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Every child deserves a chance at education

I traveled to the Philippines in the beginning of 2020 in hopes of getting the first stages of our Child Development Center started. But as we all know, things slowly took a turn.

It was around mid-March when the country had undergone a lockdown which only allowed us to leave the house if we had a quarantine pass. When all of this was announced, I made the decision to move in with some of the young men my organization was working with. On April 9th, we realized that our food supply was running short and we would need more goods. We asked Ate Lanie, our main point person in the Philippines, to drive us to a supermarket so we could stock up on food. We went and bought what we needed, and Lanie had also purchased some food supplies to give to a family in need. She had previously told me about this family and how she wanted to take one of their daughters in — so she could have the opportunity to attend school. Their current living conditions did not allow them to do so.

When we made it to the region they lived in, Lanie took me to their house to deliver the groceries. The only way to reach their home was by foot or on a motorcycle, which is what we did. When I got there I was in total shock by what I saw (pictures of their home below). This family had lived in a little makeshift shack with one room in the middle of nowhere. They would take a bath, wash their clothes, and get their drinking water all from a little dirty river next to the house. This same river also served as a toilet for the family. I always knew people lived in tough conditions because I had seen it all around me for months... but I had never seen anything this bad.

I remember sitting back and observing them grab the items we had brought to them and one image will forever be engraved in my mind. Their second oldest daughter, with her clothes all ripped up and full of holes, was smiling from ear to ear while holding some of the items. The joy in her face stuck with me as I went back home that day. My heart felt heavy and I just couldn’t fall asleep that night. About a month later, I was getting ready to come back home to the US when Lanie told me of her plan to build a home for this family. She wanted them closer to a school so the girls would have the opportunity to study and make something of their lives. That image, of April 9th, would not leave my head so I wanted to do something to help, I wanted Beacon For Children and all my friends to play a part in helping these girls.

The more information I got, the sadder their story got for me. The girls had never gotten their documents at birth, they didn’t receive real names (the one thing that identifies you, they did not have) they had never attended school, they had never used a proper toilet, and they had never celebrated a single birthday. Beacon for Children then started the process of fundraising for the home in late May. It only took about a month for everything to be finished and for the family to move into their new home.

Before they moved in, we took a few actions —We gave the girls proper names: the oldest is named Babylyn, the two middle sisters are Mary and Rose, and then Sam is the youngest. On the day of their home inauguration, we celebrated Mary’s birthday for the first time ever. She was so excited to have people singing “Happy Birthday” to her for the very first time.

On July 26th, Babylyn will also celebrate her birthday for the first time ever. The girls are all enrolled and ready to attend school starting this August. Our team will go to their house about 3 times a week to help them learn simple things like how to hold a pencil, how to write the alphabet, how to count, and how to do simple math. We get weekly updates on how they are doing and how well they are learning. Every time I receive videos and pictures or hear these stories I get so emotional.

To see where they were 2 months ago to where they are now, I know that their lives are miles ahead of what it was before, and I have full confidence that these 4 girls will make a huge difference. They will change the world.


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