team to me and asked about what job I did and how I was connected to the Philippines. Jane revealed that she has also read about and followed me over the years as well. I explained to her, that I have had a passion for the Philippines and indeed Filipino people for more than 20 years, having started with my love of the musical Miss Saigon, which I have seen around 50 times! Previously, I had no knowledge that the Philippines even existed.
I got so engrossed in the story of Miss Saigon, every time I saw the show, I ended up crying! I also ended up having a crush on 'Kim', Monique Wilson, the second artist to play Kim after Lea Salonga, I decided I would travel to the Philippines to meet her, hence my love affair with the Philippines and all things Pinoy began!
Anyway, back to the story about my remarkable meeting with Jane. When I had finished telling her my story, Jane started to tell me about how she first got involved with helping the children on the dump site. Jane had heard that the 'Smoky Mountain' had been closed down. She jumped in a taxi and made her way to the area, she quickly discovered that all the children and families who used to scavenge there, had simply moved to another rubbish mountain across the road!!!
Over time, Jane started a day care centre on the new site and actually lived at their at weekends, picking up littler suitable for recycling with the children from the dump site. This quickly endeared the families there to her and over time, she developed PCF. Jane told me about the journey to where PCF is today, with children who were previously not able to get a full time education, to children managing to finish their studies and obtaining great jobs as teachers, bankers etc.
In fact, Jane has also established Arts collaborations and is working with Ballet Manila through Lisa Macjua and other exciting projects including a music workshop. In fact one of the PCF children, Jessa Balote is doing so well in Ballet that she may be destined to be the next Prima Ballerina of the Philippines, following in the footsteps of Lisa.
Just proves that with hard work, aspirations and dreams and of course the support with PCF received from donors, great things can be achieved, to think that back in 2008, Jess picked ballet lessons as a school reward, now 5 years on, with the help of PCF and Ballet Manila, Jesse is heading towards a successful future in classical ballet.
I could have sat and listened to the many inspiring stories and experiences which Jane has shared with others in the past for weeks, however Jane had to leave to attend another meeting. Jane displayed such dedication, drive and passion, that I couldn't help being excited to jump on board and help out as well.
Jane Walker, her team and all who support PCF through various charity events and fundraising initiatives are quite simply inspirational and indeed Jane is a truly remarkable lady.
More power to PCF, looking forward to working with them hopefully in the future, I believe it would be a tragedy not to.
Maraming salamat po
For more details on the work of the Philippine Community Fund, please visit their website at www.p-c-f.org. You can also donate through the website or indeed call the office 01489 790 219