Browsing Posts tagged education

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Education paves a way out of poverty yet millions of children around the world don’t attend school because they can’t afford school supplies.  If they don’t attend school they don’t receive an education, and without an education they have very little chance of getting out of the slum.  The simple fact is that fewer children are enrolling in schools – the reason is poverty.  Instead of education, love and care, many children are badly exploited.  Some parents don’t send their children to school because they cannot afford school supplies, uniforms etc. instead they send their kids to work at a young age.  With the donated money we received from friends, family and The Optimist Club of Monaco South in Denver, CO we were able to purchase backpacks, school supplies and uniforms in time to send over one hundred children for the opening of classes on June 15, 2010. Our goal is to help over three hundred impoverished children this year and this is encouraging news to a lot of parents I met on this trip.  Judith, one of the many parents who wish to send their kids to school this year, told me “My parents we’re so poor when I was young they couldn’t afford to send me to school. I only have a first grade education. I want my kids to have a better future than me but because food is more important education has to wait. I’m very afraid that my kids can never have the proper education, that they can never have a bright future.  I don’t want this life for them.”

We have until June 25 to collect backpacks, school supplies, clothing, and of course monetary donations to help with our 2010 Back 2 School Backpack Drive.  Below is a list of items that are needed. Contact us at info@childrenshopefund.org if you would like to donate supplies or clothing.

New or Used Items Needed:

  • Children’s Clothing (for ages 4-12)
  • Backpacks
  • Pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Erasers
  • Chalk
  • Arts & Crafts Kits
  • Textbooks (K-6, all subjects)
  • Teacher’s Manuals (all subjects)
  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction, K-6 levels)
  • Educational Videos or DVDs
  • Educational Games (Scrabble, etc.)
  • Flash Cards (all types)

You can also make a tax deductible donation through Paypal by visiting our website, www.childrenshopefund.org or by mailing a check. A $20 donation will cover school uniforms, supplies, and fees for one student for one year.

We visited Barangay Panapaan, one of the impoverished areas in Bacoor, Cavite, last Friday June 4, 2010. I had to climb a wall to reach where they live because the owner of the lot across the street took their right of way; a narrow alley that leads them to their home because they’re considered squatters and they have no rights, hundreds of them. They live in makeshift houses near a river with muddy water overflowing with garbage.  A lump formed in my throat and I had to struggle to hold back my tears as a group of kids swam and played in this filthy river. It’s heart wrenching to see their living conditions. It breaks my heart, these are real faces, real people, no one deserves to live like that, but the fact remains that the poorest of the Philippines poor live among mountains of garbage and families are scavenging just to survive. The gap between the rich and the poor is immeasurable, but even though these children been through so much over the years I saw smiles on their faces. They greeted me with open arms, hugs, laughter and so much love. I felt the sense of hope and the resilience that exists in each of the people that I met in this area.  Filipinos do not easily give up; they are fighters and survivors and they have the ability to face even the most difficult tests in life with a cheery smile. It’s a sad world, but happiness exists no matter how or where you live. The root and cause of poverty will likely not change in our lifetimes, but I am more inspired and motivated now to help get these kids in school because education is a major tool for these children to help themselves. Let’s save as many as we can.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” ~ Forest E. Witcraft

This quote will forever resonate with me.  Our volunteers in the Philippines received over a hundred letters this past week from children dreaming to get an education, each one of them promising to study hard and get good grades. It makes me sad because I know the place of desperation they’re coming from – I’ve been there.  I know the feeling of not knowing if I will be able attend the upcoming school year or not.  I remember walking for miles, rain or shine, to attend school, many times hungry.  As a child I often wondered if there is any good in this world, will God save me from poverty and why a simple goal of getting an education seems so unattainable.  All I wanted to do as a child is go to school and to finish college.  I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, but my parents could not afford to send me to school.  As a child I cleaned people’s houses, I washed dishes, I sold figurines to people, I sold food on the street, babysat, and washed people’s laundry so I have money to buy supplies for school.  Most of my childhood memories are infused with a sense of constant desperation – “we have no money to buy food”.  In spite of the difficulties, obstacles,  and discouragement somehow I made it!

Sadly, thousands of Filipino children are not as lucky.  So many of them are not going to attend school this year because their family’s total earnings are barely enough to buy food, so there is no money left for things like clothes and shoes, a toothbrush, pens or pencils, and other small items we use daily, often without realizing their true value.   According to UNICEF one billion children are deprived of one or more services essential to survival and development and two million Filipino children are currently not in school.  In response to this need Children’s Hope Fund is launching a Back 2 School Backpack Drive.  School year in the Philippines begins the second week of June; we are collecting school supplies, gently used children’s storybooks, picture books, backpacks, gently used clothes and toys for preschool to 6th grade level. Our goal is to help over 300 in-need children be ready and able to attend school. Please support our Back 2 School Backpack Drive.  For as little as $20.00 you can give a child a head start toward a better future by helping them get an education. Please show your support for these children and join us in reaching out to underprivileged kids in the Philippines.

I start each day by watching the news to see what’s happening in the world. This morning I found myself asking why is it that news and news-related programs tend to highlight all the bad things that are happening in the world? It seems like negativity and bad news make up the majority of television news programming. Stories about goodwill, virtue and heroism are positive news, but don’t seem to be emphasized much. I’m sure there are a lot of positive stories around the world that we could be reporting on, instead of just focusing on things like war, crime, or what celebrity is going into rehab or cheating on their spouse. By now, most parents have heard about studies that discourage exposing young children to television.

Consider these findings from a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (for more details, see the full report):

  • For children under the age of 2: more than four in 10 (43%) of children under the age of 2 watch TV every day and nearly one in five (18%) watch videos or DVDs every day.
  • For children under the age of 6: on average, they spend about two hours a day with screen media – the same amount of time as they spend playing outside, and three times as much time as they spend reading or being read to.

Gloria DeGaetano states in her paper, All the News That’s Fit for Kids, “Messages and stories absorbed at an early age have the biggest impact on children, who often don’t understand that news programs offer a very narrow view of the world. Much of what is covered on television news involves the most negative aspects of human behavior. If programs that send skewed and harmful messages about how people behave are a child’s first cultural impressions, then the child will most likely compare all future accounts, no matter how realistic, to these inaccurate ones. Kids can also become fearful when information is presented out of context. “After the television coverage of the bombing of Baghdad a few years ago,” says Harvard University child psychologist Dr. Robert B. Brooks, “children in this country worried that their homes would be bombed in retaliation.””

It would be nice to hear more good stories on the news, showing the positive aspects of humanity instead of just focusing on the negative. People, both children and adults, need to know that good stuff that is happening, to inspire them, and give them hope.

We received devastating news from the Philippines today: a fire erupted in a slum near the Philippine capital of Manila, destroying hundreds of homes and leaving thousands of people homeless. Living in the slums leaves its people vulnerable to devastation, especially fire, because their shelters are mostly constructed of scraps of wood and garbage and are often built extremely close to each other or even attached.

An event like this highlights the need for us to help the impoverished children of the Philippines. Most of the students we are helping in Cavite live in slums just like the one that was devastated by the fire today. Children who live in these slums don’t have the luxury of focusing on their education; they instead wonder where there next meal will come from. But, with your help, we can change the focus of Cavite’s slum children to education by providing them healthy meals, clothing and school supplies. An education is the best chance they have to escape the horrors of the slums. Help us as we encourage and aid the children of Cavite in pursuing an education.

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