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From the Field

Sagkahan Orphanage

Many orphanages in the Philippines are often understaffed and the children do nmissionaries1ot always get the level of attention and care they require.

Volunteer for the Visayans offers volunteers the opportunity to help out in these orphanages to ensure the kids are getting the level of care any child deserves.

The children are often abandoned or have parents who have passed away, and as such they need and deserve attention and care as does any child. By volunteering at an orphanage the children are given the chance to play and interact with the volunteers, and the staff at the orphanages who are often over worked get much needed help.

At the Missionaries of Charity: Gifts of Joy orphanage in Sagkahan when we arrived the children were very excited to see their regular volunteers and even more excited to see they had brought along some fresh faces.

Volunteers Maddie and Kerrie have been assigned to this orphanage, but brought along Kerrie and the media interns Bao and myself. As soon as we arrived the children were extremely excited tmissionaries4o have new friends to play with and immediately began hugging and playing with the volunteers.

As always the children are bright faced with smiles from ear to ear and are always wanting to play games. Their level of positivity shines through, but can sometimes dull when they begin to fight over who gets to play with which volunteer. In the end they are usually happy to share and play all together.

This orphanage houses 16 children ranging predominantly ranging from ages one to four, with some older children who are in school. 

Some of the children were brought to the orphanage because their families could no longer take care of them, while others have been abandoned and some arrive at the orphanage very undernourished. The sisters and the staff run a very well organized orphanage and ensure all the children are clean, fed, and happy everyday.

However any help they can get is always appreciated. After playing outside in the morning we all went inside and the colouring books came out. All the kids love to colour and some are very creative and take great pride in their work.

There aren’t always enough books for the children to all colour together and donations of books and toys are always welcome. While we are keeping the children distracted the staff have a chance tmissionaries2o give each child a bath and change them into clean clothes. There are kids colouring, kids climbing on the volunteers, kids laughing and all the kids seem to be having a whole lot of fun while the volunteers are around.

Volunteer Kerrie was kind of enough to donate some hand made blankets to the children which obviously made the kids extremely happy. The children don’t often have things for themselves because they usually have to share all their toys and clothes so when they get given a gift that is theirs to keep they feel very fortunate. It was amazing to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they were given the blankets and how they immediately wrapped it around themselves and were just glowing with happiness. Some of the children made sure to hide their blankets in a secret place just to make sure no one else would take it.

 After the blankets were gifted to the children and they had time to appreciate the donation, it was time for lunch. All the children knew to sit down at the table and wait to be served a delicious local dish of Pork Adobo.

Most of the children are able to feed themselves, but some of the younger ones need some help which is were the help of the volunteers comes in handy as this leaves the orphanage staff free to begin cleaning up and attending to other duties. The food smelled delicious and must have tasted jumissionaries3st as good because all the children seemed to thorough enjoy their lunch. After lunch and a quick clean up of the children it was nap time.

The children were changed into clean clothes and many of them were very excited to cuddle up to their new blankets and go to sleep. The blankets seemed to make them feel safe and warm and I’m sure helped many of them get to sleep.

Leaving the children was the hardest part of the day as I know how much fun they had that day, but it’s good to know they are in the care of a very good organization.

If you are interested in working with VFV and volunteering at an orphanage please visit:

 Written by: Perry Staios – Media Intern

Photos courtesy : Tan Hoang Bao Nguyen

Posted in Social Work, Uncategorized, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment

Lapay Nutrition Project

Volunteer for the Visayans organizes community feeding programs for young cLapay1hildren who have been identified as undernourished. These programs involve volunteers preparing and serving nutritious meals to young children once a day to ensure that they are eating healthy and nutritious meals.

VFV approaches preschools and day care centers in order to help give nutritious meals to children who would otherwise not have access to these meals.

VFVs latest community feeding program is at a day care center in Lapay, Tanauan. Volunteers Adam and Kerrie began the program by profiling the children. This involved measuring their height and weight and calculating each child’s BMI to identify the children who have very low BMIs and providing a nutritious lunch for these children every day they are at school.

As expected all the children sit well below the average BMI for children their age because they cannot afford to eat nutritious meals every day, which is why the community feeding programs are so important. Quite often these children miss their growth spurts due because they do not receive enough nourishment for their bodies to grow at their natural rates. By ensuring these community programs go ahead we can make sure the children get the nourishment their bodies need in order for them to receive their growth spurts.Lapay2

The volunteers then begin every day by shopping at the local market for fresh produce and meats for the meal they have chosen to prepare. Once they have purchased the ingredients they make their way to the preschool and start preparing the meal for the children.

The kids are always extremely happy to see the volunteers when they arrive and always have a smile on their face. At first some of the kids were a little shy when the volunteers arrived, but after a few days the children cannot wait to play with their volunteers every day.

If the volunteers ever need any help or have any questions the teachers at the preschool and the children are always happy to help when they can, which is very true to the Filipino culture.

Once the meal is prepared the volunteers serve what they have cooked to the children, much to their pleasure.

The children bring their plates up to the volunteers to receive their nutritious lunch and Lapay4eat their meals with pleasure.

In addition to providing food for the children, the volunteers also provide them with toothbrushes and toothpaste in an effort to improve oral hygiene. These children often have poor oral hygiene and do not brush their teeth, which results in decay and other dental issues.

By providing the children with toothbrushes and ensuring they brush their teeth after eating we can begin to teach the children good oral hygiene habits that hopefully have a lasting effect on them.

Teaching the children these habits at a young age is more likely to make an impression on them and to prevent dental issues than trying to instil oral hygiene habits to someone who already has poor oral hygiene. This can help to reduce the risk of decay and other issues that a child may have developed otherwise. 

Once all the food has been enjoyed by the children, the volunteers clean up theirLapay3 work area and begin to leave. The children are so happy and excited to have volunteers with them, that when it comes time for the volunteers to leave at the end of the day they wish they could stay longer.

There is a chorus of goodbyes and waves as the volunteers leave and some of the children even wait with the volunteers for them to catch their transport. The goodbye waves last until the children are completely out of sight and are replaced with hellos and smiles the following day.

VFV welcomes all donations and sponsors so we can continue to fund programs such as these that allow us to provide these nutritious meals to children in need. If you are interested in donating or volunteering with VFV please visit:


Written by: Perry Staios – Media Intern from Australia

Posted in Nutrition Volunteers, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment

To be a Volunteer for the Visayans

Roxanne St-Pierre, media intern from Canada, was a volunteer for eight weeks in Tacloban City, Philippines.

At the beginning of this internship, I wasn’t expecting to live such an amazing IMG_0926experience.

I remember my first day when I went out of the airport, the sun was shining on my forehead and my shoulders, Waray-Waray language seemed also nice to my ears.

Very different from my country, the Philippines are the hottest place that I have ever visited. I enjoyed starting my day with the sun. I met many people who were so generous with foreigners. To go out of your comfort zone seems maybe easy to say but difficult to do and to deal with it.

To be a volunteer isn’t only give time to a non-profit orgazination, it also to immerge in another culture. A reality that makes me realized the beauty in the volunteering.

As media intern, I have visited many projects which I learn so much of international communication with sponsors, children and the staff. I went to Tanauan, Palo, Santa Fe, Ormoc, Planza Island and more. I was present to take pictures of a lot of events and projects in the community.

Take the jeepney for the first time seems maybe stressful, but VFV were present to make you feel comfortable and IMG_1571safe. I worked with volunteers and staff which supported me during every project.

I published also articles and posts on VFV Facebook each day. In addition, others volunteers and I made a video to promote VFV’s services. An amazing video to show VFV’s projects to the rest of the world.

For a foreigner, like me, to live in the community shows me the beauty of Filipino’s culture. I felt that I was a member of the family during all of my trip.

I could learn their language and their expressions which make me feel happy. Furthermore, I tasted so many Filipino meals which were sweet and tasty. I have to admit that my favorite one is the pancit; I asked my ‘’nanay’’ to give me the recipe before my departure.

Today, it’s my last day in Tacloban City as volunteer. I see things differently, my horizIMG_0142ons have widened, and I’ve grown as much as I have in the past two months than other moment in my life. An incredible experience which I recommend to everybody to live it.

Thank you VFV and all volunteers for contributing to help the community.

Written by: Roxanne St-Pierre – Media Intern from Canada

Posted in Volunteer Program | Leave a comment
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