Utzurrum: Enfants Du Mekong; The French among us

“ONEe child in school, means one less on the street,” seems to be the battle cry of the Enfants Du Mekong (EDM), a non-government organization (NGO) started by French dentist Dr. Rene Pechard in Laos.

The good dentist noticed so many out-of-school kids due to poverty. And decided to start an NGO to assist the children in the countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, where the Mekong River passes through. He then named the NGO, Enfants Du Mekong or Children of the Mekong.

The group looks for sponsors in France to support these school children, creating a special relationship between child and sponsor. EDM sends regular updates. Aside from this, EDM sends French volunteers to these countries to supervise and check on the project leader.

It was in 1998 when EDM started their first center in Cebu City under the able stewardship of Teresita E. Manguerra. The center is a dormitory/home for first and second year college students run by a French volunteer and Filipino social worker.

It was noticed that the first two years of college are the most crucial, since the scholars are separated for the first time from their families and experience life in the big city. Placing them in a home where they can be properly monitored results in positive study habits.

There are three more such centers in the Philippines: Catarman, Samar, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, and Tuguegarao in the Cagayan Valley.

With more than 800 college and high school graduates at present, the EDM has organized the EDM Philippine Alumnae Association. In appreciation, they want to help the EDM by practicing “paying it forward.”

On Nov. 24, Sunday, they will present the “EDM Talent Show” (from 5 to 6 p.m.) and “Dinner for a Cause” for the benefit of the EDM scholars. The activity will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall. EDM would like to thank these sponsors for their valuable support; Nepan Sales Inc and Jobstreet.com.

Those interested may come and visit the EDM center, from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, before the show. Location is on 305 R. Duterte St., Banawa, Cebu City.

Indeed, the EDM centers have proven in more ways than one that “One child in school, means one less on the street.” May your tribe increase EDM!


There’s so much more French among and around us!

Recently, at a gathering during the inauguration of La Vie Parisienne, I joked with the ladies beside me, “Why is your place getting to be a little French capital?” I was chatting with the heirs of the benevolent, revered old Cebu Velez clan, Sony, Marilu, Coring, Sr. Marietta, etc. Laughter followed.

Well, it’s true, for the French school, Alliance Francaise, first set up their center at the Velez ancestral home. Then followed the French Specialty Restaurant, Le Maison Rose and lately, the high-end French Deli, La Vie Parisienne, which is located along Gorordo Ave. and looks out to a French garden behind.

La Vie serves authentic, oven-hot French bread (which you can smell a mile away). You can enjoy famous French wine from the wine library—or simply browse through their deli collection, consisting of cold cuts, a variety of cheeses, and macaroons oozing with flavor as only the French can “twist” it!

Today, we have featured a cross-section of Cebu’s lovers of anything and everything French, food, drinks, dessert, or what have you, o la la!
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