The Christian Brothers

The Lasallian Brothers assist frontliners during the pandemic through Project Safe Shelter and other programs. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DLS-CSB

The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, more commonly known as the De La Salle Brothers, welcomed its first students in 1911. Since then, the De La Salle Philippines (DLSP) institutions, scattered all over the islands, have been the breeding grounds for upstanding role models who embody the Christian values of inclusion.

This has been exemplified once again to its fullest extent this 2020, during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which made the entire world absolutely stop in its tracks.

In the ensuing country-wide lockdown that commenced in the early half of the year, we have seen healthcare workers’ struggle. Fatigued. Exhausted. Overworked. Tired. Burnt out. Morale was at its lowest ever.

The De La Salle University, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and La Salle Green Hills immediately opened their campus gates and served as havens for medical frontliners through Project Safe Shelter.

This concerned and caring initiative transformed the learning halls and rooms into temporary welcoming homes for the weary staff of Ospital ng Maynila, Philippine General Hospital (PGH), The Medical City and Cardinal Santos Medical Center. Transportation was a daily nightmare, specially since most come from other cities within Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Batangas.

These accommodations followed strict sanitation protocols — from decontamination tents to regular temperature checks. Breakfast and snacks were also served on a daily basis. In these campuses, they found tranquility and peace, coupled with meditation areas. Psychological and spiritual support were available whenever needed.

The Christian Brothers also accepted Manila’s homeless, as they were hosted in the Benilde Sandejas Gym. These individuals later on assisted in repacking relief packages for other urban poor around the metro.

Some funds for these undertakings were from the Isang Libo, Kada Uno donation drive. Others came from the Coro San Benildo — the internationally-lauded chorale group of Benilde — that held an online fundraising concert. Let us not forget the auction for a cause, in cooperation with Leon Gallery, of several pieces from the By Hand: Rediscovering the Art of Printmaking exhibit.

These all came together to provide everyday amenities for the stay-in frontliners. Other recipients include those who were not qualified for the social amelioration program and the cash assistance from the government, such as residents at the Manila North Cemetery, the homeless and even neighboring barangays who were affected by the current situation.

These were just a few — among many others we may not have covered — of thrusts and outreach activities conducted by the Christian Brothers, specially in this time of ongoing crisis.

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