Farewell to Leoma

Leoma with some of the children

Staff and volunteers bid farewell to one of Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV) longest serving employees this month.

Lead sponsorship co-ordinator Leoma B Godinez has been responsible for overseeing the welfare of the 155 children sponsored through VFV for almost five years.

Leoma said: “The kids are the reason I have stayed here so long. It is going to be hard to leave them. We’ve done so many activities, it has really bonded us.”

Leoma is responsible for everything regarding the welfare of the kids, along with dealing with all the administration work in her department and she has also represented VFV at government meetings.

She said: “It has been very challenging as I’m the only social worker managing all the kids, with the help of an assistant.”

Leoma creates profiles for all the children through interviewing them and assessing their needs. She conducts house visits and also deals with walk-in clients.

She said: “The main problem when I started was children not attending school.

“The main scenario is that they are the oldest children and they are given responsibility to look after younger siblings.”
However after meeting with families and educating them about the importance of attendance, now all sponsored children are attending school.

More recently her main challenge has been helping families to get back on track after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan. “Some clients are still struggling to get back to normal especially in far flung areas. My role is to support them as much as I can.”

She is most proud of having established a college scholarship programme during her time at VFV.

In 2012 three children receives scholarships, in 2013 there were 12 and this year 26 children are benefitting from the scheme.

“I encourage the sponsors who have supported the children through school to extend their support to college as this will give them a more promising future,” she said.

Leoma is leaving VFV to take on a lead role in an anti-poverty programme in the government. “This will not just focus on the kids it is also dealing with the community too so is a bigger responsibility.”

*Written by volunteer Michelle Curran, journalist and editor from the UK

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