Ruth Carlos-Martinez is an inspiration and her commitment over her lifetime to make a difference in the lack of clean water in the Philippines is iconic.
Ruth had an early introduction into humanitarian work through her mother. She helped as a volunteer at age 14 in Manila’s slums, and even then, she learnt something about pushing back on bureaucracy and establishment.
Ruth came to Australia from the Philippines in 1979. With a BSc and MBA, she progressed to senior IT roles in a career spanning 24 years with Coles and Wesfarmers. She also qualified in professional counselling and ran a regional women’s wellness retreat.
While Ruth’s projects are mainly in the Philippines, she is a charter member of Rotary International’s Water and Sanitation Action Group. As Chair for Southern Region RAWCS on Sustainable Development, Water and Sanitation, she has worked on projects in Thailand, Uganda and Nepal.
In 2018, Ruth was the first recipient of Rotary International’s Zone 8 (Australasia) Humanitarian Service Award. She has been recognised with multiple awards for her humanitarian work, including from DFAT and the Philippines Government. In 2010 she received a Presidential Award conferred by the Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III for successful projects carried out across infrastructure, livelihood, women and children empowerment, education and combating child slavery. She is the first and only Australian to receive this award.
While Ruth is reticent when it comes to self-publicity, she does not shy away from promoting her projects. “We make a living by what we get,” she says. “But it is through hard work, effort and wilful tenacity to help the underprivileged that we make a life by what we give.”
The pictures below show Ruth working with the local communities in the following areas:
- Nambucayan Kalinga site, and five municipalities/schools;
- Bulanao Sped,
- Laya West.
This is a Project of Rotary Melbourne, Rotary Club of Tabuk and Meycauayan Uptown with LGU Tabuk, and our Rotary District 9800.
Ruth viewing a waterhole with poor access and potable water.