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Loren gives back to life

Riza Loren Roxas Butalid Foundation will benefit students in Cranbrook, Philippines
Riza Loren Roxas Butalid

Barry Coulter

Fourteen years after her untimely death, Riza Loren Roxas Butalid lives on, in a new foundation dedicated in her name to helping people in both Cranbrook and the Philippines.

The Riza Loren Roxas Butalid Foundation was actually started by her friends, who started to raise money in her memory after she was hit by a car, at age 14, in front of her school in the United Arab Emirates, where her family was working at the time.

The Butalid family, who have lived in Cranbrook since 2008 and become active members of the community, and grown and evolved the foundation so that it can now offer bursaries at the College of the Rockies and at Mount Baker Secondary School.

Education has always been of prime importance to Lourdes and Butch Butalid, and their three other children.

“The Lord may have taken her away from us,” Lourdes said. “But he has also given us the opportunity to be parents to many.

“Our goal is to be able to offer scholarships to poor and deserving students to the College of the Rockies and Mount Baker Secondary School in Canada as well as at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, Philippines.”

It has also raised money for the building of 21 houses through Gawad Kalinga in Mindanao, Philippines.   And the Loren Foundation will continue this project in partnership with ANCOP (Answering the Cry Of the Poor), an international non-governmental organization (NGO).

Locally, the foundation is accepting donations to put the COTR and high school bursaries in place.

“We will start small, but it will grow,” Lourdes said.

A board with a slate of directors is in place to oversee the foundation, and a bank account has been set up to receive donations see below).

The accident that claimed Loren happened just as the Butalid family was applying to move to Canada — Loren’s name was in fact on the family’s application. Lourdes said it was heartbreaking having to resubmit the application with her name removed.

The government of the UAE also paid the family a sum of “blood money,” as the family describes it, which is paid out in such circumstances according to Sharia Law. That money was also added to the foundation.

The Riza Loren Roxas Butalid Foundation has a Learning Resource Center in partnership with the Department of Education in Bogo City, Philippines, which was an area devastated by Typhoon Hyan in recent years. The Department of Education provided a classroom which was converted as Learning Resource Center at Dakit Elementary School, Bogo City, Philippines.  The foundation provided educational materials like books, DVDs, TV, educational shows.

The Foundation is also organizing a “Christmas in June” to around 650 children in that area.

“We are collecting new/old stuff toys to be given to these children at Dakit Elementary School, Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines, when classes open in June,” Lourdes said. “Most of these children may not know what a stuff toy is, or it will be their first time to have one.”

Lourdes added that many donations of stuffies have already come in for the occasion.

The Riza Loren Roxas Butalid Foundation, Inc. is in the process of being registered with BC Registry as an Interprovincial Not-for-Profit Organization.

A bank account at the East Kootenay Community Credit Union is now open. For those who would like to donate, please make cheques payable to Riza Loren Roxas Butalid Foundation, Inc.

Cheques can sent to Box 20040, Tamarack Mall, Cranbrook B.C., V1C 6J5.