Sunday, May 18, 2008

Charity Begins at Home

These are the kids packing their choiced toys and clothes and pairs of shoes and some sweets intended for a charity house in Manila; a few months before our Philippine trip.
They have been bugging me to help them organize the box as they wanted to share their things to those badly in need of them (we told them, sometimes, some kids in the Philippines dont even have their own doll and they also saw during our first visits there the kids selling goods in the streets, those kids begging on the streets, etc) and are too excited in the thought of visiting a place where there are a lot of kids to play with (we promised them they would be personally giving those things to the kids).

So here we are in Bahay Kalinga in Manila this March. I have been visiting the Ermita Manila Church in Manila during visita iglesia and yet I wasnt aware that in the back of the church's compound is a charity house for girls. I asked my sister to find a charity house that would be in need of the girls' things and she found Bahay Kalinga, thru a friend of mine, Elaine (the one in the black t-shirt). She said that a dentist friend offers the girls free dental check-up, that is why she knows of them. I thank Elaine for sharing the info to us and for being there, too.
The box, although ready before the end of December 2007, was picked up by the shipping company early January 2008. I really prayed that it would arrive in time as I want the kids to be there to give their gifts personally. Well, we waited and waited. It was early March and we were in Batangas when the box arrived. At least, we still have time to bring the box.

And then it was time to go. Nope, we dont really know what to do. We were thinking we would simply bring the box to them; leave the box to be opened later and we would then let the kids play for sometime. But look here, here's what we found out when we arrived -- they prepared a stage for us and the kids were all sitting in a small circle.

Actually, I also got a call from Elaine, who arrived first, asking me if we would be having food for the kids. Oh, that made me panic a bit because although I have cash with me; it wont be enough to feed the kids who I heard would be around 17 kids. And credit cards were not always honored in most restaurants around the area. But anyway, we decided to simply donate a small amount; a little ashamed for not really being prepared for such eventualities. At least we know what to do next time. Here are the girls, waiting patiently for us. They sang for us before the real program, of which I didnt know I would have to procure from out of the blue, started :)
I had to ask the sisters supervising them on what to do! And they simply said, it is all up to me, so I decided to spill the things out of the box and let the kids know what we brought them. And I introduced MC and IC, who I told them, used to own the things that they would now be receiving. And I told them I also brought some gummi bears, which I am sure, nobody from them have tried. Everybody looked so in awe of the gummi bear packages I almost gave in and gave them each a taste right there and then!

I helped MC distribute some of the toys. At first, seeing that most of them have short hairs, I thought they were boys; but the sisters explained to me that most of the young ones recently got a hair cut to avoid head lice. Yup, they only accept girls here. The youngest is four years old and the eldest, 16 years old.
Bahay Kalinga accepts girls who are abadoned to them, those that they find in the streets, and those that the parents cannot take care of due to financial difficulties. The girls also go to school, supervised by the institution; and what is amazing is that they could stay in Bahay Kalinga for as long as they want to stay there.
And here is what happened when we asked them to approach the goodies; they 'attacked' them and searched and eventually found something and more things to keep for themselves. Huge eyes, huge smiles -- a very touching scene; just like on Christmas Eve when the the kids are allowed to finally open their presents. MC and IC were simply watching on the sidelines, although MC, after a few minutes; decided to explain to the girls how the other toys should be assembled. And what toys should be together and eventually, she ended up playing with them.

IC took care of the gummi bears, she almost ate the whole pack which I discovered because I saw some of the girls look at her munching with longing! Good thing I have hidden the rest of the packs. I guess she missed those sweets from home :)

Just in case you want to know, Bahay Kalinga will be moving to Taguig within this year.

If you want to share something, here are some tips:

1. Check the charitable institution first and ask about the gender of the kids and the ages so you would have the right things esp when it comes to clothe sizes.

2. Ask for an appointment. Usually, they have a scheduled program for the day and you wouldnt want to catch them during their rest/nap time, dont you?

3. Might be best to bring some snacks or cook soup; or if you can afford it, have one of those hamburger joints deliver something. It would be fun to join them for a meal. I promised to do this next time as MC and IC were really disappointed to having missed a picnic with the girls.

4. A small cash for them to buy some basics would be good; or if they have a small store/shop outside (Bahay Kalinga have one) -- buy some of their souvenirs as the money from their profit would be put to good use, too.

I think if we start the kids early with these kind of things, they would be more open about charity in the future. They would know more about sharing and giving. It would be easier for them to say goodbye to their 'extra' things, especially when they know they would be benefitting others.

MC had her favorite stuff toy when we went to Bahay Kalinga; and when we left, she had already ensured that her fave stuff toy would be taken cared of, she gave it to a girl who wouldnt leave her side.

And so, after another thank you song from the girls, we bade them goodbye and promised to visit them again. And we would, too.

Maraming salamat, Tita Elaine for being there.


lovelyn said...

What a nice entry this one. Very good way of teaching our kids on how to share their blessings to the less fortunate ones. WAGI ka Kengs for doing this!

Just look at how the kids cuddle the stuff toys.

tintin said...

I want to adopt one...or all...breaks my heart..all children should be born into homes where their parents want them and can take care of them.

MHALOU said...

hi racquel, your girls sure made other girls happy just looking at their smiles. very heartwarming indeed

raqgold said...

lovelyn - wagi talaga, hahaha. i want to expose the girls to the realities in life. mahirap ng ma spoil lang sila e.

tintin - yup, being there touched my mommy heart. but am glad that they have someplace and someone to take care of them.

mhalou - it is like Christmas in march for them. touching!

Lynn said...

This is one activity kids learn a lot from. And more often than not, being exposed to these activities - helping others will be second nature to them.

Anonymous said...

You're not only inspiring your daughters, you're inspiring the rest of us who've read this post. Congratulations to IC and MC for having a great role model for a mom!

lionel said...

What a beautiful way to teach your daughters to share what they have.
Thank you for this story. It's a lovely testament to the teaching POWER of mothers in the home. God bless!

raqgold said...

lynn - it was actually their reaction to those kids scattered on the streets that made me realize i needed to do this. coz whenever they saw those kids, they would say 'mama, small children are not supposed to be on the streets at all.'

joanne - i am really touched on reading your words. mahirap maging role model but we moms, should try.

lionel - thanks for visiting and for actually leaving those beautiful words of the mother's power, moms do have powers :)

Wena said...

Wow! teaching your little girls how to share what they have is really heartwarming.

na-miss ko tuloy yung annual outreach activities namin during college days :)

haze said...

In France, we send them to Emmaus (an association to help the needy), marami rin kasi dito even some of our old appliances that are still useful. Though some other stuffs I send in the Philippines for my family. And my family is able to share it to the poor neighbors in Quezon.

That's great to know that kids lives in sharing therefore they learn generosity. When I see beggars on the street I try to explain to my kids and let them understand why there are people like them. This is to avoid status differences but to learn the value of helping the poor! BRAVO for your kiddos :D !

raqgold said...

wena, why not make an annual outreach program with your kids din. sali kami kapag andyan kami :)

haze, it is not easy to explain to the kids the difference in the society di ba? pero when they experience them closely via such exposures of like what you did to you kids, explaining to them - it'll really help a lot.

chateau aka imom said...

How sweet of little MC to give away her precious lovie toy. It's good to teach our kids lessons on giving early on. It will go a long long way. Good work, raq!

raqgold said...

chats - i didnt expect her to give her toy away, she actually promised it for her tito but when she saw how one of the girls were looking at it longingly; she had to give it up.

julie said...

Raq, this is wonderful. ANd yes, charity begins at home along with a lot of other values.

I salute you.

raqgold said...

julie - thanks. as moms we realize the need to exposure and let the kids learn as much as we :D

Ami said...

Hi Racquel, it's good to expose kids to socially relevant activities. It develops their emotional intelligence.

Heart of Rachel said...

I admire your family's generosity. It's a wonderful virtue to teach your kids at such a young age.

raqgold said...

ami - that's good to know!

rach - it was the kids idea and am glad it come from them, too