Beyond the Four Walls of a Classroom

By Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Content Specialist, with Fely Densing, Digos Hope Center director   |  Photos by Hope Center Staff

When Hope Centers in the Philippines were forced to close due to pandemic restrictions, two young girls took matters into their own hands to bring joyful center-like activities to other kids in their community. With a little help from Child Champions, these little heroes brought hope and joy into the lives of children in poverty.

When the global pandemic hit the Philippines, children in OneChild’s program were forced to stay at home and most Hope Centers closed for more than a year because of restrictions set by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, Child Champions continued to reach out to the children by visiting their homes and bringing home activities, food, sanitary supplies, and other forms of relief.

But it was different from what the children were used to. In the Hope Centers, there was storytelling, dancing, singing, and playing with other children. The children’s fun and laughter resounding from these activities were missing.

Two Girls and a Plan

Two girls, Crisha and Danier, both 12, felt they needed to do something because they missed their Hope Center activities, particularly their worship service where they sing songs to God. They live in the coastal area of Digos City, Davao del Sur in the Philippines.

Crisha and Danier, both 12, are registered in Digos Hope Center in Mindanao, Philippines. Crisha is sponsored while Danier is not, but both receive the same benefits from their Hope Center like academic tutorials, school supplies, annual medical and dental checkups, Hope Center activities, and nutritious meals.

One day, Crisha and Danier thought of gathering a few neighbor kids in an open space in front of their house for a simple prayer time, singing songs, and Bible storytelling. They asked the kids to bring their own chairs while they prepared visual aids using paper and the picture-Bible they received from the Hope Center. The kids loved it! So did their parents, as the kids were doing this all on their own.

“We want to teach them how to pray and Bible stories so they will get closer to God,” Crisha says of the children in their group. This is what compelled them to start weekly group gathering of kids in their community.

 

Crisha dreams of becoming a kindergarten teacher someday.

The following week, Crisha and Danier invited more kids to join. This time, they added snacks and some personalized cards as DIY (do-it-yourself) prizes for their games. The girls created a new form of youth development.

When their Child Champions heard what these girls were doing, they were amazed.

“I cannot imagine that at their young age, they could start something like that,” says Hope Center Director Fely Densing. “We really cannot limit the power of God in these children.”

Beyond Four Walls

With what Crisha and Danier started, the Hope Center is no longer limited to the four walls of their classroom anymore. Gatherings are anywhere – in the homes or in the communities where people are sharing the message of hope from the Bible, singing songs to God, and where children are having fun.

Since Crisha and Danier wanted to continue these gatherings, their Child Champions supported them with snacks and prizes for their games. Prizes included hair clips, toothpaste, baby powder, and school supplies.

Crisha and Danier are thankful for all the lessons they learned from their Child Champions, which they now share with other kids.

“We are thankful that we have Child Champions who taught us good values and introduced who Jesus is and how He loves us,” says Crisha. “They taught us how to pray and to do good to others.”

Future Child Champions

Danier dreams of becoming a chef someday.

These two girls have big dreams for themselves despite living in poverty.

“I want to finish school because I want to be a kindergarten teacher,” Crisha says.

Says Danier, “I want to be a chef because I love cooking different dishes. I want to cook delicious food for my family.”

In addition to their dreams, they also hope to continue helping children in their community in knowing God. Says Crisha, “We are doing this so we can teach these children stories from the Bible and for them to know God.”

“This way, we are helping other children to experience how God loves them and we are making them happy through our games,” Danier says.

As a Child Champion, Fely is encouraged to see the impact of their ministry in Crisha and Danier.

“We are grateful for Crisha and Danier because they are following what we are teaching them at the Hope Center, the lessons on values formation, academic tutorials, and God’s love,” says Fely. “This is challenging us to be more careful because they are looking up to us.”

It is because of God’s love and blessings that our Child Champions can extend themselves to these children. But they are not alone in this work. They have the support from the global community of Child Champions in OneChild through loving and generous sponsors.

Join the work of our Child Champions in the field in raising a new generation of Child Champions. Become a sponsor today!

Crisha and Danier’s group gathering includes fun games. At first, they used personalized drawing cards as prizes for the winners, but later, their Child Champions chipped in to provide prizes such as hair clips, toothpaste, baby powder, and school supplies.

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