Christmas and special events
In 1996 one of our founding members held a fairly hastily arranged afternoon party to celebrate Christmas with around 15 street children for whom Christmas as most of us know it did not exist. That simple act of handing out food and playing a few games brought smiles and happiness to those young faces. Since that first year, an ever-growing band of volunteers has held a Christmas event for disadvantaged children each year.
With the help of family, friends and volunteers the Christmas party soon grew to bring smiles to more than a hundred faces each year. It has become quite an event in Bacolod. It was from these small seeds that the concept of creating a local foundation to support disadvantaged children grew, and eventually in 2013, Balay Dalangpan was born as a fully registered foundation.
In recent years the Christmas events have become much larger. In 2015 we held a Christmas celebration for over 200 children in Banago, one of the poorer communities in Bacolod, and in 2016 we catered for 350 children. 2016 was the 20th consecutive year that Balay Dalangpan’s founding members hosted a Christmas party for underprivileged children. A big thanks goes to our regular army of unpaid volunteers, young and old, and all those who donate gifts, food and money each year to make these parties a reality.
In 2017, we extended the types of events that support. We worked with a like-minded NGO and other volunteers to help fund the costs of an educational camp for disadvantaged children. The 5-day camp used structured games and role play to teach children in areas aimed at improving Attitude, Skills and Knowledge. Some of the sessions focus on teaching basic life skills, whilst others cover important safeguarding areas such as children’s rights, human trafficking, respect for the environment, and health and safety. For most of these children, this is their only opportunity to get away from home and for many it is their only chance to get a glimpse of what getting an education is like. The camps are great fun for all. In the future we will be involved in supporting more educational camps, perhaps one each year.