Lights, Camera, Action…Alay’s June Events

Pizza giving donations to participants in our filming.

Field Notes from Rizza M. Paray.

Alay Foundation will be releasing a series of videos in the coming months to highlight the need for our programs. The filming took place June 13th and 14th during our blood drive and sexual reproductive health class.

There was lots of preparation before the actual filming.  We spent many days traveling to different places looking for possible interviewees for our videos.  In the barangays of  Kita Kita and Sto Niño 3rd we identified a pregnant teenager,  a mother of multiple children, a first-time mom, a Barangay Health Worker, and a caretaker of a child who lost their mother while giving birth.

We are thankful to community leaders in Barangays Kita Kita and Sto. Niño 3rd for their cooperation in helping us identify community members in their barangays for our filming.  

We were given the names and addresses of the interviewees and set out to find them.  We introduced ourselves and our project and spent lots of time learning about each family that was participating in our filming.  We had a short talk about what would be done on filming day and answered any questions anyone had on the film itself.  We went over the kinds of questions that would be asked to help prepare them to share their stories.

Weeks passed and it is already our big weekend! The filming crew who came from Manila were kind and approachable :) We would like to thank them for all their hard work that weekend.

During filming on June 13th, we conducted interviews, filmed footage of our blood drive with the Philippine Red Cross, and documented the launch of our educational outreach program with the debut of our sexual and reproductive health class, called “Let’s Talk About Sex.”  

During filming on June 14th we conducted interviews and filmed footage  in Barangay Kita Kita and Sto Niño 3rd.  We filmed in community centers, community member’s homes and along the countryside.  There was so much on the agenda for filming weekend that we didn’t think it could all be done. But we worked together with our volunteers and all the people who helped Alay Foundation prepare for our events and the weekend was a success!!!
Thank you to everyone who helped make our weekend events possible.   :)

Making Smiles… :)


Field Notes From Rizza Paray

On June 16, Doc Guy, Dianne and I went to KDF Pampanga to pick up the two cleft lip patients that had surgery over the weekend.  We were all excited to see their beautiful new smiles.  Our two and a half hour ride became even longer when our van broke down, again :/  Luckily, we were by a gas station and we were able to fix it to make it to KDF’s facility.  

Once we arrived we learned that both of the children’s operations went very well with no complications and their parents were so happy because in the future, no one will bully them.

Thinking of the comfort and safety of patients, Doc Guy decided to pay for patients and their families to get home by bus because he didn’t want the van to break down with patients. Dianne and I accompanied them on the bus to San Jose City.  

I hope Alay Foundation can identify more cleft lip patients to help because it can prevent bullying and can increase the self confidence of children suffering from cleft lip.  Every child should be able to smile with pride :)

World Blood Donor Day Blood Drive in San Jose City

Field Notes from Rizza M. Paray

Alay Foundation held a Blood Drive, in honor of World Blood Donor Day, on June 13, 2015 with the cooperation of Philippine Red Cross. It was a very busy day.  Not only were we conducting a blood drive, but we launched our education program with a class on Sexual and Reproductive Health called, “Let’s Talk About Sex.”  While all of this was happening, we had a film crew there documenting events and conducting interviews for an upcoming fundraising campaign.  

Prior to our June 13th events, Alay Foundation staff spent countless hours promoting the Blood Drive in the San Jose community.  We printed flyers and had some tarpaulins printed and hung up in San Jose City, especially in the city proper.  One of the tarpaulins was hung beside Plaza Leonor and the other, along the Public Market.

I would like to personally thank the volunteers who helped us give out flyers in San Jose City, despite the hot weather.  Their hard work helped to make our event successful.    :)

Alay staff also went to City Hall to inform the Barangay Leaders about Alay Foundation’s Blood Drive and other programs because they have the means to reach more community members.

We also addressed letters to Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army and Peace Action and Rescue with Dedication to Serve the Society (PARDSS) to invite them to our Blood Drive.  Thank to all of those who showed their support by attending our Blood Drive.

On the day of the blood drive, with help from the kitchen staff at the canteen near Plaza Leonor, we prepared snacks to be given to the blood drive participants.  Thanks to the kitchen staff for taking the time to help us.  :)

Alay Foundation had 70 participants at our Blood Drive, and collected 36 blood donations. Thirty-six bags of blood may not seem like a lot, however, that can save up to 108 lives! It is also a 45% increase from our November Blood Drive!!  :)

Thank you to all our staff, volunteers, partner organizations, and participants who made our blood drive a success.  

Fighting for Maternal Health & Rights in the Philippines

Today, April 11th, is International Maternal Health and Rights Day – a day that recognizes and commemorates what we are fighting for each and every day.  It is an opportunity for people to advocate for the advancement of maternal health and rights in their communities, their governments, and through social media platforms across the globe.  Over the years we have seen much improvement in maternal health and rights for women and girls.  However, there is still so much to be done to reduce the number of women needlessly dying during pregnancy and childbirth due to a lack of access to family planning, unsafe abortion and preventable and manageable maternal health issues.  Sadly, the Philippines will not achieve the global goal of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity set forth in the United Nations’ MDG’s.  

Family planning and access to safe and quality reproductive health care are fundamental rights all women and girls should expect from their governments and their health care providers.  Family planning is also critical to addressing the maternal health crisis in the Philippines.  While new reproductive health laws have been passed in the Philippines, supply of modern family planning methods has been unreliable and unsteady.  Implementation of the law has had a number of obstacles – both economic and social.  Although, one of the greatest challenges remains the lack of awareness and education about family planning, particularly among teens and among the impoverished in urban and rural settings.  

Today, Alay rededicates itself to doing its part to address these issues.  We are building a modern birthing and women’s center in San Jose to serve the poor at no, or low, cost to women and their families.  We are creating educational outreach campaigns to bring awareness to communities about sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health issues.  We are also partnering with midwives and medical professionals with a program designed to enhance and further their education centered on reproductive, maternal and prenatal health that will allow them to better serve their community.  

 Alay Foundation will continue to advance and advocate maternal health and rights for the women and girls of the Philippines and we look forward to the opening of our first facility, Mary’s Child Birthing and Women’s Center in San Jose.


International Women’s Day Photo Contest

Alay Foundation will be celebrating and honoring International Women’s Day with our first Facebook photo contest for women in the San Jose NE area of the Philippines. The winner will receive 2000.00 Php (50 US dollars).

The very first International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8, 1911 – more than a century ago!  It is a day set aside to applaud the economic, political, and social achievements of women around the world and a time to reflect on what more needs to be done to advance women’s rights and issues globally.  

There are a few ways to participate in International Women’s Day:

1. Join us in celebrating the experience of being a woman in the Philippines by entering our Facebook contest.  See our Facebook page for details and Good Luck!!!

2. Participate in social media campaigns by using these hashtags:

– #MakeItHappen
– #womensday
– #IWD2015
– #internationalwomensday
– #PaintItPurple     (In 1908 in Great Britain, the Women’s Social and Political Union used the colors purple, white and green to symbolize the struggle of women trying to gain the right to vote. Purple signifies two values associated with women’s equality: justice and dignity).  

For more history and information on International Women’s Day:



Thanks to everyone who helped make our November 2014 Blood Drive a SUCCESS :)

Having just returned from the Philippines, I am excited to report the success of Alay Foundation’s first blood drive.  In cooperation with the Philippine Red Cross and Alpha Phi Omega fraternity we were able to facilitate a well-run blood drive where we collected 28 blood donations with each having the ability to save up to 3 lives.

Though our success may seem small, the truth is that a typical blood drive in San Jose usually only collects 10-15 blood donations.  Our actual donor turnout was over 200 people, however most did not meet the requirements to donate blood.

Throughout the course of our blood drive it became apparent that the leading cause for disqualification was due to potential donors being underweight.  It was disheartening to see the many people turned away for this reason as their desire to donate was so sincere.   I also observed a number of people found ineligible for taking medications.  

A number of students from I.E.S. PHILS. (Institute for Enterprise Solutions) in San Jose turned out to support our blood drive but were not of age to donate blood.  Instead, we took the opportunity to provide the students with information on the urgent need for donating blood in the Philippines.  We discussed with them:

  • The huge shortage of blood in the Philippines
  • 40% of Filipinos do NOT meet the eligibility requirements to donate
  • 20% of the Philippines’ blood supply is imported 
  • Only 4% of eligible donors actually donate blood
  • 20% of recipients are children, many with cancer
  • Being underweight is a common cause of ineligibility 

The Philippine Red Cross was prepared to educate the students while dispelling common myths in the Philippines.  Among the myths is the idea you will become sick from donating blood.  After a question and answer session the students were equipped with medically proven and accurate information concerning donating blood.  Best of all, they were able to witness donors giving blood and realized it is a safe procedure and nothing to fear. They are sure to become future blood donors!

Our first blood drive provided us with valuable information about the community of San Jose and many useful ideas for Alay Foundation’s future blood drives.

Alay Foundation would like to sincerely thank all the people and volunteers who made our first blood drive a success.  We look forward to working with you, again, in the future.  

Come and Support Alay Foundations FIRST BLOOD DRIVE

With the constant shortage of blood in the Philippines, Alay Foundations has partnered with the Philippine Red Cross and will be hosting quarterly blood drives.  Our FIRST is on November 22, 2014 from 9am-3pm.

Plaza Leonor, 1 Sobrepena Drive, San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Philippines

There are some myths about giving blood, such as it is unsafe and you can get diseases.  This is NOT true.  The Philippine Red Cross will be drawing and collecting all of the blood.  Needles are DISPOSED of after ONE use.  New and sterile needles are used for every donor.  It is 100% SAFE!!!  

If you are in the San Jose City area come out and support us November 22nd.

Get the Facts About Giving Blood

There are some myths about giving blood, such as it is unsafe and you can get diseases.  This is NOT true.  The Philippine Red Cross will be drawing and collecting all the blood.  Needles are DISPOSED of after ONE use.  New and sterile needles are used for every donor.

Saving Lives is NOT Controversial; Family Planning Access IS Essential

This is the third blog post in the Alay Foundation Series: Maternal Mortality Crisis in the Philippines.  Family planning is essential in preventing maternal mortality.
Depending on where you travel in the United States and around the world, contraception remains a topic of contention.  A simple life-saving idea, such as birth control pills or condoms, provokes unprecedented controversy that skews the facts of modern medical science and politicizes the issue resulting in 356,000 maternal deaths 640,000 newborn deaths and prevent 70% of 20 million abortions every year globally. 
Between conservative legislative groups in both the United States and the Philippines, women continue to suffer from narrow policies that don’t fully account for their basic human rights.  Entrenched religious culture in the Philippines limits women and their families from determining the number and spacing of their children.  
American foreign aid in the form of family planning finds itself reliant on the political cycles and climate in the US to the detriment of women worldwide. It is a woman’s right, and a family’s right, to have autonomy over their reproductive health and access to modern family planning methods in the form of contraception without interference.  
When women have access to contraception, it has a profound affect on human development overall.  Ted Turner, founder of CNN and United Nations Foundation, wrote an article “7 Billion Reasons to Empower Women,” which stated:
“Universal access to voluntary family planning is a cross-cutting and cost-effective solution to achieving all of the Millennium Development Goals. In addition to reducing maternal mortality, providing voluntary family planning methods and education enables young women to avoid early pregnancy, allows more girls to attend school longer, makes it possible for women to have fewer, healthier children and helps break the inter-generational cycle of poverty. Additionally, it would reduce HIV transmission, empower women to pursue income-generating activities in their communities and promote environmental sustainability.”
It is sad, and unfortunate, that something as basic as contraception is shrouded in controversy and continues to be an obstacle for over 220 million women. Ensuring access to family planning is the best way to eradicate poverty worldwide.  Alay Foundation will be placing itself on the front lines, offering medically proven, life-changing basic family planning options to women and families with the opening of Mary’s Child Birthing & Women’s Center in San Jose, Philippines.  
Become part of the solution and join us in our efforts to bring family planning to women and families who need it most in the Philippines: Follow our blog, join the discussion and make a donation today:

Maternal Mortality Crisis in the Philippines and the Importance of Family Planning

This is the second blog post in the Alay Foundation Series: Maternal Mortality Crisis in the Philippines.  Family Planning is essential in preventing maternal mortality. 
One of the major hurdles the world is facing in reducing maternal mortality is the lack of family planning, especially in developing countries and, more specifically, with disadvantaged women living in rural areas.  A lack of access to modern family planning methods prevents women and their partners from determining the size and future of their families.  This, in turn, affects maternal mortality rates, overall global poverty, and the number of girls who complete their education.
According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), half of the estimated 3.4 million annual pregnancies in the Philippines are unplanned and one third are illegally aborted in unsafe procedures.  Furthermore, the fertility rates among the poor in the Philippines is three times higher than among the wealthy and educated.  On average poor women have two more children than they desire.  The UNFPA reports that “women who lack the power and means to decide how many children [to have] often become caught in a life-long downward cycle of poverty, exclusion, poor health, and even maternal death and disabilities.”  
Maternal mortality is more than a socio-economic problem.  It often precipitates crisis in the family as globally each year more than one million children are left motherless due to complications resulting in death during and after childbirth.  This figure represents a devastating experience that further burdens already struggling families as they must find the means to care for the children left behind.  
Alay Foundation recognizes that family planning is crucial for women and men in order to choose the number and/or spacing of their children.  Our birthing center, Mary’s Child Birthing & Women’s Center, in San Jose will offer basic contraceptives such as free birth control and condoms and will be able to offer referrals to facilities that provide comprehensive family planning services.  We believe it is the right of every woman and her family to have access to family planning options. When women and their partners have the ability to choose if, when, and how many children to have, families and communities are stabilized.