Dear Supporters and Friends,

We have had a wonderful end to 2017 and a great start to 2018, thanks to the fantastic generosity of our many donors. This has helped us to start construction of our main project, the Children’s Village, hold our biggest Christmas event ever bringing smiles to around 700 children, and keeping 28 disadvantaged children in school through our education support programs. As all of our regular supporters know, we are a small charity set up with one overriding principle in mind – to keep our administration and management costs as close to zero as possible, so that every small amount donated really makes a difference to children’s lives. We achieve this by the hard work of the trustees who fill the roles which in many charities are covered by paid staff. For those interested, this newsletter also gives an update on our finances for 2017, and you will see that we have kept unavoidable overhead and administration charges down to just 3% of donations received. These costs cover such things as auditing and submission of statutory accounts in the Philippines.

Special Events Update
At the end of 2017 we set ourselves an ambitious target of raising sufficient funds to hold a Christmas party for 400 disadvantaged children from poor families in an area called Barangay 35 in Bacolod. Unbelievably, the money just kept pouring in this year as our supporters from Bacolod and around the world dug deep into their pockets in a tremendous outpouring of Christmas spirit, and our fundraising targets were exceeded by around 50%. This allowed us to hold the planned Christmas Party on 23 December, but we were also able to hold two further gift-giving events for another 300 children. The Christmas events included a number of firsts including an appearance by Santa Claus, dance performances by teenage groups drawn from poor communities, and a solo-singing performance by a former child labour victim. As always we were blessed by a wonderful group of volunteers, young and old, who worked tirelessly before and during the events to make them a success.
 During early 2018, the Board of Trustees agreed to widen its support of special events to work alongside other local NGOs to fund other events which bring joy to poor children, but which also help with children’s development and learning. Therefore, we have widened our support to a local summer sports event for children, which is ongoing at the time of writing this newsletter, and a summer camp which uses role play and games to teach children respect for others, the environment and other essential life skills.

 

Our Revised Goals and Updated Website

As reported in our previous newsletter, with the additional board members coming into the foundation during 2017, we had the opportunity to review our vision and mission. Our support programs to disadvantaged children now fall into three restructured categories:

  1. to bring joy, development and learning to the children of poor communities by sponsoring special events,
  2. to provide and operate family-styled homes for orphaned, abandoned or abused children, and
  3. to help provide an education for children from severely disadvantaged families.

Our website at balaydalangpan.org has now been restructured and given a makeover to suit our three focus areas. Our ‘make-a-donation’ page has also been updated to allow easy donations in multiple currencies, either as single one-off donations or as a monthly commitment.

Construction of Children’s Village – Update

At around this time last year, we announced the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of our Children’s Village. It is fair to say we have had a few problems with finding good contractors at a reasonable price due to the construction boom that is happening in Bacolod. After a few abandoned high-priced tenders and starts with contractors who did not perform well, we decided to adopt a model of employing a supervisor, some trade foremen and labour from the local community to undertake site re-grading and construction of the boundary wall. We purchased all construction materials and equipment ourselves, thus further saving on costs. This contracting model resulted in us saving at least 30% compared to using a general contractor, so we are very pleased with the outcome. At the time of writing this newsletter, the 220m boundary wall is almost complete. A gate has already been ordered and will be fitted within the next month, giving us a secure site for the first time.

Next steps are to connect an electricity supply and construct a septic tank in readiness for the first phase of buildings, which will include the small office/admin building and our first home. At that point, we will of course start operations, taking in our first 12 children. The speed at which we can achieve this depends entirely on contributions from our donors. We need to raise around 5m peso (US$ 96,000) to get to the point where we can open our doors to our first disadvantaged children.

Education Support Program – Update

2017 was a very successful first year for our #BeAChild’sBetterFutureBuilder program. A million thanks to all of you who contributed to sending 25 children to school, who without your support would inevitably have slipped back into child labour.

The program was designed to support ex-child workers with transport and school expenses so they could return or not drop out of full time education. During the early days of the program it became clear that some children were missing school because of a lack of food at home (particularly rice which is the staple in the Philippines). We therefore re-evaluated the distribution of our financial support to address this issue, increasing the focus on our livelihood assistance support to children’s parents. This resulted in regular rice on family tables and a reduced reliance on outside support by improving self-sufficiency. This was achieved by helping the parents to start a small rice-retailing business, which is now doing well and providing a small income for those families involved.

We started the program in October 2017, part way through the school year, which was completed in March 2018.  The chart shows how your donations of PHP 86,700 (US$1,670) were spent over the support period. This equates to an average of only US$12 per child per month at school! A little really does go a long way in the Philippines! The new Philippines school year starts soon in early June and our target this school year is to save around 50 children from dropping out of school through our education support program, so we need to raise around US$6,000 to make that happen. Our revised donation page on the website allows you to direct your money specifically to this cause if you wish to do that. Remember, just US$12 enables a child born into extreme poverty to attend school.

We must also mention our local partner NGO, CAJDEN, who have great experience working in this area, and who have helped us with identification of recipient children, careful disbursement of funds, establishment of livelihood programs for parents and ongoing monitoring and evaluation with recipient communities and schools. We are in awe of their incredible hard work and dedication.

2017 Financial Update

During 2017, our income from donations and bank interest totalled US$18,160. The split between donation causes and general donations is shown below. Total outgoings totalled US$14,138 with much of the investment during the year going towards our main project, the Children’s Village. Balay Dalangpan’s total assets at the end of 2017 stood at US$41,116. Summary charts of our financial position for 2017 are shown below.

What’s Next?

 One of our many goals in 2018 is to set up a fully registered charity in the UK to improve international visibility; to gain better access to international and UK-based funding mechanisms such as crowd-funding websites, and to enable us to obtain tax credits on UK contributions. Hopefully, we will have some positive news on this in our next newsletter.

Thanks again everyone for your wonderful support. Together we can make a difference.

The Balay Dalangpan Team

 

Caring is Sharing: