OPENHANDED. Project: SWITCH! becomes a helping hand to the food vendors and other street sellers whose businesses are "gravely" affected by the current crisis. PHOTO COURTESY OF Project: SWITCH!

Reader. Writer. Scholar.

by Amaranth Xena Soleil Saludar

Project: SWITCH! is a nonprofit organization officially launched on July 13, 2020 founded by five college students from Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU). They are Paula Mari Aganda, social media management head; Anjelina Alceso, publication and documentation head; Allyssa Mae Laconico, logistics head; Noelle Anne Cubacub, finance head; and Reyna Mae Bautista, externals and research head of the project.

Although they take up different courses in ADMU, through Project: SWITCH!, they were united and motivated by their experiences as scholars and as citizens who saw the struggles of the people in their community.

“…all our lives we have been receiving help from other people, as we are scholars since high school, and this period is the best time to return all those favors, thus, we came up with a project where we can finally become the helping hand,” stated Bautista, project co-founder.

“I wanted to create something that can generate help for those who were greatly affected by the pandemic as a payback for all the help [I] and my friends received from generous people. Living in a not-so well-off community in Tumana, Marikina City, I have seen people looking worried almost every day where they will get their resources in the future. I want to be able to create something that will give people hope despite the situation,” Bautista added.

With that, the team behind Project: SWITCH! desired to help food vendors and other street sellers whose main line of businesses were “gravely” affected by the COVID-19 crisis through raising Php 25,000 to provide grocery goods and healthcare needs to at least 50 families.

Moreover, Project: SWITCH! planned to release by the start of August the “Info Tidbits” about street food in the Philippines to increase awareness and knowledge about the famous Filipino all-day meriendas. They will also launch social media games in their accounts to engage their audiences.

“In helping, you do not need a reason or someone that will push you to do it. However, we [Project: SWITCH!] decided to help food vendors and street sellers in this time because their businesses are mostly small and unsupported by the local government. We also thought that because of the health risks going around the world, people might be a little bit more health-conscious and might shift their eating habits. Obviously, street food and the Filipino cuisine is what the Philippines can be proud of, so we need to show our gratitude and support to those who bring us the honor,” Bautista said.

*Interested donors and partners may reach Project: SWITCH! through their Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. They may also reach out to the organization through these contact numbers: (02) 576 6104; 0906 226 8804 (Globe); 0921 926 0115 (Smart).

**Click here to see donation methods.


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