#DearSurvivor 2023 and our Practice of Radical Love and Care to End GBV

The 18-Day campaign to End Violence Against Women is a vital period of activism for gender justice, and we at Lunas Collective are sharing the heartfelt highlights of our work promoting radical love and care for all.

Photo Credit: Tiara Imperial

Our work in the 18 days of activism demonstrates our commitment to establishing safe spaces and making an inclusive world free from gender based violence and discrimination a reality. where each and everyBODY can celebrate and express their diverse pleasures!

Our involvement commenced on November 24, as we participated in the #Safecity Caravan to End VAW led by Bayi Inc. and Safecity. As a partner organization, Lunas Collective joined the call for the urgent need for safe spaces for all. Our Helpline Manager, Joey Bernabe, co-hosted this event while our Director of Communications, Ria Landingin, joined the solidarity ride from the Quezon City Memorial Circle to the Commission on Human Rights.

 

Photo Credit: Michael Varcas, Philippine Star

The event drew the presence of influential figures such as Senator Risa Hontiveros, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Atty. Richard Palpal-latoc, UN Women Philippines Country Programme Coordinator Rosalyn Mesina, along with numerous organizations, advocates, bikers, VESPA riders, and government champions.

Photo Credit: Office of Senator Risa Hontiveros

Following this impactful event, Lunas Collective was honored to attend the reception hosted by the British Embassy on November 30, 2023, commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence.

Photo Credit: British Embassy Manila

This gathering served as a platform for reflection, uniting guests from various women's rights organizations, activists, private sector, and government officials to collectively ponder on our progress and the continued journey towards a safer and fairer nation.

Photo Credit: British Embassy Manila

We also participated in UP-CIFAL's forum and fair titled "Leading Safe Spaces: The Role of Good Governance in Ending Violence Against Women." Here, the discourse revolved around the current status of GBV in the Philippines, existing laws, policies, and the crucial role of good governance in eradicating gender-based violence.

Our Founder, Sabrina Gacad, contributed significantly to the panel discussions, emphasizing the importance of care work, collective action, and the challenges faced by non-profits and civil society organizations in community building and organizing efforts.

Photo Credit: UP-CIFAL

The pinnacle of our campaign was our annual flagship event, Dear Survivor, with the theme, "Canvas of Courage: Ang Love and Care, Dasurv!" This poignant gathering brought together people with lived experiences of gender based violence, storytellers, and allies to find safety and care through our community. The event is solidarity in action, supporting participants in making meaningful connections through private sharing circles facilitated by our dedicated volunteers and through a healing-with-art workshop guided by Teacher Liz Rañola. Here, survivors and allies coalesced in a safe space, nurturing one another's vulnerabilities and finding a semblance of healing through art.

Photo Credit: Tiara Imperial

Watch the highlights from this event here: #DearSurvivor 2023

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Rappler and Pia Ranada for featuring our Founder and the Collective on the "Be the Good" series' second episode. This platform provided us with an invaluable space to amplify our work and encourage people to get involved in providing survivors a safe platform to share their stories and reclaim their power towards healing, safety, and justice.

Screengrab from: Rappler

As we reflect on these impactful moments, we see a vibrant tapestry painted by our community of care—a tapestry woven with courage, care, and unwavering commitment. Together, we continue our journey towards a world where safety, pleasure, and equity prevail for all.


PRIDE 2023: Making Meaningful Connections and Celebrating Diversity

We proudly commemorated PRIDE 2023 through a series of inclusive events, which not only celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies, but also facilitated meaningful conversations, promoted self-expression, and emphasized the importance of collective care.

June 17: Connecting Feminist Care and SOGIESC Equality Advocacy

On June 17, we collaborated with the Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY) in a learning exchange: a safe and welcoming space for org members and volunteers, which aimed to connect people through shared experiences of exclusion, marginalization, and discrimination.

Vince Liban, National Convener of PANTAY, delivered an enlightening talk on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) while Lunas Collective's Director of Services, Lyka Lucena, facilitated a Feminist Care workshop, addressing diverse needs for care.

This event set the tone for the month, highlighting the power of collective action and the significance of sharing care within the community.

June 24: Embracing Pleasure and Power at LOVELABAN sa QC Pride PH Festival

Continuing the momentum, our volunteers participated in LOVELABAN sa QC Pride PH Festival on June 24. 

"When we say PLEASURE, you say POWER,” the collective chanted, emphasizing the need for truly inclusive communities that respect diverse definitions of safety, healing, and justice.

This event served as a powerful reminder that diverse pleasures should be celebrated in a space free from judgment and discrimination.

We express our gratitude to UP Center for Women's and Gender Studies for sharing their booth with our volunteers. We also congratulate Pride PH and the Quezon City Government for organizing the inspiring #LoveLabanSaQC event.

July 1: Stories, Songs, and Dances to Cap Off Pride Month 2023
Closing off Pride Month on July 1, Lunas Collective and PANTAY, joined by a caring community of volunteers, storytellers, advocates, and allies, hosted a celebration filled with stories, songs, and dances.

This event reinforced the idea that Pride extends beyond festivities, promoting self-love, compassion for others, and empowerment for the entire community. Our organizations marched for those who can't, and shared the care with those who might need it – advocating for a world where love, sexuality, and expression are free from violence and discrimination.

This culminating event encapsulated the spirit of PRIDE, emphasizing the need for ongoing support and understanding.

We extend our sincere thanks to PANTAY for co-organizing these events, the storytellers who trusted the safe space, the Puresoul band and Mrs Tan for sharing their talents, and allies and partners from UP Center for Women's and Gender Studies, UP College of Social Work and Community Development, and EMpower - The Emerging Markets Foundation Ltd.


Feminist Counseling Boot Camp and Feminist Leadership Training Empowers Leaders and Counselors

We successfully completed our first-ever Feminist Counseling Boot Camp and Leadership Training Program, which took place from April to October 2022. This initiative brought together aspiring feminist peer counselors and leaders into a community dedicated to creating a more inclusive and caring world.

The program has drawn participants from diverse backgrounds, united by their commitment to promoting gender justice and using social media to support those affected by gender-based violence.

We are on a mission to empower those who wish to learn about providing care and leading with a feminist perspective.

Leadership training highlights importance of grassroots activism.
The Leadership Training, offered to youth leaders and gender justice advocates, is an inclusive opportunity that emphasizes the importance of feminist leadership, care, and grassroots activism. The program includes both synchronous and asynchronous learning, allowing participants to engage with a wide range of topics and practical skills.

Among the key areas of focus are:

  1. Gender, Sexuality, and Power Orientation
  2. Care Work as Work
  3. Ethical Use of Data
  4. Community of Care
  5. Self-Care Tools and Strategies for Service Users
  6. Self-Care for Feminist Leaders
  7. Advocacy and Orientation to Conducting the Lunas Collective Feminist Care Module

As a vital part of their training, participants shared their learnings by conducting at least two Lunas Collective Feminist Care (LCFC) learning sessions with partners and possible volunteers.

Online Boot Camp opens sessions for participants nationwide
The Feminist Counseling Boot Camp, meanwhile, welcomed women, people of diverse sexualities, and with diverse abilities, and even cisgender heterosexual men who advocate for gender justice. Since the sessions are held online, participants from across the Philippines, regardless of their ethnicities and regions, were able to join. This program was also open to those with experience in gender equality advocacy, formal education in counselling or related fields was not required.

The Boot Camp training covered a variety of topics, including:

  1. Gender, Sexuality, and Power Orientation
  2. Foundations of Feminist Counseling
  3. Impact of Gender-Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health on Mental Health
  4. Identifying Signs and Symptoms of Disorders Related to GBV
  5. Building Therapeutic Alliances with Service Users
  6. Ethics and Clients' Rights
  7. Self-Care Tools and Strategies for Service Users
  8. Self-Care for Counselors
  9. Community Care and Advocacy

Both programs emphasize the importance of self-care and community care while providing a platform for advocacy. Participants in the Boot Camp have the unique opportunity to engage in supervised practice with Lunas Collective counselors, gaining real-world experience in feminist counseling.

In total, more than 30 participants successfully graduated from the program, equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a real difference in their communities. A select few have continued their journey by volunteering with Lunas Collective.

Program graduates attend #DearSurvivor 2022 

To celebrate the graduates’ achievements, the #DearSurvivor 2022 event was held at B Hotel in Quezon City on December 3, 2022. The event recognized the dedication and hard work of the participants and celebrated their commitment to making the world a more caring and just place.

Our Feminist Counseling Boot Camp and Feminist Leadership Training have not only enriched the lives of its participants but has also planted the seeds for a more compassionate and gender-just society. As we look forward to the future, we remain committed to empowering individuals to lead with care, empathy, and a feminist perspective.

This transformative program was made possible through the leadership of Lunas Collective’s Founder and Director, Sabrina Gacad, and Project Officer Janine Del Mundo. It was proudly supported by organizations such as the UP Center for Women’s Studies Foundation, Inc., the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) through the Women’s Rights, Action, and Advocacy Project (WRAAP).


Lunas Collective Honored with Prestigious Gender Ombud Kakampi Award 2022 by the Commission on Human Rights

Lunas Collective has been recognized with the esteemed Gender Ombud Kakampi award by the Commission on Human Rights Gender Equality and Women's Human Rights Center.

The Gender Ombud Kakampi Award is a testament to our unwavering dedication to championing the rights of marginalized communities, particularly women and those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. It is a celebration of our tireless efforts and substantial contributions in advancing gender equality and ensuring the protection of human rights.

The award ceremony took place during the Commission's "Gabi ng Parangal: Pakilala ng mga Kakampi at katuwang sa Gender Ombud Work," a momentous hybrid event dedicated to acknowledging partner organizations and allies in the noble pursuit of creating a more equitable world for women and individuals of diverse sexual orientations.

The "Gabi ng Parangal'' event was an inspiring gathering of like-minded organizations and individuals, all working harmoniously towards a common goal: the empowerment and upliftment of women and people of diverse sexualities. It was an evening of recognition and gratitude, where the Commission on Human Rights bestowed well-deserved honors upon several remarkable civil society organizations across various categories: International organizations, non-government and non-profits, academe, and government.

Alongside Lunas Collective, other distinguished awardees in the non-government organizations (National Level) category included Likhaan Center for Women's Health, Gantala Press, and Women's Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB). These organizations share a common mission, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight for gender equity and human rights.

Like we said in our Facebook post: "Thank you, CHR Gender Equality and Women's Human Rights Center for this award! Lunas Collective is honored to be one of your Gender Ombud Kakampi's in advocating and promoting human rights and gender equality. #NanditoAngLunas, kasama n'yong tumitindig in providing safe care spaces for each and everybody.”

Our commitment to creating safe and inclusive spaces for everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, exemplifies the values of the Gender Ombud Kakampi award. We consistently strive to challenge societal norms and dismantle barriers, working towards a world where every individual can thrive and fulfill their potential without fear of discrimination.

The Gender Ombud Kakampi award is not just a recognition of past accomplishments; it is a call to continue the inspiring work that we and our fellow awardees are doing. Together, we are leading the way in creating a more equitable and inclusive society where everyone can enjoy their human rights to the fullest.