PH Embassy Lends a Hand to Persons with Disabilities

By on August 4, 2015


At the Silver Spring Farm operated by the OCAPDD, Amb. Garcia and PH Embassy staff harvest garlic for PDDs, clear beds assigned to Embassy volunteers and clean the garlic harvest in time for the OCAPDD garlic sale in August (Photo credit:  Christiane Mayo)
At the Silver Spring Farm operated by the OCAPDD, Amb. Garcia and PH Embassy staff harvest garlic for PDDs, clear beds assigned to Embassy volunteers and clean the garlic harvest in time for the OCAPDD garlic sale in August (Photo credit: Christiane Mayo)

OTTAWA, Ont. – In support of the Philippines’ National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa signed up for the Garlic Project of the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OCAPDD) upon the initiative of Ambassador Petronila P. Garcia.

The 2015 Garlic Project kicked off with Embassy personnel and their dependents as the first batch of volunteers for the harvest season.  Embassy personnel and their dependents spent the morning of 25 July 2015 at the Silver Spring Farm in Ottawa carefully lifting garlic from the ground with their bare hands.  Energized by a cause, they cleared the assigned beds with time to spare for cleaning and sorting the harvest.

The OCAPPD’s Garlic Project requires 6,000 hours to complete every year.  Proceeds from this major fundraiser amounting to CAD 25,000 to 35,000 per year go to the Client Fund to cover special needs of Persons with Developmental Disabilities numbering 1,100 individuals in the Ottawa-Carleton area.  “The Client Fund covers special needs such as education, training, and clothing and Special Olympics programs.  We run 16 group homes, day programs and support services for, among others, 120 PDDs living on their own,” Debbie Blasutti, OCAPDD Coordinator of Volunteers, explained.

Formerly called the Ottawa and District Association for the Mentally Retarded, the OCAPDD is said to be the largest and longest-serving association of its kind in Ottawa.    Since 1956 and with the help of volunteers, the OCAPDD supports its clients practically in every aspect of life as they seek work opportunities, secure living arrangements or deal with daily tasks.

“The Embassy’s volunteer work with the OCAPDD heightened my team’s sensitivity to the many challenges faced by PDDs every single day.  We thank the OCAPDD for the opportunity to give back to our host country through volunteer work for PDDs,” Ambassador Garcia stated.

Clockwise:  Embassy staff led by Amb. Garcia pull garlic from the ground; Embassy volunteers take pride in their harvest; Debbie Blasutti, OCAPDD’s Coordinator of Volunteers (first on the left) supervises the Embassy team at the garlic harvest; and the volunteers prepare to clean and sort bins of garlic  (Photo credit:  Christiane Mayo)
Clockwise: Embassy staff led by Amb. Garcia pull garlic from the ground; Embassy volunteers take pride in their harvest; Debbie Blasutti, OCAPDD’s Coordinator of Volunteers (first on the left) supervises the Embassy team at the garlic harvest; and the volunteers prepare to clean and sort bins of garlic
(Photo credit: Christiane Mayo)

Also on the same weekend, Embassy personnel delivered mobile consular services to the Filipino community in Montreal, including Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) at the JIL Church on 24-25 July 2015.