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THE GREG SECKER FOUNDATION BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES

newsletter F E B R U A R Y

The Opening Ceremony How It Felt To Be There

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THE GREG SECKER FOUNDATION

newsletter BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES

FEBRUARY 2018

Hello and welcome to the February newsletter This newsletter is dedicated entirely to the Opening Ceremony of our Greg Secker Foundation Village in the Philippines. It was such an incredible event and for those that were unable to attend, we want you to get a real feel of what happened. For the lucky ones that did attend … WOW, what an incredible few days – I am sure you will all agree it was the most life changing experience and the memories are implanted forever!

THE BUILD UP TO THE BIG DAY 1

IT REALLY WAS A MAGICAL FEW DAYS – GREG WAS JOINED BY HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES, VIP’S AND DIGNATORIES IN HANDING OVER THE HOUSES TO THE BENEFICIARIES.

THE OPENING CEREMONY JANUARY 5TH 2018 - TODAY IS THE DAY THAT 100 FAMILIES WILL MOVE INTO THEIR NEW HOMES.

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THE BUILD UP TO THE BIG DAY BY SAMMY SCHWIND IT REALLY WAS A MAGICAL FEW DAYS – GREG WAS JOINED BY HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES, VIP’S AND DIGNATORIES IN HANDING OVER THE HOUSES TO THE BENEFICIARIES.

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taff from Learn to Trade SA, UK, AUS and PHL arrived a day early (4th Jan) to help move some of the beneficiaries into their new homes. It was important to Greg, that his staff were able to be part of the “handing over day”, as the funds donated from Learn to Trade have meant that the build of this village was able to happen. The remainder of the houses are to be handed over with Greg and his family at the official ceremony on the 5th. Rosario and Norman left the UK in the middle of December to fly out to the village and help DR our Project Coordinator and Alya our Social Worker with the organization of the Opening Ceremony. The weather had been, and in ▶

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THE PLANE BUMPED AROUND AND AS WE LOOKED OUT OF THE WINDOW WE COULD SEE THE WATER ON THE RUNWAY fact was still very unpredictable – it was not helping at all. We were still a few houses away from being complete and the heavy winds and rain meant that the road into the village was unpassable for materials getting in. Not only that but time was also running out in getting the houses furnished for our families – if the rains didn’t stop we couldn’t get any furniture in either! Every day was a full day for the GSF Philippine team organizing the beneficiaries, the builders, buying furniture, making furniture, meetings with the party organizer, Candy. Trips were made daily to Iloilo City which is a good 2 hour drive away – buying materials for the village. After the third Typhoon in two weeks, Norman was telling us that the only

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way into the village was either by motorbike or by foot! This is how bad the weather had been and how desperate they all were for some drier weather so they could get the village complete in time. On the 31st December, Dean Russell, my son Josh, and I, left the UK to join the PHL team. After an overnight in Iloilo we were picked up the following morning by Rosario and Norman and headed out of the city to the village. It was breath taking driving along the roads – not only because it is so beautiful but also because of the risks that people take! There are so many motorbikes, trucks, buses, Jeepney’s, people, water buffalo, dogs, all on the road at the same

What an amazing day seeing the beneficiaries in their new homes. There were so many tears of joy and appreciation. I’m so glad I could share this wonderful day with everyone. I’m proud to be part of the Greg Secker Foundation and the great work they’ve done, and continue to do for the families who suffered Typhoon Yolanda. I’ll be back! KERRY SHREEVE

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YOU HAVE TO LETTING EACH PERSON KNOW THAT YOU ARE COMING THROUGH WITH A LITTLE BEEP

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time and you have to negotiate your way through them letting each person know that you are coming through with a little beep.  After an hour or so, Norman and Rosario stopped at a bus stop for us to grab some refreshments and stretch our legs. There were some native Filipino delicacies for sale – ‘Balut’ eggs which Norman was trying to tempt us with. We gave it a miss but I am assured that a developing bird embryo with a beer is a must! Maybe next time? With a nice healthy packed of crisps and a can of coke in hand we set off again leaving the flat land of rice paddy fields and into the hills.   The landscape was so green – the hills covered in palm trees and maize that had been planted by the farmers – it was looking more like the jungle. We soon arrived into Lemery which is the nearest town to the GSF village. It was market day and the town seemed really busy with people everywhere, carrying chickens, bags of vegetables and all sorts of other delicious looking foods.  Rosario was telling us that since she had been here, (she landed on 16th December) that they had had three Typhoons. For this time of year it is not usual and it has made life very difficult in the village to get things ready for the big day. The road into the village was unpassable unless by motorbike or foot, which has meant that supplies have been unable to get in. Today, we were lucky as we were in a 4×4 pick up and even that was finding it hard work. We slipped and slided and at one stage I thought, hear we go, time to hop out and push!  Rosario had managed to get the local contractors to help ▶

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THE LANDSCAPE WAS SO GREEN – THE HILLS COVERED IN PALM TREES AND MAIZE – IT WAS LOOKING MORE LIKE THE JUNGLE and already there was a grader on the track trying to level the mud out. I will be honest, at this time, I actually thought – how on earth are we going to get everyone into the village? Looking out of the window of the pick up – black clouds looming in the hills – we really did not want any more rain. This road really does need to be properly constructed so that the villagers are able to get in and out for schooling, work, and day to day living. As we rounded the last corner of the dirt road, we arrived into the village. I have been writing about the village for a while now and to actually be here was breathtaking. This amazing village in the middle of nowhere – surrounded by jungle and maize plantations. What blows you away, is that the village really is a proper village - it has

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concrete roads throughout - the houses are typhoon resistant with electricity, running water and it is such a contrast to the shacks, (that are also houses), that I have just passed along the dirt road. It is incredible to think that these houses have been built here by the construction team and the beneficiaries, and materials have come in along a road that honestly is not a road – it is a dirt track – that when it rains, and it does a lot here is completely unpassable. It can not have been an easy job this last two years – I am in awe of everyone that has achieved what has been done here.  As we all hopped out of the pick up we were instantly hit by the humidity and heat – it was tropical heat and within five minutes we had all changed

It was a humbling experience for me to see wonderful people doing amazing things that really are changing the lives of so many. WINSTON GEORGE ELLIS

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into shorts – flip flops and t-shirts. Arriving in jeans was not such a good idea! It wasn’t long before Josh had made friends with the children. Children are so much better at this than us adults. He was playing tag, hide and seek, running races – all with limited conversation but just having fun. The children are beautiful, there is laughter, singing, squeals of happiness as you walk around, it is so nice to see them running around actually being children. No iPads, Xboxes, PS4’s that keep them hidden behind closed doors and only focused on the screen in front of them. Maybe one day it will reach here but for now it was refreshing to see children being children. I ventured to the top of the village and this to me was the most special place. This is where the Training Centre (Phase 2) will be built and to me, it is the best spot in the village.  It overlooks the whole village in front of you and as you turn around, you are surrounded by lush green jungle. It really takes your breath away – the noises of crickets, birds and actually a cow and calf were next me munching away too!  I could have stayed up here all day … but we had work to do! Once we had eaten some lunch, kindly cooked by Rosario, we had meetings with the film crew and event management team who were both getting ready for the 5th.   Walking around the village I passed fathers, mothers, children, and EVERYONE says, hello ma’am, umaga, hello, morning, kamusta, all smiling – they are just so friendly. I can think of places at home – I don’t even catch peoples eyes. The community spirit here in this village is something I really miss living in the UK. ▶

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I VENTURED TO THE TOP OF THE VILLAGE AND THIS TO ME WAS THE MOST SPECIAL PLACE Walking into the village was a humbling and an amazing experience. Seeing the houses that have been built for the beneficiaries to turn into a home really made it for me as I’d only seen photos and videos. Such an environment makes you realise how important having a secure roof over your head really is and how unimportant materialistic things are. The joy on the villager's faces

and appreciation greatly moved me especially when I heard the stories of where they came from before and after the typhoon. The experience is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life and I look forward to seeing the next stages of the village. EMMANUEL ORELAJA

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The fathers were busy finishing making their tables for their houses, creating  an area for eating in case it rains on the 5th, tidying up areas where construction materials had been, making signs, fixing the roads, making steps up to the training centre area and more – everyone was working and helping to get the village ready for the big day.  The mothers were tidying the gardens, every garden had its own definitive look with different flowers and plants. It was all looking good. As the sun went down we headed into DR’s house for a well deserved beer – luckily no ‘Balut’ eggs in site!  Tomorrow the teams from UK, SA and AUS arrive for a day of filming - we can't wait to welcome them into the village - it just feel like home to me. I love it here – the people are warm, welcoming and have so much love.

EVERYONE WAS WORKING AND HELPING TO GET THE VILLAGE READY FOR THE BIG DAY

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DRINKS RECEPTION AT RICHMONDE HOTEL – 4TH JANUARY 2018 THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BIG OPENING CEREMONY, GREG HELD A DRINKS PARTY AT THE RICHMOND HOTEL IN ILOILO TO ALLOW EVERYONE WHO HAD TRAVELLED FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO MEET UP BEFORE THE LAUNCH OF THE VILLAGE.

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e all headed up to the roof for drinks and canapés. The whole team, staff, friends, family, clients, VIP's - Nonito Donaire (a world champion boxer in four weight classes) his wife Rachel, Dionne Monsanto - a well known actress from Iloilo, Winston George Ellis - an actor and personal friend of Greg's and our GSF Ambassador, Ms Angelia Ong), were now in one location, having travelled from all over the world to meet here. It was

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fantastic to get everyone together before the big day tomorrow. After some delicious food, a few bubbles, a briefing on tomorrow’s big day, some singing (from Nonito and DR!) who were both fantastic, and actually better than the singer who was singing, it was time to head to bed for a 05.00 am alarm call tomorrow. The big day – is nearly upon us… exciting...

To have been there first hand and seen the shear magnitude of what the Greg Secker Foundation has achieved was one of the biggest moments of my life.! During the day I walked alone through the village in a bid to try and appreciate what had been achieved.! I knew Greg had a big heart but this dream, this vision now sits here and supports hundreds of people that truly need it. ! I sat by the road and saw family upon family with their newly gifted home. The sense of love and happiness was wonderful. This will be a great new beginning of that there is no doubt. PETER REEVE

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OPENING CEREMONY JANUARY 5TH 2018 - TODAY IS THE DAY THAT 100 FAMILIES WILL MOVE INTO THEIR NEW HOMES

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t started early with Greg’s family, friends and colleagues all meeting for a hearty breakfast before jumping into buses to travel to the village.  The Greg Secker Foundation village is a 2 hour drive from Iloilo City and along some pretty hair raising roads. We joined the hustle and bustle of a normal morning for the commuters of Iloilo. Families of five, six and seven people all crammed onto one motorbike – not a helmet in site! The Filipino ‘Jeepney’ jam packed as people pushed to get the last seat in – and in fact – no need to get a seat inside – just sit on top!  As we travelled through the city in convoy it wasn’t too long before the roads opened up into the countryside. Fields and fields of

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TODAY THE FAMILIES WOULD MOVE INTO THEIR HOUSES, IT WAS TIME TO PARTY!

rice with water buffalo (Carabao) duly working with the farmers. As we arrived into Lemery, which is the nearest town to the village, crowds of people had heard about the big day and the arrival of Mr Greg Secker. They lined the streets, waving and cheering – all excited to get a glimpse of this incredible man who had built an entire village of 100 houses. As we turned onto the dirt

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track that only 2 days previously was literally un-passable due to heavy rain, we began the final approach up into the hills. We could hear the beat of drums and we were instantly in the throws of the celebrations. Today the families would move into their houses, it was time to party! We hopped out of the buses and immediately Greg was surrounded by TV news crews

all hustling and bustling to get the first interview with him. The atmosphere was electric as guests, entertainers, beneficiaries all crowded into the social hall.   The ceremony started with both the Philippine and English National anthems, and then Greg was introduced to start the speeches. There was not a dry eye in the house as Greg talked of the story behind this project and where we are today. It was heart warming to see the children on the stage with Greg – singing and laughing. It was important to Greg that the beneficiaries really felt it was their home so one member from every family came up to receive their “Certificate Of Occupancy” to their new homes. After Greg had spoken, our guest speaker, Nonito Donaire who had flown in from Las Vegas with his wife Rachel, spoke to the children of the village giving them a few inspirational words for the future. Rosario, DR and Alya also spoke – it was just so emotional – looking around at guests, dignitaries, VIPS and beneficiaries dabbing their eyes. We were very honoured to be joined by Dionne Monsanto, Winston George Ellis, Ms. Angelia Ong (our GSF Ambassador), Under Secretary of Justice – Antonio Kho, Housing and Urban Development – Asec. Keira Buan, Secretary of Department of Justice – Vittilano Aguirre, Mayor of Lemery – Ligaya Porras Apura and Governor Arthur Defensor.  Thank you all so much for supporting us and joining in with the celebrations.  After lunch it was time for Greg and his family to walk around the houses and officially cut the ribbon and hand them over. What an amazing experience for Greg’s children to have this opportunity ▶

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to not only see how hard life can be … but what you can do to make changes and help others. One family in particular that Greg was keen to handover was Raymond’s family. A few months ago, Greg flew out on an emergency mission to help Raymond move the remains of his then home to higher ground as the rains had washed his home away.   As Greg’s family approached the top of the village and looked back there must have been 500 people following – a truly incredible site.  Now Phase 1 is complete, the houses are built – it is on to Phase 2 – building a training centre so the families can learn life skills and become sustainable in the future. This project will officially be known as the Quine and Mathews Training Centre so it was only apt that James Mathews officially opened this.  Then it was back down the hill to the other side of the village where a ‘Monument of Gratitude’ has been built. Every person that has helped – worked – volunteered on the build of the village is to be recognised with a personal plaque put onto the wall.  Each person is to leave their handprint underneath – such a lovely idea and one to be able to show future generations. Greg and his family took turns in leaving handprints. It was now time for all the children to relax and party – a magician entertained the children … and in fact the adults too! Ice cream served by Jolibee, popcorn and other treats were available all afternoon to keep the children well fuelled!   As it got dark, it was time for music – Fourth Impact were on stage and it was time to party even more. Their music instantly got ▶

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EVERY PERSON IS TO LEAVE THEIR HANDPRINT AT THE WALL OF GRATITUDE AS A MEMORY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

people dancing, it was a great site to see beneficiaries and guests all together just laughing and having fun. As the band came to an end it really was time to finish the day. We all walked up to the top of the village and lit 100 chinese lanterns. These were very symbolic to watch as they disappeared off into the night sky – a symbol of a bright future for the village. And finally, what better way to finish a day of celebrations than fireworks – these were just fantastic. The echo of the boom

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in the hills and the flash of the lights is normally a huge electric storm here, but this time for the beneficiaries it was not. The sky was lit up in every colour and the whoosh and whiz of the noise of the fireworks as they went up had us all oohing and ahhing! What a way to end the day. Most people living here had never seen fireworks so it was pretty special to see so many little faces with jaws just wide open in amazement! I am sure these memories will be with them for years to come. 

After lots of hugs and tears it was time for everyone to find their transport and head back to the city.  The Rain God timed it perfectly, as we all set off, so did he!   Time to leave these lovely families for now and let them get some well deserved sleep in their homes for the first night.  Tomorrow they will wake up in their bed, in their house, in their village!! And so well deserved …. all thanks to Greg Secker. A man with so much compassion for others and the hugest heart.

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I HEARD GODS CALLING THAT DAY AND IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, IN THE FLASH OF A SECOND, I DECIDED TO TAKE HIM UP ON HIS OFFER

GREG’S SPEECH GOOD AFTERNOON, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SAY FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME WELCOME HOME”

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ovember 8th will always be a special day for me. It marks the day, I first experienced the kind of love you cannot describe to people who don’t have children - of course that was the day my son Santi who is with me today, was born and a love that has grown steadily for the last 9 years - I am blessed to have had that experience 3 times in my life, my second child Zac is also here (and

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if he hasn’t hugged you yet, I can pretty much guarantee he will) and lastly my darling daughter India who was the best birthday present a man like me could ever ask for, sharing her birthday with me and my sister (also here today with my gorgeous niece Grace) who have flown in from California to mark this special day - I am joined also by my partner Rachel, who works quietly in the background, helping

WATCH VIDEO W AT C H C N N N E W S C L I P

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How It Felt To Be There me pull together what by most peoples standards is the impossible dream. My 4th child, although not my birth son, with the heart of an angel and the strength of a lion is my godson Kingston - who has flown in today with his beautiful Mum Meredith and Dad James, my best friend, who many of you know as the man that helped me finance this very village and partners with me all over the world to make the impossible, possible. You may also see street names with Moomar and Damar written on them, don’t worry they are not cartoon characters - they are the childhood names we gave to my parents, my mum and dad who’s constant love, support and guidance allowed my sister and I to live the most thrilling of adventures - Which we simply call life... But of course it was the events of November 8th 2013 - that I felt an entirely different feeling, as that morning I entered my kitchen at home expecting to see the bright cheery face of mama Rosario and what I saw was the face of devastation. A face that had cried a

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flood, that had not slept that night, stricken with worry and fear for her family, her son, and her brothers back home. I’m not an overly religious man, although I am a believer - but that day on the 9th November when I saw her face, heard her words and felt her heart - there was another voice coming through her - it was the voice of God. I heard Gods calling that day and in the blink of an eye, in the flash of a second, I decided to take him up on his offer. So I want to start today by saying thank you to Rosario. You're a sister and a lady, we have all come to love as mumma. Thank you Rose for being a role model of hope and perseverance for your people. After constructing two homes for her brothers Norman and Genaro, we starting planning the construction of the village. The feeling we had was, if we can help, we should help - and I cannot think of anymore deserving people than the people I have before me here today. Of course we needed land and as you can see...we needed lots of it! ▶

It’s hard to capture the feelings I felt as we moved around the Village. I think one way to put it across is the fact that I have thought about it every day since I left. Like, I’ve literally been waking up in the morning with it as one of the very first things on my mind.

I have clear visions of some of the people I met. A handful of which stick out in particular; 1. I noticed two books in one of the houses, and they looked like thick, complex reads – a young lady proudly (but shyly told me ▶

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they were hers). She was trying to read with little/ no education. That amazed me and immediately made me take a mental note to ensure I sent books to the Village.

2. One little girl screamed with a big outburst of joy and jumped up and down clapping when we gave her the baskets with her cups and saucers in. Something so simple to me and you, meant so very much. It was heartwarming and just an amazing moment. She was over the moon, so, so happy. 3. The last house we gave away just so happened (by pure fate, not design) to be to a pregnant lady, her little one and her husband. This was pure gold, to see them all so happy for the fact their new baby would be raised with a roof over its head was special. These three moments are among hundreds throughout the day; every person I met had an impact on me.

READ MORE at www. larasstory.com NORMAN ON QUAD WITH KINGSTON JAMES, SANTI AND ZAC SECKER

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TO HELP MY PEOPLE, IT’S THE GREATEST GIFT I COULD EVER HAVE

And what most of you don’t know - is that Rosario’s only inheritance from her late husband was all of this land - that’s it. Despite living and working with dear Norman for me in the UK they do not live lavish lives and as you know, like many Philippine people, sends her earnings back home to her motherland. Such is the heart of the Filipino. May I just say - that heart, the heart of the Filipino and really the heart of humanity - I have never felt stronger than right here. I witnessed this first hand this summer, when we invoked “bayaneehan” on an emergency trip out here with our Foundation team and our very own local girl, our GSF Ambassador and former Miss Earth, Ms Angelia Ong, and the very talented and ever giving Conservative parliamentary candidate, artist and business genius Dean Russell. We came out in response to an urgent appeal to assist Raymond, a blind beneficiary of the village whose home was washed away in recent floods. For those of you not aware of bayaneehan - it means community

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supporting each other. I learned a lot that day. In the western world, I see wealthy Londoners sat in fancy restaurants with their families glued to their smart phones, reading about places like this and pitying people like you - but my learning is that, it is you that in some way should be pitying them - for here I have witnessed a sense of community, kindness and love for each other - that has gotten discarded and lost on the path of desperately trying to validate ourselves by the acquisition of material wealth. Here’s what I know - Material wealth diminishes the moment after you get it - Heart wealth grows daily. We are all supposed to live by “bayaneehan”, and whilst I can use my wealth to make a difference out here - you have all given me a gift of a different kind - that reminder, that a life worth living, is a life in service to each other. Anyway back to Rosario....So I asked her “are you in?” “Will you do whatever it takes?” She said “of course boss, anything, anything you want boss” ▶

Visiting the Philippines being in these people’s environment and seeing their day to day living was amazing. They are so happy with life and what they have they don’t care about what I don’t have. It makes me happy and sad at the same time as life has taken over so much that we can’t enjoy the small stuff anymore and sad because they haven’t experience anything more than that what is in the Village. It broke my heart to hear that the majority of the people in the Village has seen fireworks for the first time in their lives, It made me open my eyes to be more grateful in life and appreciate the small things more. There is need all around us and if we all just open our eyes, hearts and hands more we also can make a big difference in the world. Will never forget this trip was extremely humbling KARIEN VANDERMERWE

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I COULD ACTUALLY “BE THE VERY CHANGE - I WANTED TO SEE MORE OF IN THE WORLD” So I asked her “will you give me your only inheritance, will you give me your late husbands land - all of it, for nothing in return” To which she replied “boss to help my people is all I ever want, it’s the greatest gift I could ever have.” And I think there is a great lesson here - we live in a world where people value their lives on their material possessions.... and we all know how happy or how unhappy that makes them... Now, you see, with her statement “boss to help my people, it’s the greatest gift I could ever have” - in that moment, she entered the kingdom of god.... she became the richest woman In Babylon - she cracked the code, the greatest gift on Earth is in making a difference to others - and she saves hundreds of lives, least not her own. I stand before you today as a simple country boy, with big dreams. And like Rose, I too know my purpose here on this planet -

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and its to help other people also. When I took on this project 4 years ago, my businesses were not thriving, my home was mortgaged and not paid for, I had just suffered a hectic 2 year divorce where most of my cash had disappeared, my children taken from me and I had a choice. I could hold onto what little I had and decide that “now would not be an appropriate time for me to help here - I’ve just suffered a rough run right ?” or I could open my heart, I could embrace gods challenge - I could actually “be the very change - I wanted to see more of in the world” and faced with that opportunity - there was no other option than the decision I made on that day. If we want to become the person we are proud of, we have to do things that make us proud. Today marks both the completion of the domestic home build, as it does commemorate the ground breaking of Phase 2 which is the development of our

Would you know how it feels like to be on top of the world if you were there? I knew when we stood side by side overlooking the 100 homes built by the Greg Secker Foundation. I am so honoured to be an invited guest to witness the opening ceremony and handover of homes to the recipients at the Greg Secker Foundation Village in Iloilo. This amazing initiative from Greg Secker will help 100s of families rebuild their lives. Best way to start the new year! NONITO DONAIRE

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very own, here on site at the GSF village - ‘Entrepreneur's academy’ a foundation funded training facility to teach, empower, enable and finance Entreprenuership - so the beneficiaries here today may be taught to truly fish, rather than simply rely on the uncertainty of a donated fish supper from another.” Phase 2 is about reclaiming independence, building confidence, embracing local culture - whilst harnessing the latest business strategy and technology - and instituting an Entrepreneurial spirit. As someone who left the world of high finance to set up my dream company of teaching people skills for a richer life, it goes without saying that Phase 2 Is very dear to me... So it leaves me to the end of my story and to finally thank some key people that have joined me on this journey. Without them, what you see around you would not have

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happened. I apologise if I don’t personally mention your name, it’s by no means because I don’t thank you, it’s been a long day and I have a terrible memory?! So, to start, I thank the provincial Government Office in Iloilo, headed by Governor Arthur Defensor and our provincial administrator for helping us develop the land and rehabilitate the barangay road for our access to the village. The local government of Lemery, headed by Mayor Ligaya Porras Apura, and the vice mayor Lowell Arban of Lemery who together with their councilors have helped us facilitate the processing of our permits to construct the village and to the congressman of the 5th district – Congressman Boboy Tupas for his willingness to improve our road access to the town from our village. To our engineers Tomas Laurea, Edwin Beria, Carlos Causing and Alexis Celis who helped us ▶

IF WE WANT TO BECOME THE PERSON WE ARE PROUD OF, WE HAVE TO DO THINGS THAT MAKE US PROUD

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HERE I HAVE WITNESSED A SENSE OF COMMUNITY, KINDNESS AND LOVE FOR EACH OTHER

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in all aspects of the construction process. Steve Rae, who volunteered his time and flew from Australia to offer his advice on the structural development. DR Sanico, Rosario’s son and the project coordinator behind this village. DR, you have been a power of strength from day one, one who takes the problems in your stride and gets them sorted. You have had some curve balls thrown at you over the two years but have never let us down. What you see around you DR is down to you, your team, your organization, your patience and above all your ability to have fun on the way … thank you mate and well done. Alya, you have brought the families together over the last year, united them as a community and helped them to learn to live together – working in unity. I thank you for helping and advising them and all of your wonderful updates that you send us weekly.

THE GREG SECKER FOUNDATION BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES

Central Philippines University – you have become over the year more than students that visit the village, you have become friends and advisors to our families, providing them with important lectures on all aspects of life. The highlight of the week for the children, is on a Saturday when you visit them for Saturday school. I thank you for all your support in giving the beneficiaries the knowledge and confidence that you have taught them. There are two important people from the UK that have travelled a long way via Australia and are here today! – Mo and Kerry Shreeve – not only did they donate a substantial amount of money which enabled the crèche to be built but have also donated 12 laptops for the children’s schooling. Such amazing compassion – thank you guys. Before I finish, I won’t be too much longer. To all the ▶

Being a part of the village opening was a truly wonderful experience that I loved every second of. The trip was filled with so much joy, in most part from the lovely beneficiaries who welcomed us into their homes with open arms. I’ve never seen such an amazing sense of community spirit. HOLLY McPHERSON

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MEETING THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE FOR MYSELF WAS BEYOND INCREDIBLE

My children River 11, August 9, Meadow 7 and myself were truly privileged to attend the most amazing day at the Greg Secker Foundation Village to hand over keys to the 100 beneficiaries who lost their homes in a typhoon 4 years ago. It was extremely

THE GREG SECKER FOUNDATION BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES

emotional witnessing them move into their new homes after they went through such a heart breaking ordeal losing their homes and personal belongings. Being in the village and meeting these wonderful people for myself was beyond incredible and I cried quite frequently as it was very emotional at times. I feel blessed to know them now and as a lot of the village children connected with me on Facebook, they are sending me regular messages with updates on how they are, which is very sweet!

From just a couple of special days in the village, both mine and my children’s connection to the Filipino people, especially the GSF village will last a lifetime. I’m really proud of what Greg Secker has done for so many and believe it will create a ripple effect that other entrepreneurs will follow and impact the lives of many more people around the world. APRIL CHANDLER

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THIS IS JUST THE START, AND IS THE FIRST ROUND IN AN ONGOING JOURNEY

beneficiaries – I thank you too! You have made this village your own – planting, decorating, building. I think you will all agree – it looks amazing. Plants are established and have been harvested – Recycling stations are in place, the dirty kitchens are in. Your ability to create and make things is a lesson that I would love my children to have! And finally, I thank every one that has joined us here today – Nonito Donaire and his wife Rachel from Las Vegas, our beautiful GSF THE GREG SECKER FOUNDATION BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES

Ambassador, Ms. Angelia Ong, James Matthews, his family and his LTT team from Australia, My LTT teams from South Africa, UK and here in the Philippines. Mylene Acuna and Glady from Manila – Mylene a special thank you to you for your PR support over the last two years. The story wouldn’t be complete without the unrelenting, unresting help from our lady who is the voice of the village - communicates our story with such pride and passion, Sammy Schwind.

Lets not forget the reason we are here, to celebrate the completion of Phase 1. This is just the start, and is the first round in an ongoing journey for all of us who are passionate about this village and this community that we are building. I am now honoured to hand you over to a True Filipino legend who knows all about going from round to round applying his passion, and emboding the fighting spirit of never giving up. I would now like to introduce Nonito Donaire.

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Greg Secker Foundation Newsletter February2018  

Greg Secker Foundation's monthly newsletter to keep you up to date with work happening in the Philippines and the exciting projects due to h...

Greg Secker Foundation Newsletter February2018  

Greg Secker Foundation's monthly newsletter to keep you up to date with work happening in the Philippines and the exciting projects due to h...

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