In the Philippines, it’s common for parents to have family members, neighbors or household help care for their children while they work in the city. In many closely-knit towns and neighborhoods, someone’s child is everybody’s baby.
Yes, raising a child is a community affair.
In the Philippines, Food for the Hungry (FH) builds on this cultural heritage to fulfill its mission of developing every child’s God-given potential and helping families overcome all forms of poverty.
FH equips families, churches and community leaders with the tools, skills and resources they need to create a safe and nurturing environment for children. Key to the success of this approach is the intentional integration of health, education, disaster response and livelihoods programs.
These interventions help nurture children and give them good starts for developing into healthy, responsible and productive adults. This is how the cycle of poverty can be broken in many families.
Education remains a big challenge in the Philippines. One out of six school-age Filipino children is not enrolled in primary school. Many of the children drop out of school, because their families lack money to pay tuition and buy school supplies.
To address this problem, FH provides school supplies, such as bags and notebooks, to sponsored children. FH also runs an after-school program in partnership with a university. One of the immediate results of this activity is the improved academic performance of the children receiving tutoring.
In addition, a values-formation program coordinated through the local churches helps encourage the development of character and skills in children.
A soup kitchen provides nutritious supplemental food. Children who are beneficiaries of this program have demonstrated better academic performance and decreased absenteeism in school.
FH/Philippines Executive Director Debbie Toribio says work in Filipino communities is creating these changes to happen:
- Churches, leaders and families are equipped to care for vulnerable children. They continue programs to help children even after FH phases out.
- Children are growing physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and socially. Some former sponsored children are now leaders in their own communities.
- Many poor families are taking action to overcome the cycle of poverty and disease.
- People’s relationships with God and their neighbors are being restored.
Thank you for your faithful support of God’s work through FH. Your prayers and financial gifts help ensure that the most vulnerable children are not left alone, but are given educational opportunities, nourishment and love.
Rez Gopez-Sindac is an Austin-based writer and editor covering faith, church management and global development.