Tag Archives: On the Road

Expanding Opportunities in the Philippines

The city of Tagaytay, where the Pinagpala Children’s Center is located, is on the island of Luzon, where many Filipino families suffer from extreme poverty. To help support the community, in 2000, members of a local church there established the Pinagpala – meaning “Blessed” – Children’s Center to provide educational assistance to local needy children and their families.

The Pinagpala Children’s Center recognizes that providing for the educational needs of impoverished children is an important step in giving them the tools they require to break the cycle of poverty.

The Pinagpala Children’s Center recognizes that providing for the educational needs of impoverished children is an important step in giving them the tools they require to break the cycle of poverty; and thanks to support from Children Incorporated, the center not only supports children with basic needs, but it also helps families through various skills training programs and educational activities.

Our Hope In Action Fund in action

Initially just a one-story structure, the Pinagpala Children’s Center received support from Children Incorporated’s Hope In Action Fund to construct a second story. As a result, the center’s programs were expanded to further support children, families, and the community beyond our sponsorship program. On a recent visit to the Philippines, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited the center to see the completed second floor of the building. He also spoke with our volunteer coordinator there about how the new floor is being utilized.

Currently, the new addition is being used for feeding children in mornings and afternoons; for after-school tutoring in the evenings; and during the day, for hosting a small daycare center for parents who work during the day. The center’s partnership with Children Incorporated has been instrumental in not only educating our sponsored and unsponsored children, but also in helping to progress the overall development of the community in which they live as a whole.

One program teaches parents how to recycle old materials to make rags and garments to sell.

Plenty of achievements

What Luis found on his visit greatly exceeded his expectations. As he continued to talk with our volunteer coordinator, he was informed that the administrators at the Pinagpala Children’s Center have also started income-generating programs for the parents of children enrolled in our program. One such program teaches parents how to recycle old materials to make rags and garments to sell. There is also a small organic vegetable garden at the center where parents can learn gardening skills to grow produce to sell to other families in the community, as well as an income-generating project where pigs are raised for later sale.

The center also recognizes the need for supporting the locality with a community-based rehabilitation and drug addiction program to help young addicts break their drug habits. The local police chief there has even become involved with it, teaching workshops and hosting seminars to emphasize to the community the importance of not getting involved in drugs.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE PHILIPPINES?

You can sponsor a child in the Philippines in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.

Books of Their Very Own

Mitchell County, nestled in the rugged western mountains of North Carolina, serves as a tourist destination for thousands who flock to the region each year to glimpse its spectacular vistas. The area’s breathtaking beauty and rich culture, however, belie a tragic truth: in this smallest and least populous county of all of North Carolina reside some of the nation’s poorest families.

We are incredibly proud that our sponsorship program not only provides weather-appropriate school clothing and supplies to kids on a regular basis, but it also promotes literacy and fosters a love of reading.

A community in need

Years ago, this region boasted a number of productive feldspar and mica mining operations. Today, those minerals no longer bring in the profits they once did; mines have closed, and many workers who earned their livelihood by mining are now jobless. With little in the county to attract industry – and inadequate highways to encourage development in the mountains – Mitchell County has few economic prospects.

Many families in this rural area live well below the federal poverty line, and the overwhelming poverty there has debilitating effects on the children of the region, negatively affecting their self-esteem, health, and overall well-being. For these reasons, Gouge Elementary School and its resource center, as well as our sponsorship program, are a great help to the surrounding community, providing students with a sound education, quality teachers, and the basic needs they would otherwise go without.

 Helping children to read

Recently, thanks to their sponsors, children enrolled in our program at Gouge Elementary School were able to participate in the Spring Book Fair, during which they chose books to take home and keep. One of our organization’s core values is education, and many of our kids had never had books of their own until they were matched with sponsors. We are incredibly proud that our sponsorship program not only provides weather-appropriate school clothing and supplies to kids on a regular basis, but it also promotes literacy and fosters a love of reading.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NORTH CAROLINA?

You can sponsor a child in North Carolina in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

A Quality Education for Children in Bolivia

The small landlocked nation of Bolivia comprises the rugged Andes Mountains and vast high-altitude plateaus to the west, including a portion of Lake Titicaca – the largest high-altitude lake in the world. To the east are the lush lowland plains of the Amazon Jungle. Despite its wealth of natural beauty and resources, Bolivia bears the scars of centuries of conflict, beginning with the Spanish conquistadors, and followed by almost 200 years of wars and internal military coups. Political and economic instability have brought about considerable poverty there, resulting in widespread malnutrition, crime, and disease.

Yotala, an agricultural suburb of Sucre, is no exception to these hardships. The area is prone to drought, which not only diminishes crop yield, but it also forces families to purchase water for drinking and bathing. Many people in this community are very poor; they rarely manage to grow enough food to feed their families, much less to sell at the market. The Santa Rosa School was founded to assist the children of Yotala’s subsistence farming families. The school teaches core academic subjects, and it has received recognition in Bolivia with high honors for its biology and geography classes.

Children need to attend school to succeed; but more critically, they must attend schools where they are being taught by trained professionals – which is just the case at the Santa Rosa School.

A great institution

Children need to attend school to succeed; but more critically, they must attend schools where they are being taught by trained professionals – which is just the case at the Santa Rosa School. There are sixteen professors at the school – a large number compared to many schools – which means that the children there are attending a great institution where they learn daily and are prepared for moving on to receive a higher education.

Not only is the Santa Rosa School acclaimed for its academics, but it also offers skills training in such areas as weaving, agronomy, dressmaking, carpentry, computer literacy, and hairdressing. The school encourages parental involvement. Since many parents of students there are illiterate or only speak Quechua, the school offers them educational courses, along with general courses on parenting skills and nutrition – all of which afford them the opportunity to obtain better jobs and earn a greater income, which is helpful for their entire families.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN BOLIVIA?

 

You can sponsor a child in Bolivia one of three ways – call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; e-mail us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Bolivia that is available for sponsorship.

Protecting Children in Kenya from Disease

In Kenya, children need mosquito nets to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses so that they’ll be healthy enough to attend school. Each year, we purchase thousands of nets, thanks to donations to our Mosquito Net Fund, which we distribute to our sponsored children and their families.

A mosquito net offers protection against mosquitos and the diseases they may carry. Examples of mosquito-borne illnesses include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika virus, and various forms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), including the West Nile virus (WNV). For the net to be effective, the mesh must be fine enough to exclude these insects without reducing visibility or airflow. It is also possible to further increase the effectiveness of a mosquito net greatly by treating it with an appropriate insecticide or mosquito repellant. Research has shown mosquito nets to be an extremely effective method of malaria prevention, having averted approximately 451 million cases of malaria between the years 2000 and 2015.

In Kenya, children need mosquito nets to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses so that they’ll be healthy enough to attend school. Each year, we purchase thousands of nets, thanks to donations to our Mosquito Net Fund, which we distribute to our sponsored children and their families.

About mosquito-borne illnesses

– Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year

-In 2015, malaria caused 438,000 deaths

– Worldwide incidents of dengue have risen 30-fold in the past 30 years – and more and more countries are reporting their first outbreaks of the disease

– The Zika virus, dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever are all transmitted to humans by mosquitos

– More than half of the world’s population lives in areas where disease-carrying mosquitos are present

– The most effective means of preventing malaria is by sleeping under a mosquito net

About Kenya

Located in the African Great Lakes region of eastern Africa, Kenya is perhaps best known for its fertile highlands and grassy savannahs, teeming with an abundance of wildlife – and, of course, for its namesake peak, the glacier-laden Mount Kenya. Its economy relies heavily on agriculture and tourism. Kenya is also a cradle of civilization, rich in cultural heritage and diversity. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty, resources, and culture, however, belie the poverty in which most of its residents live. Tragically, destitution and weak government institutions allow for frequent human rights violations. Moreover, Kenya is plagued by a severe shortage of healthcare workers, which contributes to lower life expectancies, high infant mortality rates, and widespread preventable diseases.

Introducing St. John’s Community Center

A mosquito net offers protection against mosquitos and the diseases they may carry.

These maladies are, perhaps, most pronounced in Nairobi’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhood, Pumwani. Plagued by extreme poverty, disease, and crime, this area is home to thousands of needy children in desperate need of assistance. Many of these children live in slum conditions and suffer from malnutrition, abuse, and neglect. For these reasons, St. John’s Community Center serves as a safe place for our sponsored and unsponsored children to receive an education.

The center was established in the late 1950s following a violent period known as the Mau Mau Uprising. Its mission is to provide long-term social services to the needy – regardless of age, tribal affiliation, or faith. By providing for children’s immediate needs as well as investing in their future through education, St. John’s Community Center offers children the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Through sponsorship, we are able to support these children with basic needs, and with the additional support from our Mosquito Net Fund, we are able to provide them with mosquito nets to keep them healthy so that they can attend school.

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HOW DO I CONTRIBUTE TO THE MOSQUITO NET FUND?

 You can contribute to our Mosquito Net Fund in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and donate to our Mosquito Net Fund.

References:

 https://www.unicef.org/supply/index_39977.html 

https://www.againstmalaria.com/WhyNets.aspx

 http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/vector_ecology/mosquito-borne-diseases/en/ 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/outdoor/mosquito-borne/default.html

 https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/malaria/index.html

Fresh Produce for New Orleans Students

In New Orleans’ historic Tremé neighborhood, the Phyllis Wheatley Community School building was decimated during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, the spirit of the school and surrounding community has proven resilient. The new and improved Phyllis Wheatley Community School opened its doors to students in 2013 with a two-fold mission: first, to provide individualized support for each student’s academic and social and emotional learning; second, it strives to serve the surrounding low-income community, fostering the involvement of students’ families in school activities, as well as reaching out to their neighbors.

The Phyllis Wheatley Community School maintains an Edible Schoolyard garden, which students can help to tend, and which provides fresh produce for the school cafeteria.

One way in which the Phyllis Wheatley Community School does this is by maintaining an Edible Schoolyard garden, which students can help to tend, and which provides fresh produce for the school cafeteria. Moreover, the school makes the fruits and vegetables available for students, their families, and community members monthly to take home.

Our newest project in New Orleans

The Phyllis Wheatley Community School is our newest affiliated project in New Orleans. Children Incorporated began our affiliation with the school at the end of the 2017 school year. As a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school, the number of children in attendance is rapidly growing, and is almost up to 900.

While visiting the school last year, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, met with our Volunteer Coordinator Max, who described the school as a “high-need school,” meaning many children in attendance are lacking basic needs such as adequate food and clothing. Max said that Children Incorporated is very helpful in that many students at his school come from low-income families in its surrounding neighborhoods. He told Renée that our sponsorship program provides uniforms, books, shoes, and other essential items to kids.

Our Volunteer Coordinator Max with a sponsored child at the Wheatley School

At the beginning of the school year, each student received a backpack full of supplies as well. Max also participates in the Lollipop Book Club, a children’s book of the month club. In addition, he is planning to use sponsorship funds to help provide Thanksgiving meals to our sponsored children’s families in the fall.

More children in need

After visiting with Max, Renée met with Amanda, the new President of Communities In Schools (CIS) of New Orleans, our affiliate and school dropout prevention organization. As they discussed the Children Incorporated sponsorship program, Amanda and Renée both agreed that there are plenty of children in New Orleans who could benefit greatly from having sponsors, and that they would really appreciate the personal involvement that comes with sponsorship.

Renée also discussed the possibility of providing Hope In Action funding for schools in New Orleans. Past assistance to our affiliated projects there went to amazing programs such as the before and after school program Champ Camp. Renée expressed that future assistance could go towards addressing food insecurity by assisting with the implementation of more school gardens. Amanda agreed that was a good idea, because, as she explained to Renée, many of the schools in the city have made health and wellness as much of a priority as academics, because children respond so well to programs such as school gardens.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW ORLEANS?

You can sponsor a child in New Orleans in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

A Unique School in New Orleans

Revolutionizing the traditional public education paradigm, the Morris Jeff Community School emphasizes language and the arts – not just test scores – fostering its students’ development into well-rounded, productive members of society. Not only that, but according to Donneisha, our volunteer coordinator at the school, Morris Jeff is also special in that the parents of students who attend have a say in how inclusive and diverse the school is.

The Morris Jeff Community School is a charter school. While students from all around the city are in attendance, the majority of them live in the surrounding neighborhoods. Opened in 2009, the school serves preschool through eighth-grade students. As Donneisha told our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, on her recent trip to visit the school, Morris Jeff has a high number of very actively-involved parents, as well a great deal of community support – which make it unique. It is also one of the most racially-diverse charter schools in the city. The students of Morris Jeff come from a variety of socio-economic classes. Enrollment numbers are high for both special needs and high-performing academic achievers, and the ethnic breakdown of the student body is quite diverse.

Every child deserves support

Morris Jeff has a high number of very actively-involved parents, as well a great deal of community support – which make it unique.

The parents of students at the Morris Jeff Community School believe that the school should meet as many of the kids’ needs as possible. The faculty spends a great deal of time with at-risk students as well as with those with learning disabilities. They also provide a challenging education for the higher-performing students. Donneisha added that social and emotional development are crucial, so there is much programming in place for that as well. The Justice Center at the school focuses on fostering healthy relationships. There is a reading program there, too, and a Children’s Advocacy Center that teaches sex education. The school celebrates a Kindness Week, with bullying prevention as the focal point.

Donneisha loves that Children Incorporated helps to directly provide for our sponsored and unsponsored children’s basic needs. She is grateful to have the autonomy to choose what each child needs – whereas other organizations may have limits as to what may be provided to the kids in their programs. Donneisha told Renée that the greatest need that she encounters is for basic items like clothes and food. The required school uniforms are expensive, too, and parents struggle to afford them.

Kids adore having sponsors

It’s not just Donneisha who loves the school and our sponsorship program; the students love their school, too. While there, Renée met with one of our sponsored children, Lori*, who is in the sixth grade. She told Renée, “This school supports you. Even if someone isn’t your teacher, they want to help you. They really care about you. We have students from all over the world. One student is from Uganda, and he didn’t speak any English when he started – and everyone helped him learn.”

Renée knew that Lori’s sponsor had visited her a few years ago, and she wanted to know what Lori thought about having a sponsor. Lori replied, “It helps me, and they tell me nice things. They had lunch with me one time, and they brought me a pink bag of stuff, like coloring books and gummies. I loved it.”

*Name changed for child’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW ORLEANS?

You can sponsor a child in New Orleans in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.