I Was Sad Last Christmas
Our visit to The School in a Cart in Cubao, the Philippines this past Christmas was filled with hugs and laughter, games and gift-giving, singing and dancing. There was so much love between the kids, the volunteers, me with my family, and our partners running the Center, Alfredo and Nonie, of course, it would be a joyous time. There was also work to be done and unexpected challenges to face.
The day after Christmas, we learned that one of our families with five siblings living in a small apartment had to report their father to authorities for abuse. After that, their mother wasn’t stable enough to take care of the children. Neighbors in their building, as well as students and teachers at school, learned what had happened and instead of offering their support, they ostracized and ridiculed them, especially Daniella (15 years old) and her sister Dianne (17 years old.) It was very hurtful on top of a devasting experience.
We spoke with a social worker, helped the children change schools, and now have a possible new rental separate from their mother and near the Center. Their days are spent at the Center, doing remote learning, getting healthy meals, and just trying to feel safe and happy, again.
Our donors make our work possible, from buying food and providing tutoring to consoling and taking on parental roles when necessary. Thank you, and a special thank you to an employee matching gift program that has made a significant difference in the children’s lives, supporting our mission since 2016. Due to the Coronavirus, this will be the last month we’ll receive their matching gift, but instead of feeling discouraged, we’re sincerely grateful for the years of support they did give and the great work they enabled us to accomplish.
Below is Daniella’s original essay and the translation from Tagalog. We understand that it is a very difficult time to give to charity. If you are able to help, we would be sincerely grateful.
Dear Daniella, my heart hurts for what you and Dianne have been through, not only with your family, but also the lack of support from your neighbors. That makes me so sad and also angry on your behalf. I am so sorry this happened to you. But I am glad you and your sister are not alone to deal with this. It is comforting that you have your siblings and Sara and Alfredo and Nonie at the Center to offer their support to you and your siblings during these hard days. It makes me smile to know you are continuing your studies, even when it’s hard, and doing your very best to move forward. One day at a time, sweet girl. Keep making good choices, studying and doing the right thing. Know we are sending our love and cheering you on every step of the way. Big hugs to you. Love, Miss Connie