Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In My Own Words: Prudence Lewis

Ginabel's friends welcomed me.
The wonderful natural resources of the Philippines are the children.

What a blessing it was to be able to visit the children I sponsor through Children International in the Philippines.

I have sponsored two children in Metro Manila for at least 15 years. I visited Children International there the first time 8 years ago and I can see many changes.

The most exciting changes are in the child and his family. When I visited 8 years ago, Michael was a small boy
and appeared fearful of me and unsure. Today he is a confident young man of 18. He has a construction job to help earn money for a college education. He hopes to be a math teacher. His mother has an air of confidence also. The father stayed home from work to see me. He was unemployed 8 years ago. Their home is somewhat expanded. Michael’s younger sister (also a sponsored child) is outgoing and joyous and instantly eager to take my hand and take charge of Cheska Joy, my other sponsored child. Cheska is 9 and has similar characteristics that Michael had 8 years ago.

Michael spoke English with me, asked questions, and quietly mentioned to me more than once that he would play basketball at the local basketball court on Sunday at 2 p.m. We all went to watch him play, and he is an excellent, fearless and fast player. What a testimony to the work of Children International.

The contribution of Children International to the individual lives of the children and their families is significant, but that is not where it stops. One of the changes since my last visit is the Children International community center. These are beautiful, clean buildings that stand out against their surroundings. The children and their families now come to these centers for most of their interactions with Children International. They are expected to help keep these buildings clean and free of trash. Thus, each beneficiary who enters feels that they are special. In the case of Michael’s family, this has carried over into all aspects of their lives.

The children I sponsor in the name of my cousin’s two children are newly sponsored. They are in the Tabaco area. They and their families tell of the hope for a brighter future. Leo is an only child who is 5. His father and mother are devoting themselves to Leo’s future. As a farmer, the father struggles to make enough to provide for Leo. But the assistance from Children International makes them optimistic for their son’s future.

In the case of Ginabel, the home where she lived with her younger siblings, her pregnant mother and her father was blown away by the typhoon that hit their island of San Miguel. The family’s new dwelling is makeshift. Her father is a fisherman, but the money paid for the fish they catch is very little. Hopefully, involvement with Children International will make it possible for Ginabel to finish school and make a better life for herself.

I visited the new Children International community center that will provide benefits for thousands of additional sponsored children in this remote but beautiful area. They assist over 1,000 children now and will soon have 5,000 sponsored children, to bring the total number of sponsored children in the Tabaco area to 23,000.

Just a few of the programs include teaching nutrition, values, and leadership skills for older sponsored children. All of these programs are invaluable. In the long run, Children International hopes to help raise the standard of living so that Filipinos can stay and make the Philippines a more prosperous country, where all people have the prospect of earning a reasonable standard of living.

There are so many more children in need of support. Hopefully, children like these can be part of Children International efforts in the future.

1 comment:

evergreen3 said...

Very heartwarming story. Although one person cannot do everything, we can do some things that make a big difference in the lives of children. I'm constantly impressed with the high quality of CI services and staff.