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By Linda Esguerra
May 15, 2012  

CFC ANCOP (Couples for Christ Answering the Cry of the Poor) Australia was launched in March 2002. Its Ambassador Program was initiated in 2004, by its members and volunteers, to help achieve the mission of providing shelter, livelihood, and education of hundreds of poor children in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. This year’s Ambassador Program is aimed to raise funds to ensure a brighter future for the poor but deserving students in the third world. It empowers participants to spread awareness that anyone can make a difference to some lives by responding to their cry for help. Thus, the theme “Education is the HOPE of the Poor…”
Peter de Vega, (third from left), posed with his family after being named 2012 ANCOP Ambassador, sponsored by CFC ANCOP Australia Pty. Ltd.

It has always been a test of ingenuity for those directly involved in promoting the Search of ANCOP Ambassador. This year was no different. ANCOP Tuesday, A Tea To Remember, My Dinner Table Rules (MDTR), Lenten Feasting, A Taste of West Life, ANCOP B-DAY Montage, Let’s-get-fit-for-ANCOP boot camp, Key Change acoustic night,  Line Dancing and Ballroom Night, Bingo Social, Market Day, B-DAY BBQ. were just some of the fund raising activities undergone by the 9 candidates for the Title of ANCOP Ambassador 2012.
Peter De Vega took the plum Award, followed by Mavik Valderama and Allan Tolentino. The other candidates, namely, Aileen Pimentel, Analiz Deganos, Monalyn Sasam, Raisa Tubelleza Ruby Esquivel and Tiffany Poi were equally acknowledged for their efforts in making this year’s program surpass previous year’s results.
More than A$109,000 was raised over more than 8 weeks of campaigning and searching for supporters. This will enable CFC ANCOP Australia to continue supporting more than 400 students in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
CFC ANCOP is 10 years old!
CFC ANCOP Australia has a wide volunteer base of dedicated people for its Finance, Donor Services, Marketing, Partnership and Events coordination under the ANCOP Management Committee. It supports CFC’s mission of building the church of the home (thru its evangelisation efforts) and building the church of the poor (thru its social ministries).
The impact of change always leaves a lasting impression in our young ambassadors and their supporters over the last 7 years. There are 6, out of 30 Australian Villages in the Philippines built as a result of the Program, in addition to ANCOP Child Sponsorship Program. It has left an imprint of life changing experiences among those involved. None could be a more touching story than this year’s ANCOP Ambassador, Peter de Vega.
Peter’s Story …

When I first caught sight of our surroundings at the Australian Village in Bagong Silang, Philippines, the first impression that came to mind was the unbelievable face of poverty! I was in awe about the heat, the stale air, the mosquitoes and flies, and the gnawing question: “WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?”
Thus, my life-changing journey began . . .
I joined Father Ross’ Immersion Program the year before I finished Year 11 at St. Aloysius College, Sydney. Our first stop was at a Gawad Kalinga Village in Bagong Silang, Metro Manila, Philippines. Our welcome-cum-orientation was held in the same room as what was to be our ‘living quarters’. Despite my initial observation, I couldn’t help but notice the spirit of genuine enthusiasm and joy by everyone in welcoming us, like they knew us!
The atmosphere was ‘fiesta-like’ – everyone had a smile on their faces! The food was austere but it must have been one of my best meals!
The fellowship with the children was extra-ordinary. They were as happy as we were to share stories about their schools and their activities. I was totally impressed by their determination to learn more and finish their studies. Their continuing education depends largely on donations from Australian donors. Their newfound home gives them love and care and most of all dignity.
Over the period of the program, I trekked through some eye-opening reality, like the crowded prison cells at Muntinglupa, the pristine and simple lifestyle of the Ifugaos in the Mountain Province.
As we travelled along, we saw the abject poverty that punctuates the otherwise beautiful landscape.
I would be remiss if I don’t say, I love my parents for giving me the life that I have always enjoyed – in the comfort of our home and the company of my friends.
My experience during that immersion program was an eye opener. The question, “What can I do about it?” resonated almost immediately. I promised myself if there is anything I could do to alleviate the lives of these people out of poverty, I would.
The 2012 ANCOP Ambassador program is for me the answer to my wish. It is an opportunity to turn young people’s lives through education. It is giving them hope by the simple act of sharing our bounty.
This would be our legacy….
About the Author:

Linda Esguerra is a member of the Board of CFC ANCOP Australia Pty. Ltd. She is credited as having formulated the Search for ANCOP Ambassador Policy and Procedures, and a staunch supporter of  ANCOP’s social ministry.

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