Lilok Foundation (“Lilok”, for short) is a faith-based and non-government organization engaged in training both adults and young people from urban and rural poor communities for holistic transformation. Lilok was born in the heart of the struggles of the marginalized, when a group of urban poor Christian leaders grasped for training in order to help them deal with the threat of demolition. Barred from higher theological education by their lack of a secondary education and discontented with a spirituality that avoided the issue of social justice, the group dreamed of an alternative training institution that would be embracing rather than discriminating, holistic rather than splintered, and transformative rather than powerless against the status quo.
They dreamed of an education that would empower them to organize themselves to stand and repulse those who will threaten their peaceful existence and well-being. Through the guidance and help of some progressive academician friends from the University of the Philippines and two theological seminaries, Lilok Foundation was therefore born in 1993.
After much deliberation and brainstorming, the team came up with Lilok’s first center-based program called Certificate in Holistic Ministry (CHM). This program was geared to integrate social action and holistic well-being into the life of the church. It was meant to train adult participants but more and more young people were joining in for the first seven years of its operation.
Being true to its principle of action-reflection-action, Lilok went on an interim sabbatical leave in 2001 to assess and evaluate its program. It was on this intermission that Lilok decided to accommodate the increasing number of young people joining Lilok into a center-based training program called the Certificate in Youth Work (CYW) program, with the end goal of transforming the youth into community organizers who could form youth groups and facilitate community projects in their local communities.
In response to this, the CHM program underwent another sabbatical and was renamed as the Certificate in Wholistic Ministry (CWM) program. The rebirthed program was community-based, making it more responsive to the needs of whole churches, with the end goal of setting up church-based community projects.
Lilok also offers creative, interactive and life-challenging camps, retreats and conferences to both students and non-students from urban poor areas. It aims to provide recreation and stimulation for a positive view of life in grappling with the problem of poverty and social discrimination. In connection with this, Lilok developed a small farm that offers a good venue for these time-outs mentioned. Called Sakahang Lilok, this small organic farm aims to model a sustainable living in rural areas that would hopefully allure those migrants to leave the congested cities and return to their respective provinces and cultivate a blissful life there.
Today, Lilok continues to journey with both urban and rural poor in facilitating transformation in communities through its training programs and organic farm.