“Being a Community Worker is a very dynamic kind of job. The challenges are never-ending. But the mission of the organization is what matters most”. This was the response of Bart when asked about his work at Katuwang Resource Center,Inc. (KRCI).
About two years ago, April June "Bart" Bartolome joined KRCI as a Community Worker at KRCI. Katuwang is a Christian, non-profit development organization established to glorify God by empowering the entrepreneurial poor for sustainable livelihood with a mission of “to grow a God-centered community of sustainable entrepreneurs.” Before joining KRCI, Bart studied computer hardware servicing. Upon learning of the vision and mission of KRCI, he knew in his heart he wanted to be part of the organization -- be a channel of God's blessing and impact the lives of the people they serve.
His first year while filled with many winning moments, was also met with challenging times. Seven of his teammates left the organization and he was left to take care of two of the largest and demanding areas of their operations, Silay City and Talisay City. Bart kept his enthusiasm for God's work and brimmed with determination to succeed. His hard work paid off and he was promoted to Team Coordinator last January2020, a few months before a global pandemic was declared and lockdowns were in place.
The government declared most of the country in Enhanced Community Quarantine, limiting mobility and keeping people in lockdowns. With this in place, KRCI was forced to cease operation from March-May 2020. Despite this, Bart remained steadfast and continued to find ways in connecting and communicating with their community partners and entrepreneurs. He would send out text messages to encourage them and ask if they need any support or prayers.
When KRCI resumed its operation, they were faced with the impact of the pandemic and had to make some difficult decisions to ensure the sustainability of their vision and mission. As approved by the Department of Labor and Employment, they implemented the Alternative Working Scheme. This meant rotation and reduction of normal working days per week and adopting a "no work, no pay" policy.
In his gratefulness, Bart offered to work the full five days, without pay for his Fridays and encouraged his teammates to do the same. He said that it is his way of giving back because, during the two months that KRCI ceased operations, KRCI provided for them and supported them despite the organization not being able to collect loan payments from their members.
An inspiration to his teammates, he continues to live out his calling, showing greatness in his humble service for the Lord.
This blog post contributed by Katuwang's Executive Director, Lawrence Ledesma.