Cebu: Farmland enterprise enjoys ongoing harvest at fishery; students receive high scores on final exams; story of one child’s progress in our programs

Photo: A student at our Children’s Hope Center after school care program is happy about the tutoring and nutrition support she receives, ensuring her success in school.

We are very happy to report that all 40 children (ages 6-18) enrolled in our Children’s Hope Center after-school care program on the island of Cebu, Philippines, took their final exams in March and all received A’s. To prepare for their final exams, the children diligently studied and received extra tutoring sessions for their school subjects of English, math, science, social studies, and physical education.

We are extremely proud of the children’s dedication to their studies, resulting in their accomplishment of receiving the highest possible scores on their exams. We are also thankful for our faithful Hope Center staff who help the children succeed and flourish. Now the children are enjoying a relaxing holiday break until school resumes in June, enjoying fun activities such as flying kites, going swimming, and playing outdoor ball games together.

Along with education and nutrition support, our Hope Center staff offers a Vacation Bible School (VBS) style outreach program for the 40 enrolled children as well as children from the local community once a month. This fun program includes age-relevant Bible study, singing songs, and Bible games and quizzes. The children also enjoy recreational games such as sack races, tug-of-war, volleyball, and badminton. In addition to our Cebu Hope Center, we started a new VBS-style outreach program in 3 areas of a local mountainous region, and the enrollment has recently increased to 495 children (ages 4-18). We offer all of these children nutritious fresh-cooked meals, juice, and chocolate porridge.

One child who has greatly benefited from our the outreach program is 10-year old Jelena*, a child from the local community. Jelena’s family is very impoverished, so when they heard about our outreach program and how much it blesses the children, they asked if we could enroll their daughter. We readily accepted Jelena into the program and her parents are very thankful. When Jelena first joined the program, she was in poor health, malnourished, weak, and underweight. But now that Jelena has been receiving nutrition support from our program for awhile, she is feeling stronger and healthier. Her favorite things to eat and drink during the VBS program are chicken, vegetables, and orange juice. Her favorite activities to enjoy with the other children are various ball games and dancing.

Jelena is now in the 5th grade and her favorite subjects in school are social studies, math, and art. Our field director reports: “Every time we offer the VBS program, Jelena is very excited because she knows she will receive a good meal that we have prepared. At first, the program was primarily a way for her to eat nutritious food and develop her initiative. In addition, now the program has greatly helped her and guided her to know how to walk with God in her life.”

In other good news, our native team recently harvested 35 pounds of mature, healthy fish from the large pond at our fishery, which gave us a net savings “profit” of $40 since we don’t have to buy that fish at the local market. We also we recently added around 3,000 fingerlings to the small pond structure at our fishery which we are feeding and raising to be harvested in January. We are seeking to raise an additional $164 to purchase 9 more aerators which will bring both pond fish habitats to maximum quality.

Our hen house project continues to operate efficiently, an essential part of our farmland enterprise. We currently have 134 hens, and egg production is steady — our hens are currently laying an average of 115 eggs per day. The demand for fresh eggs from our neighbors is so great that our native team sells them on a wait-listed basis directly to the consumers daily, which is currently bringing us an average net profit of $325 per month.

Our banana grove continues to thrive with 103 trees which are harvested weekly — we currently harvest around 4 large bunches of bananas per week, which gives us an average weekly net profit of $8. It may not seem like much, but our profits from banana sales quickly add up since we harvest them every week. Also, bananas are a delicious nutritional staple in our children’s diets, providing them with a good source of potassium and other vital nutrients.

To round out the good news from our farmland, in April we harvested 180 mature coconuts and 250 young coconuts and sold them at market for a net profit of $65 — every amount helps to supplement our Cebu programs since we harvest our coconuts quarterly.

We are grateful for your support which makes all that we do for these children possible. In the words of our field director: “We give thanks to the Lord for the favor and protection He has given us. We have peace of mind and joy in our hearts always because we know that God is in our side.”

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* Names are changed to protect our program beneficiaries.

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