From being a ship captain, Mr. Jae Jung Jang’s passion turned to compassion due to his frequent visits and time spent with the Filipino Persons Affected by Leprosy (PALs). “When I had the chance to hold a deformed hand of a leper, I was touched. It was like God saying, ‘You have to help them,’ [and] I felt I had to extend more help to cured leprosy patients,” says Mr. Jang, the Founder and Chairman of Sorok Uni Foundation. From there, he was inspired to establish Sorok Uni, whose programs were focused on rehabilitating the lives of PALs.
Through the years, Sorok Uni witnessed phases of PALs beneficiaries’ lives from being cured of Leprosy to reintegration back to society and one of them is Yolly Capintes. Yollyses or Yolly was first diagnosed with Leprosy in 1997 due to the numbness of some parts of his body which is one of the symptoms of the mentioned disease. Because of this, he lost contact with his loved ones, as well as his family who even has no history of Leprosy.
In 2007, he decided to seek medical assistance at Tala Hospital, Caloocan and was able to get proper treatment. Yolly underwent the ALS or Alternative Learning System to pursue his studies. Then, he continued his studies and graduated with a degree in Education Major in English in 2019.
Cured & Empowered: After being cured from Leprosy, Yolly pursued his dreams to graduate and be an educator.
Now, he is teaching at Holy Rosary College Foundation, the same school where he graduated. From being a beneficiary, Yolly is now the Community Coordinator of Sorok NCR in Tala, Caloocan assisting families, Dream Project Scholars, and Persons Affected by Leprosy.
“Before, I’ve been emotional after knowing Yolly will graduate because as one of the people who witnessed his life from being a Person Affected by Leprosy to an empowered cured Leprosy Patient, I feel delighted knowing that his dreams are turning to reality.”, stated by Ms. Mharie Billones, A Sorok Uni employee who is for working for 15 years in the organization.
The foundation envisioned a Philippines without forgotten neighbors, hence, it also started to cater sectors that are considered the least (unfortunate), the lost (displaced), and the last (marginalized). These groups are the Homeless and Displaced Individuals in Manila, Filipino Underprivileged Children in NCR, Region IV-A, Region IX, and MIMAROPA and Indigenous Peoples in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. In addition, SUFI established and enhanced its programs and services to properly facilitate the provision of relief, rehabilitation, and empowerment, in order for the beneficiaries to live independently and become sustainable.
The Least, The Lost, and The Last: Apart from the Persons Affected by Leprosy, Sorok Uni Foundation started to cater Homeless and Displaced Individuals, Filipino Underprivileged Children, and Indigenous Peoples.
As the foundation enhanced its programs, it also advocated “Consciousness-Raising” on its 20th anniversary this year. This campaign aims to raise awareness to the beneficiaries and to the public about the importance of being aware of one’s condition, capabilities, and know the importance of collaborating together towards development.
Health is wealth. People can function effectively when they are in good health. With this, Sorok Uni Foundation conducted a Medical Mission for the 300 Homeless beneficiaries of Manila at Manila Boystown, Parang, Marikina, in celebration of its 21st founding anniversary.
The said activity includes General Medicine, Dental Services, Skin Consultation, Mobile X-Ray, and Leprosy Awareness Seminar. The medical services were carried out by PGH-Dermatology, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and Medical Professionals and the event was successfully conducted with the help of SUFI’s dedicated volunteers.
When people come together, they become more aware of the importance of development and are motivated to strive toward greater possibilities.
With this, SUFI Communities namely Region IV-A, Region IX celebrated the 20th anniversary through worship, poster and slogan making contest, film viewing, and sharing of learnings. The activities were conducted because we believe that harmonious relationships within a community can raise consciousness toward development.
Fellowship & Togetherness: Sorok Region IV-A celebrated Sorok Uni's 21st anniversary through worship, poster and slogan making contest, and sharing of reflections.
Togetherness towards Great Possibilities: Sorok Region IX celebrated Sorok Uni's 21st anniversary through worship, poster and slogan making contest, film viewing, and sharing of learnings.
Milestones and memories can be remembered and celebrated through photographs, for it served as tangible reminders of the achievements and significant events that people had. Sorok MIMAROPA also celebrated Sorok Uni Foundation's 21st founding anniversary at Inawa Panaynep Elementary School and Libagon Elementary School, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro through a photo exhibit and a film viewing. The said activities were administered because the organization believes that past success may be a significant source of inspiration and motivation in one's life.
Creativity towards Positivity: Sorok MIMAROPA also celebrated Sorok Uni Foundation's 21st founding anniversary at Inawa Panaynep Elementary School and Libagon Elementary School, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro through a photo exhibit and film viewing.
Also, the anniversary was also celebrated in the additional program beneficiary - Culasisi Elementary School in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. The said school conducted a poster making contest and film viewing. The said activities served as an avenue to hone skills, which can contribute in raising consciousness toward development.
Arts, Minds with Hearts: Culasisi Elementary School also celebrated Sorok Uni Foundation's 21st founding anniversary through a poster making contest.
There’s nothing that a father can’t do, especially if it’s for love. Sorok Uni Foundation was a product of a father’s love towards the least, the lost, and the last - the forgotten neighbors. Mr. Jang’s compassion and dedication, through the foundation, did extraordinary things in uplifting lives through the right way of helping and making them realize their skills and capabilities through empowerment.
“I felt that everyday should be a new day and that you should be excited about what's to come. A person’s life shouldn’t be fixed on doing the same routine every day because that is when we lose our energy and passion, you just become a slave to a lifeless system.”, said by Mr. Jae Jung Jang.
Apart from being a father, Mr. Jang’s life also served as an inspiration to everyone. Truly, anyone being at their best is a continuous journey, not just a fixed destination. It is best when people will embrace the process of self-discovery, growth, and improvement to become the best version of themselves.