One of the country’s top humanitarian awards, The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award (BTCA), has now found this year’s winner in the person of Divina Fabra.
The BTCA is an annual award that recognizes selfless leaders who have served the poor for a minimum of 25 years in society. Inspired by the late Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, it aims to refocus public attention to those who, just like the Blessed Mother, have dedicated their lives in service of others
The search, which was launched in 1983, is an annual project of JCI Philippines-Manila and the Ayala Yuchengco Foundation.
This year’s winner was chosen on the merit of her dedication to provide literacy education to illiterate Aeta indigenous people. The 53-year-old Fabra has been working for 27 years in community development through medical missions, Bible teaching classes, and church planting ministries.
She began her initiatives over thirty years ago when she was just 22 years old. Since then , she has been a one-woman team with projects and initiatives funded solely through donations from friends and churches.
The journey to find this year’s winner was unique because the entire BTCA team, headed by Chairman Jim Jimenez, trekked to Zambales to personally witness first hand the story of Fabra and the many lives she has touched. The team took it upon themselves to fully experience her community to better understand the impact of the work she does on her own.
The community consists of 56 heads of families with a total of more than 500 Aetas in the community alone. Bulk of Fabra’s work is done in the only school in the community, where she teaches literacy to Aeta children and other community members.
For Fabra, winning the BTCA award means providing much-needed funding to the New Tribes Mission, fixing the water system of the community, and building a multi-purpose hall.
“Seeing first hand the lives that Divina touched further proved the significance of selflessness in today’s world. There are still people just like Blessed Mother Teresa who extend more than just a hand, but their entire life to make a difference,” Jimenez concluded.