Tag Archives: poverty

No Distance Too Great

Children Incorporated has affiliated projects, sponsored children and sponsors from all over the world. Most of our sponsors don’t live in the same cities, or even the same states, as the children they support.

For many of our sponsored kids, their sponsors live in entirely different countries.

“I feel that the children are receiving incredible support here thanks to the administration and our sponsors. Last year alone, seven of the eight high school graduates at the school went on to higher education!”

 

– Luis Bourdet

But sponsored kids in South Korea, especially those living at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes, feel the same amount of comfort and love as if their sponsors were right by their sides.

Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home

Located in the shadow of high-rise apartments in the city of Gwangju, South Korea, the Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home provides children from impoverished backgrounds with a safe place to live, grow and receive a good education — all while instilling the core values of honesty, integrity and compassion for others.

Gwangju is the largest city in the southwestern part of South Korea, with a population of about 1.5 million people. It is the 6thlargest city in the country.

The city itself is known for the students’ pro-democracy uprising that occurred in the early 1980s, which is credited for the country’s initial move from military rule to democratic governance, and its economic explosion and development.

Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home is a well-known home for children from impoverished backgrounds due to its ability to care for a large number of orphanages and underprivileged youth. The home has over fifty children residing there currently. Children Incorporated sponsors support thirty of them.

Lots of help for the young

While visiting the home, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, was pleasantly surprised to see a large staff at Kwangju.

The children at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes know that their sponsors want the best for them.

“The home has an impressive number of personnel. About thirty people work full-time, most of whom are social workers providing consistent aid and guidance to the children,” said Luis.

During the day, the children attend local schools. In the afternoons, they receive music instructions and participate in art classes.

Support from the local government offers funds for basic needs such as housing costs and food. Sponsorship support provides for additional expenses like school supplies, but it also gives the children a great sense of emotional and psychological support.

“I feel that the children are receiving incredible support here thanks to the administration and our sponsors. Last year alone, seven of the eight high school graduates at the school went on to higher education!” exclaimed Luis.

Hyungje Children’s Home

Hyungje Children’s Home resides within the city limits of Gwangju. With 33 children at the home in our sponsorship program, Hyungje has the largest enrollment of any of our projects in South Korea.

The home consists of two large three-story buildings. With over 70 students in attendance — and more being added each year — the home is running out of usable living space for the kids.

Thankfully, when Luis visited the home, he witnessed new construction already underway so the children will have more room to spread out soon.

Sponsored kids in South Korea, especially those living at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes, feel the same amount of comfort and love as if their sponsors were right by their sides.

Sponsors at the Hyungje Children’s Home provide almost all basic needs for the children outside of housing cost. Funds from sponsorship support buy the children schools supplies, clothes, shoes and food regularly.

The administration at the home also makes sure that the children understand what it means to have a sponsor beyond just the items they receive.

“The children know that their sponsors want the best for them, and in return, it is a special feeling for the children to know that someone from afar cares for their well-being,” said Luis.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

You can sponsor a child in South Korea 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 in South Korea that is available for sponsorship.

Time to Depart

After spending nearly a month visiting all seventeen of our affiliated projects in South Korea, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home and the Yong Jin Children’s Home as his last stops before returning to the United States.

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea.

The Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home

 Located in Okcheon, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home serves 34 underprivileged and orphaned children. The home itself is made up of three spacious buildings. Our sponsorship program provides support for 13 children at the home. The local government pays for the salaries of the 18 staff members.

Differing from many of the other homes we partner with in South Korea, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home focuses on helping children who have physical or mental health conditions. The dedicated staff of the home is professionally educated and trained to provide the children with the special care they need.

“The children at the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home require much more attention than children at the other homes we support,” explained Luis.

“I was pleased to see the staff is well-equipped to provide special care for the children.”

The Yong Jin Children’s Home

Located in the city of Gwangju, the Yong Jin Children’s Home serves children ages five to nineteen years old.

Luis was pleased with all of our projects in South Korea in how well they were supporting children in our program.

Situated on the slope of a mountain overlooking rice paddies below, the cluster of brick and stucco buildings that make up the home houses dormitories, an auditorium, a dining room, kitchen and offices. The grounds include a vegetable garden and apple orchard.

According to Luis, the home also has a small museum in which bones and artifacts are on display for the children to see at any time.

“The Director of the Yong Jin Children’s Home is the son of the founder of the home, Mr. Min. Mr. Min had a love for archeology, so he started collecting dinosaur bones and other fossils from various countries around the world,” said Luis.

“Soon after his son graduated as a Social Welfare Worker, Mr. Min sent him to archeology school, and between them they have a great collection of bones and fossils. Local school children often visit the home for educational tours.”

“This is a very well run home. The children get to enjoy a lot of field trips outdoors, camping and searching for fossils and bones,” explained Luis.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

Getting to meet our sponsored kids

During his final two visits, Luis was pleased to get to meet with the children at both homes after their school days were over.

“It was great to interact with them. The children were truly approachable and not shy at all. They even tried to practice their English with me since I do not speak Korean!” exclaimed Luis. “It was fun to communicate with them.”

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea. Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

You can sponsor a child in South Korea 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 in South Korea that is available for sponsorship.

55 Years of Helping Children in Need

In 1964, the average cost of a new home in the United States was $13,050. Postage stamps were 5 cents each, and a gallon of gasoline cost just 25 cents more than that. One could buy a loaf of bread for less than a quarter, and a ticket to see one of the latest theatrical blockbusters — Goldfinger or Mary Poppins — was $1.25.

Reports from those early days indicate that funds raised for and provided by Children Incorporated — the organization started by Mrs. Wood — were life-changing.

The Ford Motor Company introduced its iconic Mustang with a suggested retail price of just $2,368, and a young boxer then known as Cassius Clay won the Boxing World Heavyweight Championship against Sonny Liston. Additionally, four young men from Liverpool, England —collectively known as The Beatles — took the world by storm, at one point holding down the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 record chart.


A legend of her own

In the midst of all of this, a young woman named Jean Clarke Wood started a small nonprofit organization out of her home in Richmond, Virginia to improve the lives of children who often went hungry and without their most basic needs met.

Mrs. Wood contacted friends she had met through previous employment, and with the help of her philanthropist father, she began a child sponsorship program consisting of just 95 youngsters in poverty-stricken Guatemala.

Mrs. Wood visited our projects around the world for decades as the founder of Children Incorporated.

Reports from those early days indicate that funds raised for and provided by Children Incorporated — the organization started by Mrs. Wood — were life-changing.

Hungry children were fed. Children who had been wearing threadbare pants and shirts and shoes with holes in the soles were outfitted with sturdy clothing. Young people, who had gone without paper, pencils and necessary schoolbooks were provided with them.

Standing the test of time

Fifty-five years later, the work of Children Incorporated is still changing lives. Through our child sponsorship program, many individualized needs are met daily as our network of nearly 300 volunteer coordinators worldwide seek out and identify those things that the children they serve need most to succeed in school and life.

Our Hope in Action Fund assists children, families and communities with everything from replacing items lost in house fires and natural disasters to building schools, dormitories, gymnasiums and housing units. Our Higher Education Fund allows qualified students to attend colleges, universities and to take vocational classes.

Fifty-five years later, the work of Children Incorporated is still changing lives.

Our skills training programs give young people the opportunity to learn a trade they can use to support themselves and their families while giving back to their communities.

Changing lives all over the world

In these ways and many others, Children Incorporated has reached, touched and changed the lives of approximately 300,000 children and their families over the last fifty-five years. Our dedication to improving lives and providing education, hope and opportunity is as strong —if not stronger — than ever.

We always strive for transparency and integrity in how we use the funds entrusted to us. We honor the fact that we have such high ratings among the main charitable monitoring groups — 4 Out of 4 Stars from Charity Navigator and a Grade “A” rating from Charity Watch, among others — because we respect our donors immensely. They are our partners in all that we do, and
we owe them nothing less than our best.


The need still exists today

New homes now cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Postage stamps and gallons of gasoline are each currently ten times more expensive than they were in 1964, and tickets to popular movies now run between $12 and $16 nationwide. A loaf of bread now goes for around $4.00, and Cassius Clay — later known as Mohammed Ali — passed away three years ago.

Ford is still making the Mustang, though the list price is now approximately $35,000 for a new one, an increase of a whopping 1475 percent! Two of the Beatles now survive, each approaching 80 years of age, and the Queen of England has knighted both.

Many things have changed since 1964, yet the needs that exist in the world — for food, clothing, school supplies and other essentials — remain as real and constant as ever. Children Incorporated is still working to meet as many of those needs as possible.

Our wonderful sponsors and contributors make our work possible today, just as they did when Children Incorporated began in 1964, and for that, we are extremely grateful.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated 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.

Food Lion Employees Give Back

Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Ron Carter, recently accepted a generous contribution in the amount of $1,000 from the employees of ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center in Disputanta, Virginia.

The funds will go toward supporting the Children Incorporated International Feeding Programs, wherein children and their families receive healthy and nutritious meals and food assistance.

Introducing ADUSA

Food Lion Associates supporting Children Incorporated through t-shirt and food sales

ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center is the only distribution center for Food Lion Grocery Stores in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The facility, which employs approximately 600 associates, serves nearly 200 stores across Virginia as well as a few select locations in North Carolina.

In June of 2018, a group of the associates from the distribution center formed the charitable unit of ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center with the goal of giving back to organizations they see as having positive impacts on children and families.

Helping kids in need

To raise money for this purpose, the staff of ADUSA sells lunches to its associates every Thursday and occasionally sells T-shirts and other items. All profits are set aside for charitable purposes. In the first year of the program, ADUSA supported an organization that helps children who are struggling with cancer. Children Incorporated is the second aid organization to receive a $1,000 gift from ADUSA.

According to Ms. Rojas, after finding out about Children Incorporated, she felt it was a natural choice for her and her associates to make.

Ms. Orquidea Rojas, the Engagement and Communications Coordinator with ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center, explained that when it was time to select a recipient organization for the 2019 gift, she did a great deal of research to find a charity with a proven record of making a difference and changing the lives of children for the better.

According to Ms. Rojas, after finding out about Children Incorporated, she felt it was a natural choice for her and her associates to make.

About our International Feeding Program

The purpose of our International Feeding Programs Fund is to feed children who would otherwise go hungry so that they can be alert at school and ready to learn. The fund supports programs in the Philippines, Kenya and Ethiopia to buy grains, meats, vegetables and cooking supplies. Every year, Children Incorporated provides meals for thousands of kids.

We are very grateful for the generous donation from all of the associates at the ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center. Thank you for your support of children in need!

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How do I donate to Children Incorporated’s International Feeding Program?

You can donate to our International Feeding Program 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 and donate to our International Feeding Program via on secure online donation process.

Hearing From Our Sponsored Children Abroad

Our sponsors and donors often hear from our staff and coordinators about the work we are doing around the world through our On the Road Series. But not as frequently do you hear from our sponsored children directly — especially those that live outside of the United States.

We want to share special stories with our supporters from the children in our program around the world — and how their sponsors are making a huge difference in their lives.

We want to share special stories with our supporters from the children in our sponsorship program around the world — and how their sponsors are making a huge difference in their lives.

Michael’s* Story: The Tecpan School in Guatemala

“My name is Michael, and I am in the second grade in school. I love math and literature as I have good teachers. I live in Tecpan, Guatemala, a town located in the highlands of Guatemala, where mostly Mayan people live. In my house I live with my mother and siblings and other family relatives, totaling 13 people, as we support each other as a family.”

We love hearing from our sponsored children about how their sponsors impact their lives.

“The house is a small shack located on a farm. My grandfather is the watchman and was given this place to live. The house is made of wood and mud bricks. It has dirt floors and a roof made from metal sheets.”

“My father died some years back, and we only have my mother to care for us. I feel lucky that my siblings and I have our grandfather to let us stay with them at the watchman house.”

My siblings and I never attended school until we met the sisters at Tecpan School. They help our mother to register us at school and share the importance of education for all of us. My mother works as a day laundress and makes the equivalent of about 3-3.50 dollars a day when she works.”

“My brother also helps by selling newspapers on the streets of Tecpan. I really want to learn and go to school, so I was excited to hear about the Children Incorporated program. I know that with the help of a sponsor, I will be able to attend school and change my life.”

Monica: Pinagpala Children’s Center in the Philippines

“I know that with the help of a sponsor, I will be able to attend school and change my life.”

– Micheal from Guatemala

 “I live in a small rural and agricultural town in the Philippines with my parents, four brothers and a baby sister. We have a small, two-room house made with cinder blocks and metal sheet roofing. It is all we can afford.  All 7 family members share this home. My mother does not work, and my father is the main supporter of our home. He is a tricycle driver and earns about 100 to 150 pesos per day (about $3 US dollars).”

“We all help on the upkeep of our house, so I help with the cleaning and with the care of my little sister. I am in the fifth grade and love math. Children Incorporated support is a great help for my family because my parents cannot afford to send me to school, but because of my sponsor I get my school supplies, shoes, clothing and other school needs and fees.”

“We also get so much needed extra food a few times a year when I don’t need anything for school. I am so glad I have the support of the Children Incorporated program. It is my motivation to continue with my education.”

Lana: Pinagpala Children’s Center in the Philippines

Sponsorship support is a great help to families because parents often cannot afford to send their children to school.

“I am Lana. I am in the eighth grade in school, and I like to learn English. I live in a small rural agricultural town in the Philippines. My family includes my parents, three brothers and four sisters. We all live in a small house made with cinder block walls, cement floors and metal sheet roofing. My father is a small day farmer, and my mother takes care of all my siblings and me.”

“We all help around the house, so I have to help my mother with cleaning and sweeping while I am not at school.  We also help with the care of the younger siblings. The Children Incorporated program is helping with supporting my education, while the feeding program that I participate in at the center is easing my parents’ burden for my food. I get my uniforms, school supplies and any school fee covered with my sponsor’s help. I am so glad I was selected to participate with the Children Incorporated program.”

James: Msamaria Mwema in Kenya

“My name is James, and I am in the seventh grade in school. I like to go to school. I am an orphan — I lost my mother some time ago, and I never met my father. I don’t have any siblings that I know of, and I live at the boarding home at Msamaria Mwema in Kenya.”

“I love to play soccer with my friends, and I also love rice and beans stew. I help with anything I can at home so that I can safely stay here until I finish my education. I am glad I participate with the Children Incorporated program so that I have the chance to continue my education to the end.”

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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How do I sponsor a child internationally?

You can sponsor a child internationally 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 an international child that is available for sponsorship.

The Toll of Political Turmoil on Children

Lebanon’s political climate has long been riddled with conflict, which is often further stirred by external factors. Thankfully, however, our affiliated projects the Armenian Evangelical Schools (AES), a group of affordable private schools, offer a well-rounded education to children living in poverty and suffering from political turmoil.

Compared to public schools in Lebanon, however, the AES offer a much higher quality education. Children are provided with more educational tools and resources than the alternative public schools.

Children Incorporated’s partnership with the AES spans decades. Over the years, we have been able to support thousands of children through our sponsorship program.

About Lebanon

Lebanon is located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Israel to the south and Syria to the east and north. This country of six million people acknowledges eighteen religious groups, the largest being the Shiites and Sunnites; there is also a large Christian population in the country.

Up to the end of World War I, Lebanon was part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1920, the League of Nations issued France a mandate over Syria and Lebanon. 23 years later, Lebanon gained its independence.

Current-day conflict

Since 2006, Lebanon has been politically divided into two almost equally-strong camps, whose conflict has prevented the political institutions in the country from functioning. The internal struggle between the two groups is mostly based on social and economic clashes of interest, linked with religious differences.

Sponsor a child in Lebanon to change their life.

Most of the children supported by the AES are Armenians, but some are Arabs.

Other factors also play a huge role in the strife that exists in Lebanon. Internal disagreements over the conflict in neighboring Syria play a part, as well as foreign countries’ involvement and interests in the Syrian War. Both internal and external arguments on how to handle the crisis in Syria only worsen the current situation in Lebanon. Today, more than a million Syrian refugees have been registered in the country.

Although Lebanon has been rebuilding itself steadily, the well-being of children has largely been undermined by these geopolitical circumstances. The country still has a long way to go before reaching an ideal situation, where the protection of children’s rights is taken into full consideration.

The AES IN ANJAR and Beirut

The AES were established in 1964 by the late Stephen Philibosian, a successful Lebanese-American businessman. The AES run five schools in Beirut and one in the city of Anjar, near Lebanon’s border with Syria. Our donors support children in three of these schools – two in Beirut and one in Anjar. Sponsors provide children with aid to cover monthly school fees. Funds donated also go towards purchasing clothes and shoes, as well as school supplies.

Most of the children supported by the AES are Armenians, but some are Arabs. All have been affected by the political and economic turmoil of Lebanon and its neighboring countries. The children come from families that work in low-paying or minimum wage jobs.

Support from Children Incorporated provides is truly valuable, and we would love to see more students at the AES enrolled in our program. Currently, our sponsorship program supports only ten percent of the total student body.

The AES are all private schools, so monthly fees are required for attendance. Compared to public schools in Lebanon, however, the AES offer a much higher quality education. Children are provided with more educational tools and resources than the alternative public schools. Public schools are also overcrowded; so parents in Lebanon do whatever it takes to send their children to the AES, which have a higher academic standard.

Visiting the schools

While visiting two AES schools in Beirut, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, noticed that since his last visit many years ago, the schools have improved greatly.

“The infrastructure has been updated, and new and more efficient educational programs have been established to improve opportunities for the children,” he said.

Sponsor a child in Lebanon today.

Students within the AES are required to study Armenian, Arabic, English, and French.

During Luis’ last visit there more than five years ago, the AES were divided into elementary, middle, and high schools. This meant that children were moving to different buildings as they moved up in school. Now, all of the AES offer classes up to high school level in the same building. This keeps students in the same location for a longer time, providing them with more stability, and improving their academic experience.

According to Luis, students within the AES are required to study Armenian, Arabic, English, and French, along with the core educational subjects required by the local government.

“Before, English was not a core course; but it is emphasized now, as the international importance of the language has increased in Lebanon. So students are able to communicate in the English language now,” Luis stated.

“It was great to see many of the students practicing their English skills, asking questions about the United States, and our programs in general.”

On to higher education

Luis also noticed that overall academic core courses at the AES have improved. The labs are better equipped, and teachers are better trained. These improvements prepare students more effectively for higher education, which most students aim to achieve – and they succeed. The AES have a graduation and higher education enrollment rate higher than ninety percent, which is very high for Lebanon in general.

Support from Children Incorporated provides is truly valuable, and we would love to see more students at the AES enrolled in our program. Currently, our sponsorship program supports only ten percent of the total student body. Luis knows that many more of the children at AES could use the help of supportive sponsors.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN LEBANON?

You can sponsor a child in Lebanon 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 in Lebanon that is available for sponsorship.