Tracking Citizen-Heroes: Digitizing the Archives of Gota de Leche

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La Protección de la Infancia, Inc. (LPDI), otherwise known as Gota de Leche, is the Philippines’ oldest existing charitable institution. It was established by patriots and feminists in 1906 with a milk station and dairy – a socialized distribution system of pasteurized cow’s milk and the formulation of maternal nutrition and education programs as its first activities – which was aptly named Gota de Leche (‘a drop of milk’).

LPDI has been a DSWD-accredited NGO since 2013, as well as a member of the Association of Foundations since 2014. Gota de Leche has the longest track-record of social service with a focus on nutrition support for malnourished infants and children, and the health of mothers, without interruption – even during World War II.

Some of the institution’s more notable achievements include the establishment of the first dairy farm in the country, the first puericulture centers, and the first pediatric hospital (the Manila Children’s Hospital). Gota de Leche holds office at a National Historical Site along SH Loyola Street in Manila, which has also been declared an Important Cultural Property by the National Museum.

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How did a charity group raise funds for its projects right after a devastating war?

How did a small group of educated women cooperate with male medical professionals without ending up in gender debates?

How could an American colonial government allow a group of nationalists to organize among themselves without mutual suspicion?

These questions, just a few among many, were answered in increments with the discovery of important historical documents that were stashed away in various locations and circumstances over the last 30 years. These archives tell the story not only of the active participation of nation-builders (a significant number of which were women), but also of citizen-heroes including individual founders of organizations, as well as leaders in the arts, business, and civic work.

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To view the Gota’s digital archives, click the links below:

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junta direct

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