In today’s world there are literally hundreds of ways to reach out and assist disadvantaged communities and individuals in developing nations. Child Sponsorship, micro financing programs such as kiva.org and specific social media applications such as the infamous Causes are just a few ways in which you can spend a few bucks to contribute towards something that will make a positive improvement to the life of someone less fortunate.
However before many people reach for their credit card or check book, they often like to explore the various different projects and schemes that are out there in order to be reassured that their money is going to a good cause and that they are supporting a project which is both responsible and sustainable.
Sponsoring a child is no different and there is absolutely no shortage of Child Sponsorship Programs that boast a multitude of services in a wide range of different developing nations.
In this article, I’d like to offer an insight to the Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV) Child Sponsorship Program so I may outline the various services and support networks that are offered to children and families enrolled on our program in the Philippines and the unique personal contact that is made between sponsor and child as well as the professional services offered by our experienced and friendly staff.
Resources for Education
Offering access to education is at the forefront of VFV’s mandate and is one of the major directives of the Child Sponsorship Program. By enrolling and keeping children active in school VFV can offer children the means to be the master’s of their own destiny and aim to use education as a means to eventually break the poverty cycle.
Every child who is sponsored through Volunteer for the Visayans is given the means to have all major academic costs handled by the organization (including enrollment fees and examinations fees). In many cases this is one of the major issues that prevents children from pursuing academic studies, in the case of large families some children have to sacrifice their opportunity to go to school so that a sibling may go in their stead. By providing these fees, VFV lightens the burdens for families suffering from socioeconomic hardships and allows children to develop their full potential.
In addition children are also provided with all of their necessary school supplies and partial provision of school uniform items. The reason this service is provided is because that is incredibly common for children in the Philippines to stop going to school because they do not have notebooks, pens, pencils and other stationery – after all, there’s little point in going to class if you’re not able to take notes. Outside of the Child Sponsorship Program, VFV have also devised projects such as the Adopt-A-School Project which aim to alleviate similar issues in remote rural schools in the Philippines.
Children on VFV’s Child Sponsorship Program are also provided with daily after-school tutorials which are facilitated by Volunteer for the Visayans staff, local volunteers and participants enrolled on VFV’s Volunteer Abroad Program. As well as this all of our children’s attendance and progress in school is closely monitored by VFV’ staff and shared with sponsors. If children begin to fall behind, VFV can maximize its additional support structures to offer one-on-one tutoring to further enhance the academic performance of every child.
Every morning before school (and on the weekend), VFV sponsored children are provided with a nutritious and healthy breakfast to prepare them for the day ahead. These meals are regularly monitored by international volunteers participating on VFV’s Nutrition Public Health Project.
Aside from this, children are provided with daily multi-vitamins, offered a free medical health check every year by a licensed doctor and given the means to receive support during illness. By keeping children healthy and their stomachs filled, we reduce the likelihood of them having to miss school due to sickness and/or hunger.
Close Monitoring & Extra-Curricular Activities
VFV is lucky to have two full time members of staff who are able to provide frequent regular contact with both children, parents and sponsors. By having staff dedicated to the welfare of the children and the management of the program VFV is able to constantly evolve its services and offer children access to activities that they might not have been fortunate to have received outside of the program. Frequent regular contact with international volunteers, including excursions and games also allows our sponsored children to develop a strong command of the English language, a quality that will be a great benefit to them in later life.
Aside from this VFV staff and OJT social worker interns from Leyte Normal University are able to conduct such activities as character and confidence building sessions to not only further develop a child’s academic performance but to also mold appropriate social skills.
Build-A-Home & Other Projects
By being enrolled on the Child Sponsorship Program, disadvantaged families have the means to be recipients of VFV’s Build-A-Home Project; which requires absolutely no financial commitment from the sponsor (although donations will always be put to great use). When children are enrolled on the program, their house is ranked based on its condition. Those children living in unsafe, uncomfortable or unsanitary conditions will immediately be marked as potential targets for VFV Build-A-Home Projects which will result in either complete rebuilds or major renovations to the living conditions of the child and his family.
Aside from this, other projects that stem from VFV’s Community Program may also become available to a sponsored child’s parents or siblings. Examples of which include the Mothers Club which lends skills based training, livelihood development workshops and micro financing projects to local low income mothers, Supplementary Feeding which could provide a regular nutritious daily meal for a sponsored child’s infant siblings or even the Girls and Boys Club which provides peer bonding and counseling, skills training and character development for local adolescents.
Correspondence and Connection
Our children love writing letters to their sponsors and we attempt to send as much correspondence from our children to our sponsors as we can. Aside from this, we also encourage our sponsors to send letters to their sponsored children so that a unique relationship between child and sponsor can develop. At the same time, our local English speaking staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer the concerns and queries of sponsors. VFV takes pride in the personal relationship that develops between the sponsors and the organization and make regular online posts as well as Facebook posts to keep sponsors up to date on progress. VFV appreciates all feedback, comments and suggestions offered by sponsors and even communicates with sponsors to discuss possible new policies and services.
Leoma Godinez, a Registered Social Worker, is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Social Work at Leyte Normal University. During her Third year in College, she practiced Casework and Group Work in handling clients in DSWD Home for Girls where she was assigned. During her Fourth year, she completed her Community Immersion by being assigned in Pastrana, Leyte under the supervision of the Municipal Social Welfare Officer wherein she practiced Community Organizing. She organized a Children’s Organization in the community and she conducted community surveys, orientation for the whole community about a certain legislation and also a Parent Effectiveness Seminar. Towards the end of her practicum, she helped the community where she was assigned, in coming up with a Community Development Plan, addressing the problems of the said community. Prior in working with Volunteer for the Visayans, she worked as an enumerator at Department of Social Welfare and Development. Leoma currently handles the role of Child Sponsorship Program Coordinator, overseeing the distribution of social welfare services of 144 children.
Crisel Macabare is a graduate from Leyte Normal University with a Bachelors Degree in Teaching. Prior to being appointed as Assistant Sponsorship Coordinator, Crisel was a local volunteer for VFV, working on both the Volunteer and Child Sponsorship Programs. Today, Crisel assists the Sponsorship Program in providing social welfare services for 144 disadvantaged children. Aside from this she is also responsible for coordinating the after-school tutorials for sponsored children in Bliss and assisting with facilitating communication with international child sponsors.
Price and Administrative Costs
VFV separates itself from other Child Sponsorship Program by deducting no administrative costs to cover the salaries and benefits of it’s employees. Due to the unique social enterprising model that is adopted by Volunteer for the Visayans.
This means that the whole of your $300 a year annual payment ($25 a month) will be used to provide the services for your sponsored child. If you’d like to find out more about sponsoring a child with Volunteer for the Visayans please feel free to contact us.