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.
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.
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