Cebu: Story of one impoverished girl’s transformation at orphan home; education and farmland programs news roundup

Photo: The girls living at our Cebu Girls Home are thankful for weekly harvests of bananas on our farmland enterprise, the profits supplementing our programs.

Today we are happy to share the redemptive story of a girl living at our orphan home, 12-year-old Tala.* She came to live with us this year because her family situation was very difficult for her and her 4 siblings (ages 8-19). Her father is a security guard and her mother does not have a job due to a lack of education, thus their monthly income ($196) is not enough to be able to provide food, clothing, and an education for their 5 children.

Tala’s family lives in a simple, one room unfinished house with one bed which cannot fit everyone, so some of the children have to sleep on the floor. Tala and her family often missed daily meals because of their poverty, but if they were able to eat it was always dried fish and vegetables. Tala tried to find work to help her family, but no one would hire her because she was too young. The few times Tala could attend school, her classmates ridiculed her old, worn school uniform which was very embarrassing.

Thankfully, Tala heard about our Girls Home from some of our other girls at school when she was able to attend. Her parents approached us and asked for our help because they realized that we could provide everything Tala needs such as healthy meals, clothing, a comfortable bed to sleep in, and school supplies, uniforms, and enrollment fees. Tala is now in the 7th grade and her favorite subjects are English and social studies. Her favorite foods are chicken adobo and fish tinola, two popular Filipino dishes. Tala wants to find a good job after she graduates so that she can support her family.

Our field director reports: “Tala feels happy, blessed, and encouraged. She is happy because she can continue to go to school and can eat properly. She is blessed because of all the things that she experiences right now in the Girls Home. And she is encouraged because by continuing to go to school, she will have a better future and be able to help her family.”

In other good news, the children started back to school in June — we currently have 40 children (ages 6-19) enrolled in our Children’s Hope Center after-school care program. We were thankful to be able to provide all of the children with new shoes and school uniforms, and new backpacks, notebooks, pens, and pencils. The children are receiving fresh-cooked meals such as chicken, eggs, vegetables, and soup, and tutoring for their school subjects of English, their native Filipino language, math, science, social studies, and physical education.

Our Hope Center tutoring program is helping our students overcome their struggles with harder subjects in school, such as math. Our faithful teachers quiz the children and drill them on facts related to their more challenging subjects so they can memorize facts and gain better comprehension of these subjects. The students also get one-on-one time with the teachers to benefit from real tutoring sessions in a personalized way. In addition, the children are now preparing for their end-of-semester-exams in December by getting more one-on-one personalized tutoring time with the teachers, and also taking quizzes to prepare them for taking the exams.

In July and September, our native team harvested 77 pounds of mature fish from the large pond structure at our fishery which gave us a good profit at market. We usually sell out of our fish supply quickly because it is in high demand as they are known as the freshest, most delicious fish in the area.

To keep our next batch of fish healthy, we are seeking to raise $168 to purchase 9 aerators which will bring our large and small pond fish habitats to maximum quality. The aerators enhance the pond fish habitats by improving the water quality, reducing algae, removing phosphorus, breaking down unwanted bacteria, helping with mosquito problems, and removing foul odors from the ponds — all by circulating the water and adding dissolved oxygen.

Our banana grove continues to thrive with 103 trees which are harvested weekly — we currently harvest around 5 large bunches of bananas per week, which gives us an average weekly net profit of $14. It may not seem like much, but our profits from banana sales quickly add up since we harvest them every week.

In October we harvested 104 mature coconuts and 86 young coconuts and sold them at market for a helpful net profit — every amount helps to supplement our Cebu programs since we harvest our coconuts quarterly.

Our hen house project continues to operate smoothly, an important part of our farmland enterprise. We currently have 123 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 $336 per month.

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Take a Closer Look: view more photos from this project and others

* Names are changed to protect our program beneficiaries.

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