Philippines program celebrates 12 years; solar project and new slum outreach facility planned

Photo: Children at our Children’s Hope Center in Manila are happy to be provided with nutritious meals and access to education.

We are happy to report that our native team has been hard at work blessing the lives of our children on the island of Cebu for 12 years now. One way that our team reaches out to these children is through Saturday day camps, providing a fun, enriching environment where the children learn songs, make crafts, and play group games in a VBS setting. They’re also given basic hygiene supplies and taught how to brush their teeth. Sadly, 3 out of 4 children on the island experience advanced tooth decay. We’ve seen vast improvement in these statistics among the villages in which we’ve been working over the years.

In pursuit of our sustainability goals, we’ve also equipped our team with a banana grove, a coconut grove, a fishery, a piggery, and a hen house project. We believe that all of these efforts will help diversify and increase profits, empowering our local team to reach even more children. Thanks to profits from our Philippines farmland enterprise, we distributed school supplies to 415 impoverished children this year. These school supplies are items their families could not afford — supplies they must have in order to attend local schools. In addition, 30 children received full scholarships this year, providing them with other school needs such as uniforms and shoes in addition to supplies.

We are now seeking to raise $19,820 to purchase and install a complete solar power system at our orphan home, which will give our girls a consistent source of electricity and light as they study and use the computers for school research. Solar power will also stabilize our electricity source for the water well pump and aeration system at our fishery on the island of Cebu. The tank has increased our water flow which supplies the fishery, and it also provides clean baths for the children, aiding their hygiene and health. Water for the fishery is continually aerated and supplied with fresh water from a pure aquifer using our own well, reducing the chances of fish contamination to almost nil. In addition to all of these benefits, installing solar power on campus will reduce our monthly electric bill from $200 a month to just $30 a month or less.

09_2015PhilippinesPicFramePhoto inset: (Top-left) Children who benefit from our VBS-style outreach program are excited to receive much needed dental hygiene supplies. (Top-right): A young girl on the island of Cebu is grateful for a hot meal from our outreach program. (Bottom-left): A member of our field staff is excited about the progress of the piggery on our main campus. (Bottom-right): The hen house on our main campus provides fresh eggs both for meals and for profits to empower our outreach programs.

We are also seeking to construct a permanent building for our Children’s Hope Center, deep in the heart of one of Manila’s most hazardous slums. Situated on the edge of a huge city landfill, the Payatas Colony is a living nightmare where children play in contaminated drainage and are working in unthinkable, hazardous conditions as young as age 5. We’ve acquired a small plot of land in the colony and are ready to build a dedicated space for the Hope Center. Our budget to construct a small building and outfit the space with classroom equipment is $20,000.

Our Manila slum outreach education program is currently reaching 150 children (ages 3-15) who have registered with us. The program is based on our successful model of educational support, tutoring, and nutrition aid we developed in Hyderabad, India. We have started a small education scholarship program for the most at-risk children which includes the provision of school supplies, hygiene items, and uniforms needed to get registered in local schools. However, we have many more children in our program who are in need but have not received scholarships due to funding constraints.

Our new Hope Center facility will not only serve as an education and nutrition center for the children, but will also serve as a small orphan home led by our program director Malaya, a single mother who has a huge heart for these children and lives among them with her own two children. The new building will also enhance our ability to conduct VBS style activities during the rainy season. The children of the community have come to love the activities of the program which include group games, art, singing, and dancing.

In Malaya’s own words: “I see myself as a servant of God simply doing His work for His children, children whom society has mostly forgotten. I was trained in management in the United Arab Emirates and learned a lot about servant leadership. I returned here because I want to apply what I have learned to teach, train, and nurture these children in my home colony. I remain engaged in the everyday aspects of the community, as these are my neighbors. As such, I feel strongly compelled to help them as their sister, without fear, as the Bible encourages us. I want to see all of the children of the colony trained, nurtured and equipped to become strong citizens who are spiritually refined.”

Thanks to your support and generous contributions from our donors, Malaya and the rest our native team will be able to continue their hard work — enriching the lives of our children, breaking the cycle of poverty, and rescuing them from child labor.

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