Hope-Building: A Common Mission

By Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Communications Specialist   |  Photos by Babylene Bocayes and Hope Center staff

OneChild writer Babylene Bocayes describes how a unique partnership was formed in a remote, indigenous area of the Philippines between OneChild and community leaders to bring hope to children living in a hard place.

It was one of my most memorable experiences at OneChild. I was riding on an overloaded motorcycle in the rain. The driver and I bumped along on narrow roads over rough terrain going up the mountain. It felt like the road would never end. When we finally reached our destination, I knew this area, the Visayas region of the Philippines, was a hard place — and one where OneChild is committed to helping the indigenous people who live there.

Overloaded motorcycles journeyed to the Visayas region of the Philippines.

I was there with my colleagues to interview community members and write stories. My colleagues were there to assess whether OneChild could partner with community leaders to help children living in poverty.

OneChild in the Philippines partners with churches, schools, and other organizations that work with children living in poverty to give them hope for a better future. These children live in hard places like this tribal area. They also live in coastal areas, dump sites, and urban communities where they lack access to basic services like health care and education.

A sad reality that many Filipino children face is sexual abuse. The Philippines is now a hot spot for online sexual abuse of children. Cases have risen 250% over three years, according to a study from the International Justice Mission. As our Philippines Country Director Manette Cosico describes it,

“Hard places in areas where we work are places of darkness and hopelessness brought about by generational sin, greediness, lawlessness, and corruption.”

The tribal area I visited in the Visayas region has challenges caused by all these issues.

Rain made the roads slippery and dangerous.

For partnerships to happen, OneChild needs to assess the potential partnerships to make sure we share the mission of providing hope, love, truth, life, and mercy to children in poverty.

During my trip to the tribal community, I spent days interviewing tribal leaders, teachers, and Child Champions. They talked to me about the challenges of ministering to children and the vision the leaders have for their community.

We saw enormous potential for children to thrive because of their rich culture and resources like agricultural lands. This visit was a learning experience for me to see firsthand the uniqueness of children’s needs in different places, and that there are Child Champions who are willing to walk alongside these children.

My colleagues’ assessment of the tribal area was followed by a discussion about how Creative Community Foundation, with their ministry partner, Go To Nations, our potential partner, saw important concepts such as poverty, children, church, transformational development, and development mindset.

We gained a deeper knowledge of what has been the role of this potential partner in bringing hope to the children. For 20 years they have served poor and tribal communities in the Philippines by providing day care centers and agricultural training.

This potential partner then decided to partner with OneChild. After all the meetings and prayers for the children in the Pan-ayanon Bukidnon tribe, we rejoiced with Creative Community Foundation as they officially opened their Hope Center in September 2020 and registered 172 children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

I got goosebumps when I saw photos of children being registered for sponsorship because these unstoppable Child Champions are putting their love for children into action. We can’t wait to see hope-building among the children and their families.

Please pray for children who live in hard places, that they are reached by people who care and that they are given hope for a better future.

OneChild hopes that with this new partnership with Creative Community Foundation, the children of Pan-ayanon Bukidnon tribe will have a bright future.

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