Welcome to the OneChild Family!

Story and photos by Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Communications Specialist

Read about Babylene Bocayes’ experience witnessing Child Champions from different organizations coming together to welcome 50 newly registered children with their families to OneChild during a Hope Center launching on Nov. 13, 2021.

A Child Champion brings out the best in children when he pours out his heart teaching them. Here, children are performing a song with their Child Champion coaching them.

As a mother, I remember all too well how I felt welcoming a new baby. It was an overwhelming feeling of happiness and love seeing my baby for the first time. I can still remember how light and fragile she felt in my arms. It was one of the best feelings in the world. And I am thankful that I have my family and friends to share this feeling in welcoming a new addition to the family.

This is the same feeling and atmosphere that I experienced during the launching day of a Hope Center on Nov. 13, 2021, when we welcomed 50 additional kids living in poverty to the OneChild family through our local partner, Blessed Kids Hope Center, in the Philippines. It was a day of celebration! There was singing, dancing, inspirational speeches, praying for the children, and food.

The launching was attended by OneChild Philippines staff headed by our Country Director Rosalinda “Manette” Cosico, as well as leaders and pastors of the Nazarene Church, friends from Boldr, leaders of the local community, Child Champions, and families and their children. It was a day of recognizing the start of building relationships that will bring positive experiences to the children. These children need love and care from this community of Child Champions, and I felt their genuine love toward these little ones.

The Dumagat Tribe

The newly launched Blessed Kids Hope Center is located in the mountainous side of Bulacan province. This is where we find indigenous people called the Dumagat tribe.

OneChild Philippines Country Director Rosalinda “Manette” Cosico gives her inspirational speech during the program. She shares the famous African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” as an encouragement to everyone, noting that it takes everyone’s effort in a community for a child to thrive.

The Dumagat tribe has been displaced from their original ancestral land in the Sierra Madre, the longest mountain range in the Philippines, because of industrialization. They have been scattered in different provinces in the Luzon region, one of which is in Sitio Karahumi in Bulacan where the 50 newly registered children live.

Living in a rural community, the Dumagat people are blessed to have access to natural resources such as fresh air, food from plants and trees, water from the river, springs for drinking water, and a magnificent view of the mountains. Agriculture is the main source of living for the families here. They make income from selling vegetables like eggplant, cassava, squash, and other leafy vegetables. Some make a living from making and selling bamboo skewers, and some raise poultry or pigs.

Just like their parents did, Dumagat children work on the farm at a very young age, which is why most do not get a proper education. Because of this situation and people taking advantage of them, these kids are grappling with poverty. Thankfully, the Hope Center that opened in their community will reach out and bring hope to these children.

Hope Springs From the Mountainside

Children perform a song-and-dance number.

The Blessed Church of the Nazarene, a partner of OneChild, has been active in reaching out to poor communities for years. Their Blessed Kids Hope Center has 145 children in their care, 50 of whom are the newly registered children from Sitio Karahumi.

“This dream of having an (extension) Hope Center in this community was a result of our church’s gift-giving activity last year (December 2020),” says Pastor Elsid Paragas. “We know that these children have a potential to thrive because they have people willing to help them, like one college graduate among their tribe and he is dedicated to educating his people.”

The Blessed Church of the Nazarene is working with their partner community church, Mountainside Church of the Nazarene, in reaching out to the Dumagat tribe, especially the children in Sitio Karahumi.

Pastor Elsid says that the Dumagat tribe has experienced a lot of discrimination and has always been left hanging by different religious groups that promised to help them.

“We are so happy and thankful for OneChild for allowing us to register 50 children here. And then came Boldr, too,” Pastor Elsid says.

Another Addition to the Family

Not only we are welcoming the 50 new children, but we also welcome Boldr to the family of OneChild as they will be supporting these children for a year.

Boldr, a purpose-driven outsourcing company, recently signed a partnership agreement with OneChild Philippines. This was the result of their participation in OneChild’s Walk With Us campaign last June where they invited their employees to an Outdoor Bike Challenge. For every kilometer biked by  each participant, Boldr donated $1 to OneChild. Overwhelmingly, they were able to raise a total of $5,109 for OneChild!

With these funds raised, the 50 new children will receive holistic support from the Child Champions of Blessed Kids Hope Center. For their health, they will receive supplementary food packs, sanitary kits, medical and dental checkups at least twice a year, and a supply of vitamins. For socio-emotional, cognitive, and spiritual support, the children will receive school supplies, tutorials, Bible stories, and values transformation sessions. They will also enjoy special activities like Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Linggo ng Wika (National Language Month), Children’s Month, and Christmas celebrations. Boldr will also have the chance to develop child and donor relationships through letter writing.

Marijo Endriga, Boldr’s Senior Community Impact Lead in the Philippines, gave her speech encouraging the children and their families during the launch of the Hope Center.

“The children are our hope for the future,” says Marijo. “We can give it to them if we know how to dream. So, dream big because it is free.” As a partner, Marijo hopes to see the children developing confidence in themselves because there are people helping them.

“They can reach for their dreams little by little because they are not alone. Whatever dreams they have, they have people supporting them like their parents and some institutions,” she says.

Coming Together

Mother Perlita Doroteo is thankful because her child, Julius, is one of the newly registered children.

Just like their parents did, Dumagat children work on the farm at a very young age, which is why most do not get a proper education.

“I want my son to become a doctor,” Perlita says. “As Dumagat (people), we cannot give it to our children. That is why I am thankful that you came here to help us. With your help and God’s help, I am sure they will reach for their dreams.”

This is OneChild’s vision for the children in poverty, to meet their needs physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually and for them to reach their God-given potential through the work of the global community of Child Champions coming together.

“As the African proverb says, it takes a village to raise a child,” says Manette Cosico. “We need you, our Child Champions, parents, guardians, sponsors like Boldr, and local leaders to bring hope and a future to these children.

Like a newborn baby who needs love and care from his or her parents, these newly registered children in the Hope Center need Child Champions who will commit to providing for their needs and celebrate with them in their milestones. Help us provide all of this to children in hard places. Join us and sponsor a child today!

Children play basketball in the village.

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