Helping Hands: Helping the underprivileged realize their self-worth

HS 84

Growing up with both parents immersed in public service, Jackie Ejercito realized early on that her purpose in life was to serve the underprivileged.  “Upon seeing my parents serve others during my childhood days, it has instilled the same compassion in me for our less fortunate brothers and sisters.  I have set my heart in pursuing my parents’ advocacy and remain a steward for others.”

This is why she feels truly blessed to be the Chairman of the MARE Foundation — which was founded in 1997 by her mother, Dr. Luisa P. Ejercito, when her father, Joseph Estrada, was the Vice-President of the Philippines.  Driven by the unfortunate truth of the marginalized having limited or no accessibility to proper health care and practitioners, the MARE Foundation aims to reach out and provide assistance to these remote areas.

The Foundation was built on Dr. Ejercito’s passion in life to provide adequate medical facilities, free doctors consulations, free medicines, free dialysis and more to uplift the lives of the marginalized.  But true to its name MARE (a local term for “female friend”), the Foundation also aims to promote the spirit of community of its women members so that they can realize their self-worth.  Various livelihood projects such as free haircut seminars helps women find a source of income for a sustainable life.  They also aim to provide proper nutrition through feeding programs.

As a devout Catholic, Jackie says she wants this foundation to be “strongly faith-based”.  Hence, each mission commences with a mass and involves teaching young children biblically.  While it is challenging to ensure that they have the sustainability of funds for their much-needed resources, Jackie finds fulfillment in the work that she does.s

“It is both painful to see the plight of our countrymen and heartwearming to be able to help.  My wish for the people we serve is for them to realize God’s faithful love for them.  In the end, we are all women in this mssion empowered by each other and blessed by God’s gracious gift.

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