"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." - Hebrews 6:10.
Ma. lourdes m. berin, executive trustee
Lourdes is originally from Western Visayas, but relocated to the urban center with her peasant family in search of a better life. As the eldest daughter, Lourdes aspired to complete her college studies in hopes of accessing better employment opportunities and to support her working-class family. Lourdes' "nanay" or mother was an active leader in a local parish and community organizations, and through her, Lourdes became involved in social concerns.
After graduating, Lourdes eagerly joined the mission work of Urban Missionaries (UM). She vividly remembers the words of a seminarian who recommended she get involved in Urban Missionaries. "He told me, 'You should serve the people.'" As a mission partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, UM is tasked to be of service to poor and struggling workers. In the beginning, Lourdes underwent exposure with workers in the picket-lines and in the communities. This experience has helped her become aware of the life and situation of workers. Lourdes informs her service in a wider context of how globalization, development, and social concerns affects Philippine society and its labor force.
Through the years, Lourdes has taken on various responsibilities both in the office and mission communities. Currently, Lourdes' role as executive trustee focuses on day-to-day implementation of its programs and services. "I love what I do and this is why I firmly commit myself in achieving UM's mission, vision, and goals.
erma Peralta-ngan, program officer
Erma is a proud wife, and mother to three children. Erma comes from a family of peasants in Quezon Province, and knows firsthand the importance of upholding workers' rights, justice, and equity for low-income households. During her college years, Erma was involved in the student movement to address student and faculty concerns, and larger societal concerns in the Philippines. In 1984, Erma joined Urban Missionaries (UM) as a Volunteer Teacher in their Family Life and Day Care Program. She taught the children of working mothers who worked in the harsh factories of Valenzuela City. At the same time, Erma organized women laborers in basic workers' rights trainings.
Currently, Erma is the Program Officer for the Workers Service Program (WSP). This program aims to empower women laborers through conducting various seminars and skills-trainings, and advocating for the rights and dignity of workers. Additionally, WSP provides direct support and services to different worker organizations in order to strengthen their awareness among our laborer population.
Erma has decades of experience in the handling of program management and services outreach. Erma says, "The work is very challenging, but my duties and responsibilities deepen my commitment and conviction in lifting poor workers and their families."