Norberto Carcellar, CM
Norberto Carcellar was born November 1, 1951. He took vows on April 7, 1971. Ordained on May 3, 1977.
Fr Carcellar was assigned by the Congregation of the Mission to Payatas in 1991. Payatas is in Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines and it is a major garbage dump site for the region.
Fr Carcellar began acquainted with community-based savings initiatives in other countries. In June 1995 he and a few volunteers a community-based and -operated savings initiative. From those who wished to participate, he collected small savings of $1 a week or $0.50 a day. As numbers of savers increased, more volunteers began to provide office help. Doing so provided them the opportunity to learn rudimentary bookkeeping.
Within two and a half years, the savings program listed 5,300 depositors belonging to 540 savings groups. These included jeepney drivers, market vendors, tricycle drivers, school children, mothers saving for infants, and the elderly.
As a result of the savings program, savers were able to make down payments on property and to leave the dump site. They became recognized by the government as property owners.
The savings association offers small loans at market interest rates to community members. These loans provided investment capital for people who had been poor to set up small shops or begin small businesses. These new businesses generated a steady income for their owners, from which the loans were repaid. Quality of life improved dramatically.
The Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines has become very broad in scope. Now, at the beginning of 2008, it plays a key role in promoting savings in Southeast Asia.
In November, 2007 Fr Carcellar received $100,000 as a runner-up in the Opus Prize, which is funded by a foundation which partners with universities to provide opportunities for students to meet and interact with the recipients and to learn firsthand about social entrepreneurship.