Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Surprise News from Joyce!

I received a CP from Joyce yesterday. I love her letters--she always answers any questions I have asked her, and she includes lots of details. This one was no different ... and it included some surprising news!

Dear Ms. Dillon,

Good day! I hope you and your family are in a good condition. I am happy that you received my birthday pictures. The outfits that you see is our school uniform. My teacher is good and lovely to us. Daisy is at the back of me in the group picture. She wears the complete uniform. In the group family picture my father was left, because he works in another city. Joseph is also a sponsor child. Jocelyn was not. Joseph's birthday is on September 19 and Jocelyn, September 17. They are the same month. My cake is strawberry flavor and I also like chocolate flavor.

By the way, we're not really affected by the typhoon Yolanda. During that storm all levels were closed, but then again we always praying for the safety of the other persons who suffered that great typhoon. We gave them some relief goods and dress. It would be a big help to them. We pray for their health and life.

This coming vacation we are planning to go outing with family and friends and also we are are going to church this coming Holy Week. Actually, I am graduating this coming March 27th. I am ready to go to college after I am graduated high school.  I am so excited to meet new friends and teachers. You are my inspiration in my study.

Again, thank you for supporting me. Take care and God bless.


She's going to college!!! I thought she had one more year of high school left. Even if she studies in a four-year program, she should finish college before she graduates out of the CI program! She was the top student in her class ... I wonder if she was able to secure a scholarship? Her father wasn't previously listed as working in another city--I wonder if he relocated to take a better job to help pay for her education? I am happy to hear that her brother is also sponsored--double the support for the family! I wonder why Jocelyn was never enrolled?

I think I'll saunter myself on over to My Account and send a special gift to celebrate her graduation and help with some of the college expenses! I have to confess that I feel an immense relief that her family can afford to send her to college, since I am stretched pretty thin with Anna Marie's tuition at the moment! I'll have to ask her what she will be studying in college, and if Daisy will be going too!

Toodling around on the internet, I found Bicol University - Tabaco, the (seemingly) only state-run university in the city and therefore the likely school for Joyce's continued education. As I read about the school, I ran across this gem:
An entrance scholarship consisting of tuition fee discount shall be enjoyed for one semester by high school valedictorians/salutatorians from a public or private of a graduating class of not less than 50 students, except those who graduated from SUCs/laboratory high schools. The overall topnotcher in the BUCET shall also qualify under this scholarship. A student who meets the mentioned qualifications must apply for entrance scholarship upon enrollment by presenting his Form 138 (Fourth Year) and a certification as to the size of the graduating class and honors obtained from the high school principal or head of the secondary school where she/he graduated as valedictorian/salutatorian. Valedictorians and the BUCET overall topnotcher shall enjoy a 100% free tuition, while the salutatorians shall enjoy 50% free tuition. Entrance scholars may become academic scholars upon meeting the qualifying average at the end of the semester.
Joyce, as previously mentioned, WAS at the top of her class. I wonder if there were at least fifty students, though? It would be wonderful if she is qualified for this scholarship! There is a whole list of other scholarships she can qualify for as her college career progresses, too: academic-based, testing-based, and participation-based!

This is also good information to keep in mind for my other girls in Tabaco--as they enter high school, I will have to let them know that their hard work can pay off and grant them access to college and a better future!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spotlight Children of the Week, 4/21/2014

Sunita, age 5.
Punita, age 4.
This week I'd like to introduce you to a pair of sisters from India! These adorable girls live with their parents and four other siblings. Their family of eight struggles to survive on a monthly income of only $127. Their house is constructed of brick and they are fortunate to have electricity, but they must obtain their water from a community pump. Both girls sleep on the floor on a mattress, and both girls enjoy playing with their friends. Five-year old Sunita is enrolled in school, while four-year-old Punita is still too young.

Let's team up and make a change for these girls and their whole family! If I sponsor Sunita and your sponsor Punita, we could combine forces and really lift them from the clutches of poverty!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Education Changes in the Philippines

I've been reading some more about the in-process changes to the education system in the Philippines, because I was wondering whether Jie and Joyce (both 15 and, under the old system, Seniors in high school in the coming school year) would be graduating and moving on to college or they'd be continuing on into two more years of high school under the new system.

I have read that "current 4th Year students in high school in S.Y. 2014-2015 are exempted in this program." The new 11th grade will be implemented in 2016 and the new 12th grade in 2017. So it seems that they will graduate and, if they choose, go to college.

There are some other interesting changes that are taking effect with the new education system. In the old system, instruction occurred in English. Now, English isn't even begun until the second semester of first grade. "In Kindergarten, the pupils are mandated to learn the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors through games, songs, and dances, but in their mother tongue; thus after Grade 1, every student can read on his/her mother tongue." For the second semester of grade one and throughout second and third grade they study English with an emphasis on oral fluency. From grade four, Filipino and English as a medium of instruction will both be used. There are specific subjects that will be taught in each language; English will be used for English, Science and Technology, Home Economics and Livelihood Education.

Reasoning behind the shift in instructional language use: "Though elementary schooling is compulsory, as of 2010 it was reported that 27.82% of Filipino elementary-aged children either never attend or never complete elementary schooling, usually due to the absence of any school in their area, education being offered in a language that is foreign to them, or financial distress. In July 2009 DepEd moved to overcome the foreign language issue by ordering all elementary schools to move towards initial mother-tongue based instruction (grades 1–3). The order allows two alternative three-year bridging plans. Depending on the bridging plan adopted, the Filipino and English languages are to be phased in as the language of instruction for other subjects beginning in the third and fourth grades."

There's a lot more info to dig through on the Wikipedia article, and there is a chart showing the integration of the new grades in the "2010s and the K-12 program" section.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spotlight Child of the Week, 4/14/14

Four-year-old Ma. Alliah Nicole Beralde lives with her parents and two siblings in the Philippines. The family of five struggles to survive on an income of only $34 per month. They can barely put food on their table, and have no hope of creating a safe, solid home--their current house is constructed of bamboo, plywood and palm leaf. Ma. Alliah is too young for school. She enjoys playing with her siblings, dancing, and singing. With your help, Ma. Alliah's family will have peace of mind knowing that there will be food on their table and medical attention will be available when she falls ill. Won't you put the smile of hope on this little girl's face?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Photos!

 Here's twelve-year-old Cristine, our group-sponsored child from Quezon City in the Philippines! Photo taken April 11, 2014.
And here's fifteen-year-old Joyce from Tabaco in the Philippines! Photo taken April 10, 2014.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spotlight Child of the Week, 4/6/2014

Meet four-year-old Madelyn Andrea! This cutie lives with her parents and a sibling in Guatemala. They live in an adobe home with dirt floors and unregulated electricity access. Madelyn enjoys playing with dolls, cars and other toys. She speaks Cakchiquel. Her fifth birthday is coming up soon on April 17th -- imagine what an amazing birthday present it would be for her to have a caring, supportive Sponsor enter her life!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Jie's Fifteenth Birthday

In February I sent an SNG for Jie's fifteenth birthday n March 11, and today I received the follow-up report and photos! Jie used the entire amount to purchase groceries for her family.

In her thank-you letter, Jie wrote:

Dear Sponsor,
Hi, how are you? I hope you're doing fine. I'm so happy for the special donation that you sent to me in honor of my birthday. I purchased grocery items for the whole family. It will serve as a very big help for the entire family. I'm very thankful for having you as very kind-hearted person. My family and I would like to extend our deepest gratitude. Take care always and God bless!
Your sponsored child,
Jie Ann

What were the child's/family's comments when the gifts were delivered?
Jie Ann profoundly thanks her sponsor for the thoughtfulness in remembering her 15th birthday. She extremely felt the joy and excitement while selecting the food commodities in their home and those that they would be needing to prepare a simple meal for her birthday. Too, her parents were intensely thankful for making their daughter's birthday a very memorable one.

How will the gifts benefit the child and/or family?
Jie Ann happily received the bountiful supply of food commodities. The gifts enabled Jie Ann and her family prepare a simple meal with her favorite rice noodles dish and some sweet treats to celebrate her 15th birthday. The rest of the grocery items provided the family with food for their everyday needs. It saved them from buying their needs using their own money. It's indeed a big blessing for them to be accorded with help in their difficult times.

Jie with her parents, Aida and Gregorio.
It's interesting that they bought nothing but food, and worrisome that the report mentions "their difficult times." I wonder if something has changed in their family recently to reduce their already-meager income? Jie's has always been one of the poorest of my families, but they have been pretty stable for the past seven years and with previous SNGs, they chose a combination of food and other items (clothes, dishes, a watch and umbrella). Her parents are getting older, and I wonder if Gregorio is finding it harder to work as a carpenter? I'm anxious to see her next Family Report and find out if anything has changed in that regard.

Fundraiser: Anna Marie's Fourth Semester

I am super excited to announce that the fundraiser for Anna Marie's fourth semester of college is being hosted by Aura's House! The organization is non-profit, staffed entirely by volunteers, and works directly with Children International to raise funds for life-changing projects for the children and communities. What makes them special is that 100% of donations go directly to CI ... no fees are withheld from the money that is raised! I've been on the waiting list for nearly a year, and I'm so happy that Anna's chance has come!

And so without further ado ...

Anna Marie is eighteen years old. She graduated from high school in 2013 and, with the help of Children International, all of you, and me, she has been attending a state college near her home. She is studying in a Bachelor's of Science program for Business Management with an emphasis on Human Resource Development. For her first semester, Anna Marie took nine classes and achieved an average of 90%!

Anna Marie is dedicated and hard working, and I have a deep belief that she is going to go far in life. In every letter she expresses not only gratitude, but a desire to help her entire family. In particular, she has mentioned her younger siblings. Anna envisions being able to pay forward the help she is receiving now by paying for her brother and sister to attend college when their time comes.

Any amount you can contribute will be greatly appreciated! Truly, no amount is too big or too small ... it all adds up to a brighter future for Anna Marie and her whole family!