Photo: A few of the children from the program pose for a shot in front of the new Hope Center facility.
We are happy to report that construction of a permanent building for our Children’s Hope Center in the Payatas Colony was completed earlier this month. The last phase of our construction efforts were focused on completing the tile work on the entrance of the building and in the kitchen, painting the walls, and furnishing the building with bookshelves, tables, and chairs. The electricity will be connected soon, and with your support, we also hope to purchase ceiling fans so that our children will have everything they need to stay cool during the warmest months. We are very thankful because the new building will reduce our standing overhead since we will no longer need to rent our old facility.
Our native team held a dedication ceremony on September 17th to celebrate the opening of this new permanent building with 80 of our children, their parents, our staff and volunteers, and the local community. The children enjoyed balloons and paper cut-out decorations, good food, and orange juice and chocolate milk as a special treat. The children also received treatment from a dental mission run by volunteers from the local church. The children received vitamins and anti-inflammatory medication, and some children had tooth extractions if needed. The children and their parents felt very blessed by the celebration, and the care provided to their dental health. In the words of our director Malaya: “The children were very glad that their center is already finished. They quickly sweep the floor and really excited to use and play inside. We have seen to their faces how grateful they are for their new home.”
Photo inset: (Top-left): A member of our native Manila team poses with some of the children enrolled in our Hope Center program. (Top-right): A dedication ceremony was held recently to celebrate the opening of the new Manila Hope Center building. (Bottom-left): The children who attended the Hope Center opening received treatment from a local dental mission. (Bottom-right): These local children are thankful for the education and nutrition support they will receive from our Manila Children’s Hope Center.
Until now, the existing program in Manila has been more focused on nutrition support and Saturday computer classes, but this new building will allow for the daily after-school care program which has proven so successful in our other Children’s Hope Centers. We will follow the model of educational support, tutoring, and nutrition aid that we first developed in the slums of Hyderabad, India in 2011. The children will now be able to find help with their homework in the subjects of math, English, science, and their native Filipino language, work on the computers, and get snacks and a fresh-cooked meal such as soup and vegetables & rice before going home for the day thanks to our faithful director Malaya — a single mother who has a huge heart for these children — and our 6 volunteers. We currently have 130 children (ages 3-16) enrolled in the program who will enjoy the improved facilities. With your generous support, we hope to provide the children with continual nutrition support, and school supplies that they will use for their school work and other activities. We also plan to provide T-shirts for the children with a Children’s Hope Center logo to give recognition to our program. Lastly, the children also need personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, antibacterial soap, shampoo, cotton balls, and bathing sponges as we teach them how to better care for their bodies.
The new building will also enable us to offer Bible study for the children every Saturday, and conduct VBS style activities during the rainy season in the summer. The children of the community have come to love the activities of the program which include group games, art, singing, dancing, and learning how to make crafts for their parents. By keeping the children successfully enrolled in school we can keep them out of the extremely hazardous child labor that goes on in the Payatas Colony, and also give them much better chances of avoiding the perils of human trafficking which currently plague Manila. It is estimated that over 60,000 children are involved in child prostitution in metro Manila, with its staggering population of 23 million.
Thank you for your prayers and support which enable Malaya and the rest our native team to continue their hard work — enriching the lives of our children, breaking the cycle of poverty, and rescuing them from child labor by helping us finally reach our vision of a fully operational and properly equipped after-school care program.
Take a Closer Look: view more photos from this project and others