A Lesson in Giving
From Sea Nomads

By Ricard “Toyditz” Cosico, Regional Program Support Manager for Asia

A group of impoverished Badjao mothers in the Philippiness open their hearts and nearly empty pocketbooks to donate to survivors of Typhoon Odette.

A group of Badjao mothers in Matina Aplaya, shown here with some of their kids, raised money to help families affected by Typhoon Odette in the Philippines. The photo at the top of the pages shows a Badjao community whose small houses rest on poles at the shoreline.

The Badjaos are sea nomads, a Malay people who have lived at sea for centuries, fishing and diving for a living in Davao Gulf between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They are highly skilled divers who hunt for fish and sea cucumbers and search for pearls. They also live in poverty.

A community of Badjaos in Matina Aplaya, a neighborhood in Davao City in the Philippines, are also beneficiaries of OneChild’s program in partnership with a local church there.

After Super Typhoon Odette left thousands of families homeless and hungry in December 2021 in the Visayas region – including our children and families in Cebu – Program Adviser Rhea Juson informed OneChild partners about the situation and the pressing needs of the affected families.

Super Typhoon Odette left thousands of families homeless in the Philippines.

According to the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, nearly 4 million people in more than 400 cities were affected by the typhoon, and more than half a million were displaced during Christmas, one of the most important holidays in the Philippines.

A few days after she issued a plea for assistance, Rhea received a message from the Badjao mothers in Matina Aplaya asking her where they could send money for the victims of the typhoon. These mothers were able to raise the equivalent of $100 to help affected families, Rhea says.

Rhea was astounded that these Badjao mothers, who can barely meet their own needs, were so filled with compassion for the typhoon’s victims that they scrambled to pitch in whatever they had to help them out. The mothers realized there were others who were more in need than they were, Rhea says.

Some Badjao mothers in Isla Verde Badjao Church, who are not even beneficiaries of OneChild’s program, also gave beyond their means. The total amount they collected is not a big amount, but it shows the transformation that happened in their hearts when they found out about others in desperate need.

So instead of their usual daily existence of just thinking about themselves and what they will eat tomorrow, these mothers opened their hearts — and pocketbooks — to help those even less fortunate.

To help us respond to kids and families in need following a disaster, please give to the Children’s Crisis Fund.

See how OneChild comes alongside the severely impoverished Badjao people to give them a hand up and hope for a better future:

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