In the early 1990s, two Divine Word Missionaries, Fr. Heinz Kulüke, SVD and Fr. Max Abalos, SVD led the journey with the poor and the marginalized sectors of Cebu City, Philippines. They got involved in the concrete life situations of the fisher folks, urban poor, informal settlers, prostituted women and children and the scavengers of the four dumpsites of Metro Cebu.
It was also during this time, that another priest, Fr. John Iacomo, who was very active in the prison ministry started building up kindergartens as a long-term preventive measure for the children of today not to become the prisoners of tomorrow.
However, in the process, Fr. John also realized that if children would not have decent homes, and still have the same environment that would not promote good values, they might still go wayward and eventually end up in prison. It would be a never-ending cycle.
So, he initiated the San Pio Village project. It kicked off in 2006 and most of the houses were sponsored by the Habitat for Humanity, a foundation that put faith into action by building affordable homes in order to break the cycle of poverty.
However, due to health reasons, Fr. John had to go back to Australia. The project was turned over to Fr. Heinz Kulüke, SVD. The new management asked the leadership of the SVD congregation’s social arm, the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation – Integrated Development Corporation (JPIC-IDC) to manage San Pio Village.
Later on, with the leadership of JPIC-IDC, more houses were created and more structures and services were erected: livelihood building, cooperative building, drainage system, water pumps, concrete gate and barriers, multi-purpose building, basketball court, playground and piped water system.
Eventually, the word “Janssenville” was attached to San Pio Village as a tribute to the founder of the SVD, St. Arnold Janssen. The JPIC leaders then started calling the housing beneficiaries as their “home partners.”
Also, more JPIC-IDC programs and projects were implemented in the village, like scholarship, livelihood, technical and vocational support to selected homeowners.
The JPIC-IDC is rooted in the vision of “fullness of life in a transformed society” and it commits to five very important missions: (1) women and children development; (2) human and community development; (3) economic and cooperative development; (4) education, and (5) disaster preparedness and emergency response and rehabilitation.