PLDT, Smart tech-abled solutions reach disadvantaged women and girls, PlantSmart kits cross 8k milestone
As part of the group’s initiatives for International Women’s Month, PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) turned over PlantSmart kits to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW), Marillac Hills, and Haven for Women.
PLDT and Smart partnered with the organizations in maintaining vegetable gardens in the premises to help provide women residents and those deprived of liberty access to affordable and nutritious food.
“To date, we have distributed over 8,000 PlantSmart kits to 281 urban and rural communities nationwide. We will continue this movement to reach more beneficiaries all over the country,” said Cathy Yang, First Vice President and Group Head of Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart.
A hundred PlantSmart kits were donated to CIW to support the institution’s reform initiatives for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs). Marillac Hills and Haven for Women, which provide safe refuge to girls and women victims of abuse, each received 50 planting kits, to encourage residents to start growing their own food in their backyards.
Produce to be harvested from the planting kits also aim to help augment the costs of meals of women detainees in CIW and those living in the female care facility.
Part of PLDT and Smart’s key advocacies include finding technology-abled solutions to help address food insecurity especially among the disadvantaged, including women and children. These include PlantSmart, a home-based, small-scale agricultural program that encourages Filipinos to start planting their own food supply. Each PlantSmart kit contains vegetable seeds, loam soil, and fertilizers. The kits also contain learning materials that may be accessed through a link to PLDT and Smart’s ‘Kalye Mabunga’ urban gardening web series that can help guide the residents in their planting journey.
“We started gardening during the pandemic to help boost the productivity of our residents, which later contributed to a better relationship between the staff and the residents. This also taught us the value of patience, and teamwork which has become a good practice for everyone here,” said Catherine N. Taleño, Haven for Women Center Head.
“We turned our vacant areas into small backyard gardens, also made possible under the leadership of Corrections Technical Superintendent Elsa A. Alabado. These PlantSmart kits will significantly help us in supporting our hardworking PDLs with their vegetable gardening projects,” shared C/INSP Leonida Bendijo of Reformation Section and Corrections Senior Officer II Maria Cecilia Bayawa of CIW.
The empowerment of women and communities is high on the agenda of PLDT and Smart. Through this initiative, the group underscores its commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #2: Zero Hunger and Goal #5: Gender Equality.