Edita Rimando, the former President of Waves of Love Assistance Fund (Waves of Love), once dreamed of building a training center dedicated to helping disadvantaged families in her community. Edita’s town, Caba, is a coastal town in the province of La Union that is mainly dependent on farming and fishing. The seasonality of occupations has largely contributed to the poverty of many of Caba’s families. Edita lived in Caba most of her life and saw generations of families get mired in the same predicament of poverty with little hope for a better future. As a teacher, she deliberated endlessly on how families of her students could break free from poverty. She thought that if only a charitable foundation could lay the groundwork, then a solution might be within reach. Edita found her answer through a family foundation, which began providing financial assistance to projects addressing the economic struggle of the Caba community. With the help of the foundation, Edita’s Waves of Love Financial Assistance Fund was born.
Grants from the Waves of Love enabled the construction of the Waves of Love Training Center in the Caba Town Plaza area, which began in May 2012. The Quest Building and Maintenance Services, another project beneficiary of the foundation, undertook the construction and maintenance of the training center. Thanks to the new project, the construction company has been able to steadily employ nine employees, thereby supporting their nine families.
Construction of the Waves of Love Training Center has faced the intermittent challenges of heavy downpour of rain and occasional typhoons. This did not stop Sergio Rimando and his team, as they were determined to see the training center built so the center could start assisting the disadvantaged families as soon as possible. Sergio is the son of Edita, so the project was near and dear to his heart. Edita was able to see completion of the first floor, which included her office, a clinic and business incubator shop units, but sadly she passed away before she could see the second floor’s training café and classrooms erected. However, she always knew that her sons and daughters would carry on her legacy of helping the community.
Through Sergio and his crew’s dedication, the Training Center’s first floor opened for business in April 2013. The first tenant, Buleng’s Café, opened shop in a unit on the first floor in the same month. Managed by Bern Rimando, also one of Edita’s offsprings, the café borrowed its capitalization from Responsible Financial Consulting Services (RFCS), the financial services arm of Waves of Love. Buleng’s Café, known for its homemade ice cream and fusion menu, found success by serving students from a nearby school and also catering to municipal employees. During the summer when students are out of school, the café continues to thrive in its new location on the second floor by hosting meetings for groups of volunteers. During school season, Bern allows scholarship recipients from Waves of Love to gather at the café so that they can use the free Wi-Fi for their school research and projects.
Following completion of the first floor, other tenants included the RFCS, and a clinic whose owner very kindly provided free electricity to the entire building during his stay. The clinic’s owner, Doctor Conrado Vito, a well-known doctor in Caba, has since retired at the age of 70. The unit is currently available for a new tenant, and a natural and wellness center has expressed interest in occupying it.
The Training Center, which remained open during the Phase Two construction, was completed in August 2014. It is now a two story building with six units on the first floor and three larger units on the second. Buleng’s Café’s expansion enabled it to move to one of the second floor units. The café unit also houses a small public library and the RFCS office. Donors from the United States and abroad as well as local families and friends of the Rimando family are providing reading materials for the library.
The second floor’s second unit is a classroom that can be converted into an event room for rental, and has already been used by several organizations such as the Junior Chamber International. The third unit is earmarked to be a computer training room.
On the first floor, one of the units accommodates another non-profit entity, a learning and day care center for children ages 3 to 5. An outpouring of financial assistance gave the learning center an initial budget to support 20 children, who come mainly from families with single parents. In order for the children to qualify, the parents have to sign up for the Food Always In The Home (FAITH) garden program, an initiative aimed at teaching families how to grow vegetables that will help them with their own health and nutrition but also provide a small income from selling surplus vegetables. Parents are also encouraged to learn other trades such as dress making and cosmetology to supplement their income. Parents who wish to do so can apply for training at the training center.
The end ground floor unit is occupied by Happy Shine Garden Shop, a business that helps poor families build FAITH organic vegetable gardens, and provides low-cost organic and sustainable plants, seeds, fertilizers and gardening tools. The remaining units will be available temporarily for parents who successfully complete their vocational training and wish to try opening a workshop or shop.
Thanks to Edita’s vision and the Waves of Love’s financial support, the Caba community is developing into a place where families can improve their lives. The Waves of Love mission to provide lasting solutions to bridge the gap between poverty and financial independence is now taking shape at the training center.