Manila Children’s Hope Center expands curriculum to include nutrition education; progress seen in literacy and math goals for 60 students enrolled

Photo: Our program is made possible not only by your generous donations but by countless hours volunteered by concerned local citizens.

Today we bring you a good report from our Children’s Hope Center after-school care program in the Payatas Landfill Colony of Manila, Philippines. We recently added nutrition education to the students’ curriculum. Our 5 faithful volunteers are teaching the 60 children enrolled in the Hope Center and 20 children (all ages 4-17) from the local community about “Go, Grow, and Glow” foods. This nutrition education program informs the children about the proper foods to eat and the nutrients in each food group. As we teach the children about nutrition, we serve them the various healthy food items to both help them understand and satisfy their hunger, giving them energy and growing and glowing bodies.

The “Go” foods we serve to the children are rice, sweet potatoes, bread, and pasta. The “Grow” foods we serve are eggs, meat (chicken and pork), and fish. The “Glow” foods are fruits and vegetables such as moringa leaves, legumes, cabbage, carrots, sweet potato leaves, bananas, and apples which are all full of vitamins and minerals to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. This new education program is important so that the children will know how to become healthier and how to eat a balanced diet. And having knowledge about a healthy, balanced diet will significantly decrease the risk of disease among the children.

In addition to the nutrition curriculum, the 60 students enrolled in our Children’s Hope Center after-school care program continue to study math, English, their native Filipino language, science, social studies, technology, and skill development in grades 1-6, and algebra, geometry, English, the Filipino language, biology, chemistry, physics, social studies, technology, and skill development in junior high until the academic year ends in March. The children receive homework tutoring for these subjects and we also provide additional nutrition support for the children by giving them snacks and a fresh-cooked meal — lately they have enjoyed a delicious porridge made with chicken and moringa leaves before going home for the day. Moringa leaves contain the super-nutrient moringa oleifera, widely known for its powerful concentrations of antioxidants, vitamin C and beta-carotene.

We also continue to focus on the problem of illiteracy amongst impoverished children in our community — an important part of our weekly after-school care program which has proven so successful in our other Children’s Hope Centers — and we are very encouraged by the positive results. Our children (ages 4-8) have improved in their reading skills; they can now perform four digit addition, subtraction, and multiplication, and they can recognize simple words in English. Our children (ages 9-12) have excelled in reading and writing, expressing their written thoughts and feelings in their native Filipino language, and mathematics — we are currently teaching these children five digit division.

Furthermore, we are working with the older children on how to construct paragraphs and write essays. Our hard-working volunteers are planning to offer a daily tutorial during the school break to assess and evaluate exactly what the children learned during the school year. During the last week in April, we will have a recognition ceremony to award those who have excelled in the academic subjects of English, the Filipino language, reading, writing, and mathematics. When the children are not studying diligently, they enjoy playing outdoor games such as dodge ball, Patintero, and Chinese Garter.

In other good news, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to hold a Christmas celebration for the 60 children enrolled in our Children’s Hope Center and 20 children from the local community on December 22nd. The children enjoyed playing games such as the Calamansi Relay, Limbo, Trip to Jerusalem (musical chairs), Santa Says (Simon Says), and Stop Dance (Freeze Dance). They also sang Christmas songs and hymns as they celebrated Christ’s birth. The children were served a special, festive meal of chicken palabok with spaghetti, and we gave candy to the children as special treats when they won the games. All of the children also received a T-shirt and new shoes as Christmas gifts. All were so happy and grateful for such a fun and memorable Christmas party.

We are extremely thankful for your prayers and generous support which makes all that we do for these children possible.

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