5 Insights from a Child Champion on Fighting Poverty in the Philippines in 2022
Tourists love to visit the Philippines to walk on the beautiful sandy beaches and sample the unique and delicious cuisine. But what visitors don’t see is the overwhelming poverty here, which is especially hard on the children.
Did you know that although the Philippines does not rank the highest in poverty, nearly a third of all children in the Philippines live in poverty and are malnourished? It’s heartbreaking that kids here face the biggest hurdles — even things as simple as finding clean water and being able to use a clean bathroom.
But that’s why Child Champions are here, working tirelessly to help our kids thrive. And we’re so inspired to hear about how our Child Champions helped and celebrated children in 2022!
Recently we connected with Manette Cosico, our Country Director in the Philippines, who told us all about how our Child Champions in the
Philippines have helped the kids in so many ways in 2022, including:
- Visiting and ministering to kids and their families at their homes.
- Helping a girl with a serious medical issue get the attention she needed to heal and recover.
- Encouraging kids to dream big about their future and helping them to realize those dreams.
- Reassuring parents that their kids have a safe place to learn and grow at their Hope Centers.
- Providing Child Champions the opportunities to learn how to better serve the kids.
Here’s a recap of Manette’s top five answers:
What were some of the most difficult challenges that your communities in the Philippines experienced in 2022?
The struggles in our hard places that we saw during 2022 remain today. Children are not always taken care of and lack security and protection. They cannot play, go to school, or enjoy a carefree childhood. They are treated as adults because, even in their young age, they need to take care of their siblings so their parents can work — or worse, they need to work to help their parents put food on the table. They sometimes face danger and exploitation, even with their own family and relatives. They don’t have access to nutritious food, basic social welfare services, education, or health care.
How were Child Champions able to address some of these struggles and help the children and their families?
Child Champions were an inspiration to the struggling families as they continued to minister to them through pastoral visitation, prayers, Bible studies, and practical help. To cite an example, a girl from a remote area had a lingering stomach problem. The family reached out to the Hope Center to help them get her medical attention, and she underwent corrective surgery. Her parents didn’t have to pay a thing. Child Champions visited her in the hospital consistently, and she recovered quickly. Her family is ever grateful for God’s provision.
OneChild emphasizes the importance of children being able to dream for their futures. What were some of the most common hopes and dreams for your children?
Child Champions enjoyed interviewing the children and learning about their dreams. Last year, a group of teenagers shared that they wanted to become teachers, doctors, government workers, pilots, and community workers. For Child Champions, we all pray that the kids’ dreams will be realized someday!
“Now, every parent sees a beam of hope for the future of their children; they are no longer journeying on their own because they have a partner that will journey alongside them.”
What effects on the surrounding communities did you observe in areas where there are OneChild Hope Centers?
One of our Hope Center Directors, Ghie Carvajal, said it best: Families were concerned about their communities and how difficult it was for their children to thrive. When the Hope Centers arrived, they understood how important it was for there to be a safe, peaceful, and habitable place for their children to grow. Now, every parent sees a beam of hope for the future of their children; they are no longer journeying on their own because they have a partner that will journey alongside them.
What do you hope to see happen for the program in the Philippines this year?
This year, I would love for our country to come up with contextual capacity-building strategies for the Child Champions so they can continue to grow and learn how to better serve the children. I also want to make sure we can provide them with more opportunities in the Hope Centers, especially those who are committing to the ministry full time.
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