Vital People: Victoria Foundation community grant helps Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre

Vital People: Victoria Foundation community grant helps Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre
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At the Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre in Victoria, a traditional folk dance is coming to life, thanks to a community grant from the Victoria Foundation.

“What I love about folk dancing is that it’s a part of me!” says Jean Penola, who the centre was able to hire part-time, after receiving the community grant last year. “Our folk dances back home really reflect our culture and our way of living.”

There are folk dances to depict fishing, farming, fetching water, and of course courtship, and sharing this important part of Filipino culture with people from all walks of life is a labour of love for Jean.

“It is important that we share our culture so that we are able to not only promote it to the entire community but also to preserve and make it alive in every one of us,” she says.

Jean is the community centre’s first-ever staff member. She was hired to help navigate COVID challenges and pivoted to digital programming during the pandemic.

“We are just so grateful because we have kind of depended on our volunteers, who are hard workers, but the doors that have opened because part-time staff and we have new equipment to go on digitally has just encouraged us that there are bigger opportunities for us to share our culture,” explains Laila Pires of the Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre.

The grant’s helped the popular community centre transform into a cultural arts studio, where performances can be held and podcasts can be done.

“Canada has advocated multiculturalism both federally and provincially and for that to succeed, I think all the different cultures must know about each other, understand others’ culture,” Lalia explains.

For the Victoria Foundation, it’s all about building a stronger community.

“Our mission is to support a vibrant and caring community and this is one of the ways that we do that to support all of the great work that non-profits are doing in our community,” says the Victoria Foundation’s Tracy Cullen.

Last year, more than $3 million was distributed to help 142 non-profits and the Victoria Foundation is hoping to reach groups that may have faced barriers to accessing philanthropic funding.

“We also know some groups have been disproportionately affected from the pandemic, so some groups have fared worse than others, and we also know that there are some systemic and historical barriers,” Tracy explains.

For more information on the community grants program, click on this link.

The deadline to apply is April 14th.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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