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Balay Dalangpan Newsletter March 2017

Dear Supporters and Friends,
There’s lots of exciting news in this edition! Hope you enjoy the read.
Please pass it on to your friends and family …..


Welcome to our new Board Members!

We are pleased to announce that at our recent Board Meeting in February we appointed a number of new Board Members. This was considered necessary as we extend our educational support programs and start construction of Felisa Children’s Village. All the new members are based in Bacolod giving us much stronger ties to the local community.
Here’s the new team! Actually what a team – we are so blessed to have them all on board.

 

 
It goes without saying, of course, that all the new and existing board members continue to give their time free of charge thus keeping our management and administration costs to an absolute minimum. 

Change is Coming!

The last few months have been an interesting time in the Philippines, with a change of President, and a lot more international media coverage than we are used to receiving, much of it not particularly flattering or positive. However, we fully support the government’s new focus on providing more efficient and effective government services aimed at helping poorer and disadvantaged communities, but the sad reality is that it is going to take many years before the lives of disadvantaged children noticeably improves. Many thousands of children continue to live below the poverty line; do not receive an education, and have lost parental support through being either orphaned, abandoned or taken into government care due to abuse. The need for a facility such as the Felisa Children’s Village is as strong as ever. But these days we see a positive wind of change as we move from working in isolation against a backdrop of non-government action and indifference towards a partnership of closer collaboration with relevant government agencies and a real desire to work together to make a difference. Please don’t believe everything you read in the press about the Philippines – there’s a lot off ‘fake news’ being published by those that don’t want to see the change that is happening on the ground.      

Felisa Children’s Village Ground-Breaking!

Because the village is a much bigger project than we had originally envisaged, it has taken us a little longer than we had originally planned to reach this point, but on 25 February 2017, Felisa Children's Village was officially born with a ground-breaking ceremony marking the start of construction. The plans remain very much as described in the last newsletter with 6 family-style houses able to take 12 children each, plus a management office and a multi-purpose hall, set in its own landscaped gardens.

A big thanks to all Councilors, Local Government Officials including the Child Protection Department, Local Teachers, Lions Club Representatives, Volunteers, Board Members and the Construction Team who came out to mark the occasion.


We have now completed site regrading, which was necessary to improve drainage and provide flat plots for the buildings, and have also started the construction of the boundary wall and gate, which has been made possible through recent donations taking us to our PHP 1 million target. Thanks everyone! The photographs show the deep water well, setting out the boundary wall and site regrading works. It’s so exciting to see our key project taking shape. The next newsletter should show some completed construction!



 

Re-thinking our Vision and Mission

Up until the recent board meeting in February our stated objective was to provide homes for children who have lost parental care. That main objective still remains of course, but having now worked in the local community for the last 4 years, we realise that we can also use some of our funds effectively to assist many children who are unable to attend school due to extreme poverty or neglect. Also, our annual Christmas event for children in poor communities has grown into a major undertaking. Our event in December 2016 brought smiles to over 300 disadvantaged children.

Taking into account, our additional activities, we have amended our vision and mission to be:

  • to provide support to children in need, through

  • providing family-style, loving homes to children who have lost parental support through death or illness, being abandoned or being removed from parental care by the authorities due to abuse;

  • providing financial and other support to children to allow them to return or continue with full-time education when at risk of losing their access to education

  • bringing joy to children in poor communities through our program of special events such as the annual Christmas party.


Christmas Event 2016

This was our biggest and best event yet. We had a fantastic volunteer turnout leading up to the event and on the day itself, which helped to make at least 450 children happy. We received around US$ 1,500 in donations specifically for the event, but also many helped out by providing toys and gift wrap.

This was a real community effort, and as you will see from the photographs below, both young and old came together to help. This is what Balay Dalangpan loves - getting people together to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children. The local media gave us some good coverage too, with Judith and Rosemarie interviewed on local radio to report on the event.  

 
 

What’s Next?

We now have funds to complete the boundary wall and gate, and this work will take around 6 months to complete. While that is going on we will redouble our fundraising efforts so that we can start the construction of our first homes soon after that. We need around PHP 4 million (US$ 80,000) per home, so don’t be surprised if you see various fundraising campaigns launched soon to help us reach that target.  

As always, we are indebted to our many supporters. Every dollar or peso received really does make a difference.

Please continue to spread the word. We need all the help we can get to turn Felisa Children’s Village from a dream into reality.
 
The Balay Dalangpan Team
 


 



 



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Dear Supporters and Friends,

2016 has been an interesting year for us in the Philippines so far, with a change of President, and a lot more international media coverage than the Philippines usually receives. We fully support the government’s new focus on providing more efficient and effective government services aimed at helping the poorer sectors of society, but the sad reality is that it is going to take many years before the lives of disadvantaged children noticeably improves. Many thousands of children continue to live below the poverty line, do not receive an education, and have lost all parental support through being orphaned or abandoned. The need for a facility like the Felisa Children’s Village near Bacolod is as strong as ever.

During 2016, we have moved closer to the start of construction for our first children’s village. Our architects have been working hard to develop designs which are acceptable to the planning authorities and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). This has proved more difficult than we had envisaged, with a large number of authority requirements being incorporated into the designs. Even as we write this newsletter the designs we have produced will require further approval by the authorities, but we are at a point where we can share our designs with our donors, as any further changes will be minimal.

The latest site layout plan is shown below. The proposed layout still incorporates 6 children’s homes, each able to accommodate up to 12 children in family-style units, but we are now required to include an extended management and administration building, and a multi-purpose hall which can be used by children for joint indoor activities, but also as a training centre for staff and as a facility for the wider community.

pic1  

In accordance with our original vision, we have managed to maintain our objective of providing a sustainable, green development with a large vegetable garden used to feed the children, planting of additional trees, an ongoing study of the use of solar power panels to reduce electricity costs and a wind powered pump to drive the deep water well.

The visualisations below show a typical house and the administration building. pic2   pic3

To conform with DSWD requirements the facility must be surrounded by a secure boundary wall. The wall itself is around 220m in length, and is therefore quite expensive, with current estimates looking to be around PHP 1 million (USD 22,000). We are therefore looking for an additional fundraising push over the next few weeks to raise this additional amount. As usual, we are looking to our friends and supporters to spread the word, hold fundraising events and dip into their generous pockets to help us reach this latest fundraising target.

As always, we are indebted to our many supporters, to whom we are enormously grateful. Every dollar or peso received really does make a difference. We continue to operate and manage Balay Dalangpan with zero management and administration costs, because it is entirely run by volunteers and founding members who provide their time and premises free of charge, and who never charge us for their expenses.

Thanks for your continued support. Yours, The Balay Dalangpan Team
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Dear Supporters and Friends,

2015 ended on a positive note. We have finally appointed AB Architectual Designs of Bacolod as our lead architect for the planning and design of our first facility in the Philippines: the Felisa Children's Village, Bago, Negros

While we are planning our first children's home we also spent time with local street children within our office vicinity. They enjoyed being taught basic personal hygiene (and owning their first personal toothbrushes!) as well as learning to be more tolerant and considerate of each other. Many of these children have little or no parental guidance or care in their lives.

By the end of the year, after 6 months of feeding, teaching, sending them to school and singing together, they have become magically transformed - gone are the dirty kids, who would roam our street from dawn until dusk. Of course we invited our new friends to a Christmas party to celebrate their transformation.

GP2015

A special mention must go to three brothers, who after two years of missing school, are now beaming with pride to be now back in full-time education, despite the challenges they face everyday from their lack of parental care and guidance. These boys and their friends know that they will always be welcome at the Balay office.

Loremases

Our other big Christmas event was the party for 200 of Bacolod's poorest kids from Banago, one of the poorest communities in Bacolod. This was the 20th year that Balay's founding members hosted a Christmas party for the underprivileged children, and this was our biggest event ever.

Christmas2015 area

The children ranged from age 4 to 11. They were simple adorable and so very well behaved.

Banagopic   We thank all our supporters for the special donations of gifts and food which allowed us to make this party a reality. In our next newsletter we will be able to share the first designs of our village from our newly appointed architect. Thanks as always to our many supporters, to whom we are enormously grateful. Every dollar received really does make a difference.   Yours, The Balay Dalangpan Team  
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Our Christmas gift-giving to the street children in December 2014 had many firsts. For the first time in 20 years, two founders had the majority of their families involved in Balay’s annual event. A first too for children to wrap their own pre-loved toys to share with their less fortunate peers. In Balay’s two decades of gift-giving tradition, for the first time, we have children  work so hard in the preparation and distribution of the food and other children's goodies and presents for  giving to other kids  so they too may enjoy the spirit of Christmas 🙂 Another first was  for us to have been honoured with the support of  friends from overseas, who came to the Philippines for the Christmas holidays, laden with hand carried goodies for distribution at Balay's gift giving. We were especially blessed as well with extra helping hands, aside from our long time "labourers for love", for the cooking and packing of food  for at least 150 children.  And what a joy to have a talented photographer who, though was in the Philippines only for the holidays, took  time to painstakingly take photos so we may  share our glee in pictures with Balay supporters all over the world! And so Balay's Christmas 2014 Event was special in such a way that it was a prelude to what is to come - something that is larger than all of us put together.  What is to come is a result of the working together of adults and children for others, for a better future, a better life!
cooking for love

cooking for the love of at least 150 children is not an  easy feat!

A long time labourer of love with extra helping hands

A long time labourer of love with extra helping hands

     
Extra hands from a family is a great blessing for Balay

Extra hands from a family is a great blessing for Balay

                4              
Can there be a prettier Christmas picture, when adults and kids work together to bring happiness  to less privileged children?

Can there be a prettier Christmas picture, when adults and kids work together to bring happiness to less privileged children?

And children working so hard to make other kids happy :) Isn't that cool?

And children working so hard to make other kids happy 🙂 Isn't that cool?

12 14 6 8       7         BD9
And when you see faces light up with delight, that of both the giver and receiver, then you know it was worth it,,,,,, every second of your time and effort! :) :) :)

And when you see faces light up with delight, that of both the giver and receiver, then you know it was worth it,,,,,, every second of your time and effort! 🙂 🙂 :

BD4         BD13     BD2BD6                
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A regular donor had painstakingly collected these hotel toiletries during his stay in a company-paid hotel overseas. He said he would look forward to the cleaner's daily visit to his room so that he can set some toiletries aside for the children who may need them. IMG_1176 So the students of poor families who the stuff eventually ended with were told to keep this thought - there are people out there who do care for them, who care enough to help them, in whatever way they can, do well in life.
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