To help Filipinos respond to the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Sun Life Financial-Philippines Foundation, Inc. (Sun Life Foundation) has launched Rise Brighter PH. The new program is aimed at helping alleviate the impact of the current crisis on the citizens’ financial security and health.
Rise Brighter PH comprises of two programs—Sun Pera-Aralan 2020 (financial management program for public school teachers) and Sun Life Barangay Health Stations (accessible sources of primary healthcare to be built in poor and distant municipalities). Each is aimed at helping 125,000 lives in the next five years.
“These programs are part of our company’s commemoration of our 125th anniversary,” said Sun Life Philippines CEO and Country Head Benedict Sison. “But more than that, this is our way of honoring the Filipinos’ strength and resilience amid adversity. This is also a testament to our continuing commitment to their brighter future.”
Sun Pera-Aralan 2020
The behavior-based financial management program makes use of the Peso Sobre tool in helping public school teachers manage their budget, extend their salary until the next payday, and eventually lessen indebtedness. Sun Pera-Aralan 2020 also provides access to volunteer Sun Life advisors whom they can consult for free, as well as to a Facebook community where they can share experiences and find inspiration in their fellow teachers.
Since the program’s initial rollout in 2019, it has already proven to be effective in helping public school teachers handle their finances. Based on the reports from the first batch, most of the 10,224 public school teachers indicated that they were able to manage their personal budgets better and at the same time had surplus funds that they were able to use when the lockdown was implemented.
This year, Sun Pera-Aralan will cover public schools with the assistance or AHA Behavioral Design, Inc. and in coordination with the Department of Education.
Sun Life Barangay Health Stations
For this program, Sun Life Foundation is collaborating with Health Futures Foundation, Inc. to provide basic services to the poorer sectors of the society. As of March 2019, there were only 21,053 barangay health stations listed by the Department of Health across the country, out of 42,045 barangays. Thus, Sun Life Barangay Health Stations are aimed at helping fill the gap, together with its partner organization.
Eight Sun Life Barangay Health Stations will be built throughout Batangas within this year. Each will facilitate curative services, as well as preventive initiatives like immunizations, consultations, follow-ups, and health lectures. A community-based health and wellness program will also be established. Barangay health workers and health cluster leaders will be trained at the same time to sustain the barangay health station.
“The Sun Life Foundation’s projects are anchored on our company’s purpose, which is to help Filipinos achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives,” said Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. and Sun Life Foundation President Alex Narciso. “We earnestly hope that helping fulfill these needs, Rise Brighter PH will empower beneficiaries in their journey towards recovery. Moreover, may it give them hope that despite the challenges we’re currently facing, a brighter future is still on the horizon.”
Other pandemic response efforts
Prior to the launch of Rise Brighter PH, the philanthropy unit of Sun Life Philippines has participated in various initiatives to address the most pressing needs of the Filipinos during the pandemic. It bought and distributed medical supplies and protective equipment to frontline teams.
Sun Life Foundation has also donated to Project Ugnayan to give away food vouchers to vulnerable families during the first few weeks of the community lockdown. Moreover, free life insurance was provided to 3,000 healthcare workers. The foundation also managed the funds donated by the global headquarters in Canada to support impacted communities in the country.