World Vision and My Family

World Vision & My Family

From a speech by
Maureen F. Miclat

EDSA Shangri-la Mall
18 August 2009

Let me start by thanking each & every one of you present for making the decision to sponsor a child. I was asked by Cecile of World Vision to speak about my family’s experience as child sponsors & tonight, I hope to share with you my own personal account on how sponsoring a child has changed not only the lives of these children, but family’s as well.

Last June, along with two other child sponsor families we were invited by World Vision Philippines to take part in the launching of the Babao family (Julius, Tintin & Antonia) as celebrity family endorsers of World Vision Philippines. The objective of the said event was to challenge Filipino families to be agents of transformation in this nation. To act, as a family, on a commitment to make positive change possible. The challenge is for the whole country to help ONE FILIPINO FAMILY, ONE CHILD.

We have been World Vision child sponsors for several years now and through the years, I would speak of this advocacy only to a few people & only to those, I was comfortable with. I realized then that I was doing this advocacy of mine, especially the children who need child sponsorships, a disservice by not sharing about it to people who might have the heart and the means to help. I have always believed that there are many people out there who are willing to help but just don’t know how. I am hoping that in sharing our story, I may be able to inspire you and together, we can all help give thousands of children who are still waiting for child sponsorships the chance to secure them.

My story starts several years back when I chanced upon a link in the internet about a book entitled “12 Little Things every Filipino can do to HELP our Country” by Alexander L. Lacson. Before I gathered my thoughts on how to share our story with you, I sought the permission of Atty. Lacson to include him & his book in my account this evening, as I would not be able to give justice to how we came about to sponsor if I didn’t mention the inspiration we got from his book.

I got in touch with Atty. Lacson & ordered several copies to share to my family & friends. His list seemed simple, & I assure you it is. However, it takes a certain amount of will & a great amount of personal discipline to faithfully practice all the items on his list. One particular item caught my attention.

It was the 11th item, which reads, & I quote:

“11. Adopt a Scholar, or Adopt a poor child — Imagine if 2M families in our country would adopt 2M poor children, either as scholars or as members of our families? That’s 2M young Filipinos who will be given access to a better future. In return, that’s 2M Filipinos who in the future can give us a better nation. No doubt, too, this is one of the fastest ways to close the gap between the rich and poor in this country. It is one of the best paths to national progress.

“It is very Christian, an act of people power in its purest form…”

End of quote.

In the recent weeks, we have watched how the whole country has mourned the death of one of the pillars of people power, former President Cory Aquino. It is not my desire to ride on the wave of recent interest on the life and accomplishments of our former President; however, we probably all know that one of her greatest advocacies was people empowerment; rather, I hope that this will inspire people to do their share for the poor, particularly the children. If like me, you have been inspired by the tireless efforts of this remarkable woman in making lives better for the Filipinos, especially that of our poor & marginalized fellow citizens, then this might just be our chance to help this country in our own little way.

*Incidentally, Atty. Lacson’s book was endorsed by former President Cory Aquino.

We did not rush headlong into sponsoring a child. We had some apprehensions as we have heard sad accounts of how seemingly well-intentioned groups end up just squandering sponsors donations because there was no structure on how they worked thus unable to sustain their programs. World Vision, on the other hand, had a very sound structure & it helped that their more well-known endorsers, like Ms. Karen Davila, Ms. Lea Salonga & Ms. Miriam Qiuambao among others, are very credible in their fields of service.

It was Christmas season in 2005 when we were at a mall when my youngest son started hinting about a toy he wanted for Christmas, the gift he was asking for was a bit pricey & probably because he had no concrete idea yet on the value of money, he told me it was just a few thousand pesos anyway. We were then near the World Vision, booth & I proceeded to go there & asked for some literature about child sponsorship.

When we got home, I sat down with my 2 children & went on to explain how the amount of the gift my youngest wanted for Christmas was in fact, more than enough to sponsor a child for 1 year. Unlike the toy, which would probably hold his attention for a few months at the most before it would be tucked into some corner, forgotten until a new one came along. I told them that the same amount would be able to pay for a child’s education for more than a year & would hopefully provide that child the chance of a better future. I told them that this is something more lasting & something we can do to do our share our blessings with the less fortunate. It was truly a valuable lesson not only for my children, but for my husband & me as well.

For a monthly donation of Php600 per sponsored child, you will be giving that child the hope, the chance of a better future. Instead of multiplying the amount by 12 months, giving a total of Php7, 200 a year, which may seem steep, I urge you to divide the Php600 by the number of days in a month. This will give you Php20 a day, yes, just Php20 a day to give a child a better chance in life. For those living abroad, the cost is about $20 a month, $240 a year or $0.67 a day.

World Vision turns over communities to its residents once the community becomes self-sustainable. We saw it last year when my daughter, on a project for her school requirement, was fortunate to have been allowed by World Vision to visit one of their turned-over communities in Cavite. It was proof that the World Vision program really works and that given the right guidance and support, people who have less in life will make good on opportunities given to them. It also presents them the chance to be able to take charge of their own lives and break the cycle of poverty that is so prevalent among the poorer sectors of our society. World Vision gives them the chance to take active part in making their lives better.

We started with one sponsored child & in the recent years have added 3 more. To date, we have four sponsored children and we are blessed to be able to give back the blessings that the Lord has showered upon us all these years. It is a priceless gift to be able to share our blessings to these children. It is true that in giving, something is given back to you. The joy of receiving our sponsored children’s letters and progress reports always makes my day. The knowledge that my family and I are making a positive difference in these children’s lives makes me more driven to seek out people who will be willing to do the same.

I am happy to inform you that from the original 9,000 children set by World Vision to be sponsored this year, the number is now down to 4,000. Last year, World Vision was able to help 122,000 children with sponsorships. I hope and pray that with your help, we may be able to make a dent, however small, in sending some of these 4,000 children who still dream of going to school and hopefully face a brighter future. I urge you to tell your family & friends whom you think have the heart & the means to sponsor a child. Every single sponsor is a blessing to these children.

To end, let me share another item in Atty. Lacson’s book. In item no. 12, he states, & I again quote:

“12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law & to love our country. — Given the present state of our nation, with so many to problems that we don’t even know where to begin to solve them, our children are always a good starting point.”

“They are the future. Their minds and their hearts will shape and color the future…”

“I guess building a nation towards progress and greatness is like that too. We have to attend to the many little things in our national life, and start setting them right. And our family, our children, is the STARTING point for this. Each child is a potential good Filipino. Each child is a potential patriot of our country…”

End of quote.

That child my friends, may just be your own sponsored child.

May God bless your generosity a thousand fold.

Maraming, maraming salamat po.

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A Filipino of Faith, by Max Soliven
A Heart of Gold, by Marsha Ledesma
In The Words of A Friend, by Rhoneil Fajardo