SAINT AUGUSTINE – Local businesswomen and nonprofit volunteers Cora D. Carter and Barbara Lynch of St. Augustinemet through a series of events they believe is divine intervention. Since 2013, Carter is the founder and president of Resources for Philippine Rural Communities Corp., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The organization’s vision is to help people in poor rural communities realize their full potential and empowerment to advance themselves out of poverty. The nonprofit provides needed interventions for indigenous groups with training in farming and livestock production, using tools and building materials, obtaining irrigation and potable water.
According to Carter, the goal of establishing sustainable farming systems which use natural resources in the Philippines is to provide optimal nutrition for individuals and families, and to eventually create a supportable livelihood for the people.
Through the local church community in St. Augustine, Carter and Lynch work together to follow the organization’s established mission and values with short-term goals as relief work for those in need, and then progressing with long term sustainability projects in the Philippines.
Carter first saw Super Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Super Typhoon Yolanda, hit the Visayas Region in the Philippines and she organized a relief team to go to Ormoc, Leyte. Carter began relief work and community projects through local and international generosity and volunteerism, and partners who visited the native people in the fields with expertise in veterinary medicine, agriculture, nutrition, construction, science, medicine, business, and generating awareness.
Specifically, the organization is now focusing on providing safe, potable water for the people of the Province of Palawan, an archipelagic province of the Philippines located in the region of Mimaropa, and its capital is the city of Puerto Princesa. The many islands of Palawan stretch between Mindoro and Borneo, between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. The island of Palawan is 280 miles long and 31 miles wide. Humans have lived in Palawan for more than 50,000 years and there are several indigenous groups. However, water supplies are currently tainted for human consumption, and for farming irrigation to raise sustainable crops and animals for work and consumption.
INVITATION TO JOIN
“We invite individuals, civic, social, and economic organizations to join with us in these rural communities to help establish the full potential of the people and their lands,” said Carter. The group’s efforts include outreach to develop relationships based on equality and respect, intelligence, capabilities, and resources with little interventions to help rural communities become productive, confident, and contributors to their people and neighboring areas.
According to Carter, the safe water drilling project began in July 2019, with a small team of volunteers from the U.S. and an intern from Germany who visited Palawan. Many strategic meetings were held throughout the island with the focus on bringing safe water to many villages. “Within the five years of the starting the organization, several communities in different provinces have accomplished success already and are producing income. However, communities in Palawan face a big obstacle with several months of drought season every year without nontoxic water for people to drink, or for animals and plants,” said Carter.
Barbara Lynch’s husband, Tom Lynch, is a drilling industry professional and nonprofit volunteer. He and the team are planning to purchase a drill rig and have it shipped to the island. “A major fundraising campaign is underway to purchase the drill rig with support items and materials. It is our hope to fundraise the $150,000 that is needed to have a drilling school in place in 2021,” said Barbara Lynch. “Safe water should not be a luxury in any part of the world, so we will be drilling two types of wells with drinking and irrigation wells in each community on the island. We know that Cora was particularly concerned about safe water for the people due to the extreme drought in 2019,” she said.
Carter, who is a native of the Philippines and the Lynches visited 11 different communities on a scouting trip during the summer of 2019.
Additionally, the nonprofit has been partnering with agricultural related government agencies in the Philippines including the Department of Agriculture. In some of the rural communities, local government units are following up on the nonprofit’s projects and provide the people with live animals eventually used for food and sold for income.
“One of the organization’s roles is to give voice to the poor communities. We have presented many of the community’s needs to the government which have been noticed and now the people are receiving priority items,” said Carter. “We have established a pleasant working relationship with government personnel there,” she said. Carter added, the expertise of the Lynches is a much needed and appreciated addition to the team due to the challenges of well drilling in Palawan which has a hard, limestone sedimentary rock base before the aquifer is reached for unpolluted water.
“There is room for every willing individual who wants hands-on experience out in the field. With several projects that are ongoing, individuals can contribute to the cause in a variety of ways with expertise, labor, supplies, and funding,” said Barbara Lynch.
According to Tom Lynch, the preferred type of equipment for irrigation, drinking and bathing is a tractor mounted drilling rig with a capacity of 150 to 500-feet to reach the island’s aquifer and a gooseneck lowboy trailer to haul the rig and measures 83-feet by 20-feet. Currently, some of the Palawan people are hauling water from rivers and tributaries in tricycle bikes with attached cart, however this is an extravagance for most. Otherwise, people haul water in containers by hand or on their shoulders, and walk to their homes.
Current goals for the organization also include scouting terrain, locations, and well locations, a grassroots well-drilling project, locate a drill rig and set up a drilling school in 2021, community implementation of wells, irrigation, and safe drinking water. Also, the nonprofit is set up for financial support with donations at www.rprcc.org and visit #safewaterproject. Speaking engagements and presentations can be scheduled by contacting Barbara Lynch at 904.315.3979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.