A poor family of seven is being featured in the TV program that I am watching. Hannah comes near and I pat the place beside me, inviting her to join me. We watch as the kids, aging somewhere between 8 years old and a barely 2-year old baby, eat some instant noodles with rice, right there on the floor of their 6′ x 6′ or so shanty. I look at Hannah who is intently watching and I tell her softly, “You realize how blessed we are. I want you to appreciate that and be thankful always.”
We watch some more, then gently tell her this, “Would you want to save up all your allowance from now ’til Christmas and donate the sum to UNICEF in your name?”
After our Bible study a week ago where she lay on my lap silently crying, we had agreed that she will be sharing some of her clothes, toys, books, shoes and bags to poor children this Christmas. We had arranged that she would be collecting them, including Tim’s, into a big box. We had also discussed that she would be buying food from the grocery store to add to their box. She had excitedly agreed to the arrangement.
Now, I remind her again to donate all her saved allowance to UNICEF (the organization I have been ardently supporting even before I got married), together with my Christmas gift to the children supported by them, separate from the regular quarterly donation. And she nods “yes”. What she can save and share from her allowance is not much. It’s like a drop in the ocean – a few pesos to help a country with widespread poverty. But my purpose is this: I want to open my child’s eyes and heart to the poor in this country where we live. I want her to develop deep compassion for them.
In our country, one doesn’t have to walk too far to see them scattered everywhere, in squatter colonies in the city, and mostly in rural areas. And since this is almost a common sight, one could easily develop a familiarity that could lead to plain indifference.
(photo source: Philippine Institute of Development Studies)
So, what’s stuffed in your stocking this Christmas? Maybe the gift of education for one poor child who is dreaming for a bright future?
(above 2 photos from UNICEF)
In the UNICEF 2011 diary, we read this:
Opening doors through education
How UNICEF inspires life-long change
[Education] ends generational cycles of poverty and disease, encourages young people to adopt healthy lifestyles and provides a foundation for sustainable development.
For UNICEF, education is a fundamental, non-negotiable goal:
- Education is a human right.
- Education enhances lives.
- Education paves the way to a successful future.
With your help, UNICEF will work tirelessly to provide a high-quality education – not just for some children, but for all.
Quality education is the right of every child. However, in the Philippines, 3 million school-age children are still not attending school.
The gift of education can make a world of difference for children. Be a UNICEF champion for children today.
Did you know that you can send 8 children back to school, each with a school bag and supplies for only PhP 500 monthly donation? Or, you can help provide 1 classroom of day care pupils with educational toys and storybooks for only PhP 750 monthly donation? To find out more on how UNICEF works to achieve quality education for children and how you can help, visit www.unicef.ph.
It is easy not to really see even when we look upon them. It is easy to turn the deaf ear. But there is a priceless gift that comes with giving. When one gives meaning to a child’s life, one gains a meaningful life in return.
For more news on poverty in the Philippines, click here (site of Philippine Institute of Development Studies).
Also participating with:
Journey with Jesus,