The power of one to inspire support for thousands

Manila, 01 Sep 2016

After being posted to Manila from Sydney on a four-year assignment, Macquarie employee Carmina Clarke made it her personal mission to use the time to contribute to local Manila communities.

“It’s always been an interest,” says Clarke. “I come from a family that has always given back and while I was in Manila, I wanted to find ways to help alleviate the poverty you see every day.”

During her four years in Manila, Clarke and her team in Macquarie’s Corporate Operations Group helped to transform Make a Wish (MAW) Philippines, volunteered with Visayan Forum - a charity supporting victims of human trafficking - and busked on the streets for donations.

Clarke partnered with her colleague Lisa Mulally to raise funds and put together over 800 hampers, which were then given to people living in poverty on the outskirts of the city. 

“People were grateful for the hamper, and surprisingly because of the bucket we put the items in,” Clarke explains. “I see a bucket as a bucket, but they see the bucket as a bathtub, a washing machine, a kitchen sink, a carry-bag and a stool all in one.”

Clarke’s involvement with MAW Philippines also helped them become a more structured and impactful charity, which can better plan for the future and grant wishes to terminally ill patients in the knowledge there is a steadier income.

“Unlike its counterparts in other countries, Make A Wish Philippines is 99% volunteer run and there’s a constant struggle for funds,” she says. 

“I was fortunate to have a strong support team who got involved by raising funds, helping with the charity’s strategy and being a part of granting wishes every month. We’ve set it up with the aim of raising at least half a million pesos to keep the support going.”

Over the past 18 months, more than 150 children across a number of hospitals in Manila have been granted their wishes. Most are oncology patients with a terminal diagnosis.

“As so many of these children are disadvantaged, most of the wishes granted are simple, including clothes, shoes and colouring books. Some children have huge dreams though and one 14-year-old girl with terminal cancer walked a catwalk because her wish was to be a model for the day. It’s always amazing to see wishes come to life.”

Clarke’s efforts continue in the Philippines through the Macquarie Make A Wish team, led by Kathy Lynch and Angela Enriquez.

Clarke’s return to Sydney this year has sparked a renewed goal to continue to support MAW Philippines and Manila-based charities. “I know that every dollar we raise has a strong impact in Manila so we are keen to continue the support.”

Image caption: From front to back: Carmina Clarke, Lisa Mulally, Liz Knuckey and Jack Ho at a Christmas hamper drive for Manila’s disadvantaged.