Almost ten years into its official existence in the Leyte, Philippines, Volunteer for the Visayans continue to make a difference and impact individuals and communities in small ways. Its core programs are namely, the sponsorship, volunteer, and community. Through these programs, VFV delivers services in areas of child welfare, healthcare, education, and community development.
The sponsorship program delivers basic social and educational support to children from less privileged families. Through their sponsors, kids gain access to elementary and secondary education. There are also kids who receive sponsorship through college. Additionally, they receive grocery subsidy, a free meal daily, and healthcare assistance. After-school tutorial is implemented to enhance the reading, writing, reading, and comprehension skills of these sponsored kids. Through independent donations, VFV can build homes for deserving sponsored kid families. A few things need to be considered in choosing the right recipient for housing, including the state of the family’s house and land ownership. To date, there are more than 150 sponsored kids from Tacloban City, Palo, Tanauan, Sta. Fe, Babatngon, Ormoc City.
The volunteer program manages volunteers in placement under public health and nutrition, education, social welfare, construction, community development, and media. Most projects are available all year round for individuals and groups 18 years of age and above and open to students and professionals alike. These placements are based in the province of Leyte. Volunteers not only share and learn in their respective fields, they also immerse in the unique Filipino culture. Living with a Filipino host family and interacting with the local community contributes to the overall cultural experience. Aside from the regular placement, volunteers can get involved with side projects such as women empowerment, youth development, environmental awareness, and community health and awareness. On certain occasions, volunteers schedule visits to the countryside and scenic spots to experience the natural beauty of the tropical island. They sunbath in white-sand beaches and swim in cool blue waters, hike to waterfalls, visit the Chocolate Hills, scuba-dive, swim with the whales, and see wildlife creatures endemic to the country.
The community program consists of outreach projects geared towards community development and empowerment. Women are given livelihood trainings and assistance to provide them the means to earn a living. They also receive first aid and basic health lectures. Adolescent boys and girls develop responsibility, sportsmanship, team work, and self-confidence through varied activities such as participation in environmental projects, health sessions, sports, dance, music, livelihood, and community service. Children who labored at a local dumpsite were taken out of it and enrolled in schools to give them a chance to a brighter future. They are provided basic social and educational support. They receive the same privileges as sponsored kids. VFV reaches out to far-flung rural elementary schools, deliver assistance by distributing school supplies trice a year and facilities repair when funds are available.
VFV is a small social welfare agency operating in Leyte Island. With limited resources, it creates small projects and engages in practical activities. Through the years of working in small ways and little steps, VFV is proud to effect some changes in the community.
Continued support and belief in the organization’s ability to deliver services strengthen VFV and inspires its staff to work harder for those who depend on them. VFV is indebted to its donors and sponsor whose support and confidence in its ability, without doubt spur the organization to strive to continue improving the quality of its services. Children, youth, women, men, and communities are foremost in the minds of the VFV staff as they take on the challenges of humanitarian work.