When I hear the word ‘orphanage’, I think of a regular facility giving shelter to lost and abandoned children. However, my experience visiting SOS Children’s Village Inc. completely changed my views – the way that they shifted a shelter to the orphans, the abandoned, and the victim on violence into “A Home” blew my mind.
They have 8 locations across the Philippines with one here in Cebu and they’re partnered with the Provincial Task Force (NGO). Firstly, I was surprised by how these kids could speak and understand basic English, likely thanks to the international sponsors. This facility I visited had a total of 188 children and youth, and are currently down to 114 as many graduated from their self-reliance program by age 23.
Instead of endless lines of beds, they’re provided with a ‘home’ like environment, grouped into houses of 8 to represent a modern family with older, middle, and young siblings. They’re given chores and schedules for school, play and sleep.
I also found out that once they’re brought into shelters like these, they undergo a healing process and are counseled to accept the reality that they do have hope for a brighter future and that they have the power to change and move on from their tragic past. But they don’t just focus on an ‘it will eventually get better’ attitude, they instil in these abandoned kids that it is the present that brings hope for a better life.
They’re enrolled into workshops to develop their mental and emotional skills to strengthen themselves. This Foundation makes sure that once these youths leave their care, they can compete and survive in the community that is full of temptations and danger, a distant past that they can determinedly move away from.
This Foundation has gone on to produce Call Centre Agents, Engineers, Nurses, Pilots, Lawyers, and Teachers. Some of these youths have gone on to marry and start families of their own, applying the values they have learnt here.
The Wonderful Centre
*After lunch, watching recreational TV shows (‘Showtime’)
*One of the houses in the Centre
Each house has a “Nanay” (Mother) to train, supervise and care for them. Interestingly, these Nanay are women who never got a chance to marry and have children of their own and this arrangement gave these wonderful women the chance to fulfil their maternal desires.
When I stepped into the houses, they were hospitable, greeting me with a smile and a “Mano Po” gesture (the traditional way of showing respect to elders). It warmed my heart and I was in tears, silently thanking the Lord that despite their terrible pasts, He was able to send angels here on Earth to protect them and provide them with the family life they were deprived of.
This is Elvie, a social worker at the Centre. They have few staff but receive help from volunteers. She’s very young and has a young family. She shared that parenting is never easy, but seeing what she does everyday makes her realise that caring for others makes such a huge impact. These kids treasure the care they receive and hold onto that care with deep love and respect. It silence their hearts but it gives them security and assurance that no one can ever harm them again.
* Open ground where kids play in the afternoon
* Their library with only four working computers that 60 youths share (on a schedule basis)
* Where they run programs and their main venue
Our Upcoming Plans with the Centre
* Their learning centre, where we’ll run our #LoveSeminar
As my parting words to the staff, I asked them, “What is your hope for these children?”
With tears in her eyes she shared, “Love and a better future.”
When I showed her this video, she complimented that the name of our company fit our identity as Angels from above. She was excited to see myself and with the rest of the OA Family in May and parted with a tender hug of comfort and thanksgiving.
On May 12 and 13, 2018, Outsourcing Angel staff together with our Director, Ms. Linh Podetti, will visit the centre and host a Charity Program on Saturday and #LoveSeminar (Workshop) the following day.
The Charity Program will showcase 76 kids who will prepare the program, while we prepare food from Jollibee and a 30 minute JB Mascot dance showdown for a full day of fun!
The #LoveSeminar that we’ll run the following day will raise awareness about the online job opportunities available to these youths and will cover the topics of:
- What is Virtual Assistance all about?
- How to work online
- Success Virtual Assistance stories (Interview)
Our main goal is to make them aware that there are so many things that can be done online, something in line with their learning of persistence and perseverance. We want them to see that there is more to the internet than just browsing YouTube and social media, and that there are plenty of great opportunities out there if they’re willing to work towards it.