Philippines Update: Autumn banana harvest yields 352 lbs., improvements to Cebu Children’s Hope Center completed

Photo: The girls at our Philippines Girls Home are happy about the recent banana harvest.

We are happy to report that we recently harvested 352 lbs. of bananas from our banana grove. We are thankful for this nutritional staple in our children’s diets which provides them with a high source of potassium as well as other nutrients such as magnesium, folate, vitamins A and C, and dietary fiber. Our coconut grove is also flourishing with 115 trees, including 30 new coconut trees which we planted 6 months ago — the new coconut trees will mature in 7-8 years. We will harvest our 85 mature coconut trees in mid-November — we reap a harvest of over 1,400 coconuts per year. The younger coconuts are used in the children’s diets — after the nuts are opened, the soft sweet meat is delicious to eat, and the juice is refreshing and hydrating. Coconut milk, made from the meat of coconuts, also provides our children with nutrients including vitamins C and E, many B vitamins, and magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.

Our recently expanded piggery is currently housing 8 mature pigs and 1 piglet. This micro-venture at our farmland is a valuable source of income for us since each healthy, mature pig sells for $175 at market. We also recently launched a free-range poultry farming project at our farmland enterprise — it includes 45 mature ducks, 39 ducklings, and 35 chickens, which are all in strong demand at the local market as well. They are easy to maintain and care for, so they will multiply quickly, yielding higher profits from our future sales. The poultry is also a healthy addition to our children’s diets, giving them a nourishing source of protein.

In pursuit of our sustainability goals, our team has also maintained a hen house project which currently consists of 140 hens that produce between 120-300 eggs per day. Things are also going very well at our two fishery ponds which are currently stocked with around 7,000 healthy fish — our next fish harvest will be this month or possibly November. The main concrete-lined pond holds a volume of approximately 20,000 gallons (75,000 liters) of fresh water pumped from our on-campus well. The supply of fresh fish vastly supplements the nutrition of our students and children in our outreach programs.

PicFramePhoto inset: (Top-left): A member of our native Cebu team cares for hens in our hen house, which currently consists of 140 hens that produce between 120-300 eggs per day. (Top-right): Our native team gave hygiene kits to all of the children enrolled in the Cebu Children’s Hope Center. (Bottom-left): Several girls from our Philippines girls home recently competed in a municipal student sports league and won first prize in the cheer dance competition. (Bottom-right): Our native team is excited about the recently expanded piggery, which currently houses 8 mature pigs and 1 piglet.

In other good news, our new Children’s Hope Center on the island of Cebu is doing well with 34 children enrolled in the Hope Center’s after-school care program which includes homework tutoring for the subjects they are studying in school — English, their native Filipino language, science, math, geography, history, and civics — and other activities, along with snack and meal services for children suffering from extreme poverty. With your support we were able to give hygiene kits to all of the children enrolled — each kit includes toothpaste, a toothbrush, mouthwash, shampoo, soap, baby powder, a towel, a washcloth, lotion, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, Kleenex, a comb, and deodorant.

The Cebu program is held in a new multipurpose facility on our main campus we’ve been slowly working on for about a year now. We recently completed construction on a new bathroom at the Hope Center. This is a great blessing because now the children will have their own private restrooms. Another recent improvement is the construction of a visitor’s receiving room with air conditioning, which is a comfort during the hot summer months. To round out the good news, our girls recently competed in a municipal student sports league and won first prize in the cheer dance competition, which they really enjoyed.

Thank you for your prayers and support which enable 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.

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