Archive for the ‘bacolod’ Category

Growing up with ICM – Every Kid can make a Difference

Story by Tess Lyons, ICM Donor Services & Interview by Stella Schapero, ICM Manila Board of Advisors

ICM’s 2007 banquet was the beginning of Stella, Joel and Jacob Schapero’s involvement with ICM.  Stella and Joel realized they wanted to get their family involved with the Philippines and the ICM Banquet provided them an opportunity. Stella recalls, “When the pre-school program was introduced, we just looked at each other and knew immediately it was for us. It was a good time to get involved in initiatives targeting the poor in the Philippines, and to expose our son, Jacob, too.”  That is how they started sponsoring an ICM kindergarten, which was named the Jacob Schapero Kindergarten.

Over the last six years since that 2007 banquet, the Schapero’s have visited the Jacob Schapero Kindergarten at least 10 times. The first visit wasn’t so easy on young Jacob. Stella remembers “Jacob initially reacted with trepidation and then horror that people were living in such seemingly deplorable conditions. However, quickly he became more empathetic and thought of simple ways to help, for example, soliciting various dental hygiene supplies and commodities for the preschool kids.”

The Jacob Schapero Kindergarten has provided Jacob the opportunity to explore and learn social responsibility. Jacob organizes the donation and delivery of tooth paste and toothbrushes to the school,  as well as the Kindergarten’s Christmas party.  And most recently, he solicited a reconditions laptop from a charity at his school for the community pastor who was delighted and amazed.

Stella shares her insights on the effect the family’s long term involvement with the Jacob Schapero Kindergarten has had on Jacob, “ICM has grounded him somewhat, allowing him to appreciate what he has, as well as motivating him to find ways to assist impoverished people.”

During the summer of 2013, Jacob used his videography talents to share his involvement with ICM and to encourage others to become involved. Using a title many teens can identify with, “View from a messy bedroom,” Jacob shares how the Jacob Schapero Kindergarten has woven itself into his family and the impact that being involved in ICM has made on him.

Thank you, Jacob, for this video, your impact on the lives of hundreds of children. You are making a difference.

View from a Messy Bedroom by Jacob Schapero

 

ICM Chairman in Typhoon Affected Area

In the days since the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, ICM has risen to respond to the needs of the victims. With three out of eight ICM regions part of the affected zones, we have been able to deliver immediate aid to the needy, and are beginning to implement longer-term strategies that will help rebuild communities.

ICM Chairman David Sutherland landed in Negros Occidental yesterday morning, a province that was heavily hit by the typhoon. He brought a team to deliver food and water and assess the damage. ICM has 2.5million meals on the ground in the Philippines, with tens of thousands already distributed. “We saw a number of homes that were destroyed by the typhoon,” describing the situation as “shocking”.

Some houses in this region were spared from the destruction because of the bravery of local men. Staying in their homes while their wives and children evacuated, these men put themselves at great danger. Many tied their homes to the ground with rope and pegs, and managed to save them. But still thousands of families in the region have lost their homes.

ICM teams have been going out every day this week to deliver food, water, medicine, and also talk to the local communities about how we will support them in future. Pastor Dan, Area Head of Negros Occidental explained the ongoing need for food and water; “Most of these people are fishermen and their boats have been destroyed. Or their nets need repair. So many of them have had no income since the storm and are very hungry.”

Besides the lack of food, many communities’ water supply has been cut off. The deep wells where locals draw their water rely on electricity, and with no clear indication whether power will be restored before January, people are desperately trying to find clean drinking water. ICM is exploring the idea of using generators to power wells. One small generator could bring water to an entire community.

As David and the group left the community, it started to rain again. Michal, ICM’s videographer describes the situation “As we were running towards our van to get shelter from the storm, I couldn’t stop thinking of those who won’t have a place to hide tonight.”

Immediate help is still very much needed, but ICM does not want to forget about long-term answers to the daily struggles that hundreds of thousands of people face. “Lets not forget about the Filipinos when the media attention dies down,” says Michal. Please consider partnering with ICM today and donate to our Disaster Fund – www.caremin.com/our-work/disaster-fund

 

I DIDN’T HAVE ANY CLOTHES FOR THEM

Although rain from the coming typhoon was keeping the city of Bacolod wet, Roselia made her way to the ICM office anyway.  With two three month old babies in her arms, Roselia’s 13 year old son assisted her in and out of the tricycle.

Roselia is the first mother to receive ICMs new treatment package for maternal and newborn health care.  Her pregnancy was high risk because she was expecting twins; because of this she needed to deliver in a hospital and under caesarian section.  With the help of the ICM staff, she was enabled to do just that!

Part of the maternal and newborn health care pack involves identifying high risk pregnancies, assisting with getting access to necessary care, hand washing materials and the giving of baby clothes.  In Roselia’s case, it also involved receiving two baby blankets.

Marcia with Rose Jane ICM Midwife and Jane ICM Nurse, showing off some of the clothes Marcia has been making

That was the reason for her trip today, to meet the woman who had made the baby blankets, which were included in the pack ICM offered.  Roselia was so excited to meet Mrs. Marcia Turner, a 78 year old retiree from Australia, who spends her free time sewing baby clothes and blankets.  Marcia had helped Roselia and her family in such a simple but important way.  Roselia told us ‘After receiving the baby clothes, she felt very happy and it was very useful. At that time, I didn’t have any clothes for them.’

We asked Roselia what she would say to Marcia about making these clothes and she told us,  ‘Please continue to give so that other mothers can also benefit; the cost of having a caesarean section uses up all other money and they can’t afford any clothes.’

Thanks Marcia and keep sewing!

Marcia with Roselia and the twins

 

TOMS “One for One” Movement Reaches ICM Jumpstart Students

Sue Hamilton, ICM Volunteer Writer/Editor

The recent TOMS shoe drop to all ICM Bases in the Philippines was a cause for great excitement for many ICM recipients.  TOMS, a US-based shoe retailer, developed a “One for One” movement that has provided ten million new pairs of TOMS shoes to impoverished children in over 60 countries since 2006 simply by giving a poor child in need a new pair of shoes for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased by customers.  As TOMS recognizes, “Shoes help protect children’s feet from cuts, infections and diseases. When children are healthy, they can attend school, fight minor illnesses and grow up to reach their potential.”

Recently qualifying as a TOMS Giving Partner, ICM just received its first batch of 10,000 pairs of TOMS shoes to distribute to our recipients. ICM’s Jumpstart kindergarten students were thrilled! Most children in ICM’s impoverished areas rely on donations of second-hand shoes; new shoes are simply beyond their means.  Sandals and flip-flops are also common, but offer little comfort and no protection. For many of these children, this is the first pair of new shoes they have ever owned!”  - Reported by Mark Christopher Rosal, ICM Bacolod Communications Officer

We are excited to share a few of their stories with you:

Mrs. Kinab is a 46 year old mother of five children in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. She is the mother of Kinslee Sinangayan, a kindergarten student in the Tboli tribe village of Lake Seloton, Lakesebu South Cotabato. She joyfully expressed her thankfulness in receiving the new pair of shoes for her daughter.

“I could not afford to buy a pair of shoes for my daughter. Our money is only good for our daily needs like food. It is my daughter’s first time to wear shoes. It has been my desire to buy her one but I never got the chance to do so. Thank you ICM, Thank you TOMS shoes, my desire has been fulfilled through you!” said Mrs. Kinab.  - Reported by Jade A. Sumalinog, ICM Koronadal Communications Officer

 

Six-year-old Joshua Macadildig was born behind bars to a mother convicted of child mistreatment. Joshua was in foster care until the age of one when his grandmother Rosita was able to take him in and raise him.  At 60 years old, Rosita struggles to keep food on the table much less meet any of Joshua’s other needs.  Rosita relies on hand me downs and gifts from relatives to get by.  Joshua attends grade 1 at Estaka Elementary School in Dipolog City.  As a former ICM Jumpstart pupil attending Gumamela Learning Center in Bolicon Turno, Dipolog City, Joshua was eligible to receive a pair of TOMS shoes during the recent shoe drop. 

“I’m very thankful to TOMS and ICM,” says Rosita. “This may be just a pair of shoes, but for my grandson, it’s like treasure. We’re very poor and for us, a decent pair of shoes is a luxury.”  The huge smile on Joshua’s face when he tried his new shoes on for the first time said it all.” - Reported by Erica B. Gurdiel-Etbew, ICM Dipolog Communications Officer

Charly Balila is from a large family.  They only rely on his father’s small monthly income of P2,000 as a day laborer (US$46/month). This money is only allocated for food and other expenses like schooling (6 out of 8 children in the family were schooling); things like shoes were not given priority for the children. Charly’s mother, Doña was so grateful because four of her children received TOMS shoes. Charly is a Kindergarten recipient from Shining Stars Kindergarten and her siblings are ICM Elementary Scholar recipients.

 

“Thank you for the kind hearted organization like yours (TOMS) who is dedicated to help others in need” the mother said. “We will never repay your good deeds but surely this will help to inspire my children to study more and goes to school happily” she added. A shoe is just a simple thing but to those who hardly had this stuff, it is something. - Reported by Bernard Bocado, ICM GenSan Communications Officer

 

Six-year-old Jona Balasiw walks with his mother for more than an hour to get to school, crossing two rivers on the way. Sometime he doesn’t have any shoes to attend school so he doesn’t go. Because he walked barefoot to school with nothing to protect his feet, Jona has developed a skin disease that is noticeable on his lower legs and feet. This pair of TOMS shoes is so important to Jona.

Jona’s mother, Lailene said, “I am so glad that you have provided shoes for my child, Jona.  Thank you TOMS for giving us this gift!” - Reported by Rossengel B. Pareda, ICM GenSan Communications Officer

 

Journeying Together to Reach the Ultrapoor

It’s amazing to see people from the other side of the world join us on our journey to reach the ultrapoor in the Philippines.  Recently, Dale Sutherland, brother of ICM’s Chairman, David Sutherland, visited ICM for his 3rd time.  He brought with him a group of visitors from McLean Bible Church (MBC) in Washington DC to Bacolod City to visit many of the ICM slum communities and even a local prison.  Along with Dale, trip participants Joy Lippard and Joe Piorkowski were also already ICM supporters and got to experience what God is doing through ICM in a deeper way.

Photo: Dale and the team praying for the men in a local Bacolod prison, an opportunity that definitely made one of the biggest impacts on the team.

Friends United After 4 Years

Joy first visited the Philippines with McLean Bible Church on a Vision Trip back in 2009. During a trip to Dumaguete, Joy met Judilyn Yangco at the ICM Excel House (Judilyn’s Story & Judilyn’s Update).  Since then, they’ve kept in touch over the years with various different correspondences, but it wasn’t until this year that they were finally reunited in person. During their first night in Bacolod, Joy performed with Judilyn at a local Crusade event. Bless, from the ICM Children’s Choir, also accompanied the Duo with her guitar.

Photo: Bless, Joy and Judilyn after the performance.

In Bacolod, the MBC team was also reunited with the ICM Children’s Choir; several from MBC had hosted the Choir kids in their homes or attending one of their performances this April during the Choir’s USA Tour stop in Washington DC.  So when the team was invited to visit the Choir kids in their homes, they jumped at the opportunity. “Seeing Ronilyn and Gretchen’s house was pretty devastating.  I just kept thinking about how they were just at my house sleeping in a comfortable bed with pillows and sheets and meanwhile their reality is sleeping on a dirty floor every night. That was hard to take in,” says Joy.

Photo: Ronilyn and Gretchen outside their house.

Joy continues, “I’ve played and sung for a lot of audiences, but by far one of the most rewarding moments for me on the trip was singing in the middle of an alley way in a slum community surrounded by a captive audience of at least 30 kids.  Those are the people who are forgotten by the world but I believe are closest to God’s heart!”

A Profound Sense of Hope

As an ICM Transform Community supporter,  Joe Piorkowski says, “It was wonderful to be able to actually see and hear first-hand the stories of families whose lives have been changed in tangible and meaningful ways through ICM’s programs.”

Photo: Joe visiting a community in Cebu.

Joe continues, “Observing the depth and scope of the poverty and suffering among the ultra-poor in Bacolod with my own eyes was incredibly distressing.  For example, seeing a family of seven, mostly children, living in a modern-day dungeon — an unlit room the size of a small van – with large roaming rats sharing their tiny living space, was just shocking.”

“Ultimately,” says Joe, “I was left with a profound sense of hope because, despite the horrific conditions, I was able to see God’s Hand at work in caring for these precious people through ICM’s efforts.  Despite their circumstances, their eyes and their smiles reflected back the love they had received, and that they showed a deep sense of joy and peace based on their faith that God ultimately would provide for them.”

Photo: The MBC team visiting a community in Cebu.

Thank you, McLean Bible Church, for walking with us to reach out to the ultrapoor in the Philippines and share the love God has for them.

Royal Bank of Scotland

“I can’t say I came away from the trip feeling I’d had a ‘lovely’ time, it’s not a holiday; but I can come away from it saying I felt truly humbled and completely overwhelmed,” said Aimee.  Aimee and her co-worker, Yat Jing, from the Royal Bank of Scotland traveled down to Bacolod City to visit ICM’s programs and hand out Box of Hope gifts to children in our programs.

Aimee shares, “My decision to participate in the trip was not because I wanted to ‘change the world’ or to try and ‘find myself’ but more out of interest, to see how other people lived, to understand how a different culture viewed ‘giving’ and to maybe make some children feel happy! After the first hour of being in Bacolod you grow to love the place.”

It’s not somewhere for the easily shocked, as we discovered when invited to look at Angelito’s house, a mere shack which he shared with his family of 9. I saw a tiny boy standing next to his baby brother dangling in a rag from the roof beside him.

Arriving back in Hong Kong after the trip is quite surreal… there you are surrounded by huge skyscrapers, flash shopping malls and people head to toe in designer clothes, when only hours before you were watching children being fed at a malnutrition centre.  For the cost of one meal in a fancy restaurant, ICM are able to provide one child like Angelito a year of education. Now that’s food for thought! Through our corporate donation matching scheme I am able to partner with ICM to help 24 kids receive education.  And would I do the trip again? For sure!”

Yat Jing shares, “If there is one word to describe this trip, I would say it was ENRICHING.  Personally I returned to Hong Kong with a richer knowledge of International Care Ministries and Box of Hope, and a belief that indeed it is a privilege to help. I had an extremely rich life experience.

Bacolod houses the second largest slum in The Philippines. It was heart-wrenching to witness before our very own eyes a young boy, 8 years old living in a shack with no walls: totally exposed to the rain and  sun. Angelito lives with his family of 9 adjacent to a stinky and polluted swamp. He and his little brother were left unsupervised at the shack when we visited. Both his mum and dad were working, leaving the two babies suspended in hammocks all day. I noticed Angelito had a lovely disposition.

It dawned on me that despite being poor, the ICM recipients we met were happy, courteous and carried themselves. It is sad to see how underprivileged some are in this world. I was convicted of how important and pertinent education is to eradicating poverty. Early education to children and livelihood education to adults are equally important. Every one of us deserves a chance to perform when given the opportunity.

I was shocked to learn from ICM that only HKD280 per month can sponsor so many kids in Bacolod from early education to high school!  I salute the International Care Ministries staff who have such big hearts and passion.

Earthquake rocks Central Visayas

Dear ICM Friends,

Sorry to say that another natural disaster has struck the Philippines and this one also hit ICM’s target provinces. You may have heard in the news that a 6.9 magnitude earthquake shook the central island provinces of the Philippines yesterday morning, triggering landslides.  There have been hundreds of aftershocks. At least 43 bodies have already been recovered.

The earthquake was felt throughout many of the ICM target areas, including the areas around Bacolod, Dumaguete and Bohol and many of you have asked about the safety of our staff and programs. The experience was stressful for millions of people on these islands. People evacuated after tsunami warnings were issued. The aftershocks continued for more than a day, and people worried that buildings could collapse at any minute. But we are pleased to tell you that ICM’s staff, project partners and community recipients are safe.  It appears that the most serious damage was confined to a few mountain towns. ICM works in thousands of communities, so we are still gathering responses from our communities. So far we have confirmed that church buildings in four of our partner communities were destroyed. And we will be working to help these communities.  We feel grateful that most of our communities avoided the most serious damage in this round.

Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers for the poor in our areas. They are grateful for you too.

Dave Sutherland, ICM Chairman

Kennedy School Diaries: Pam Riordan

Pam Riordan is a teacher from HK’s Kennedy School.  She recently joined a group of parents and kids on an ICM vision trip to Bacolod, where she participated in building homes for slum residents.

“I didn’t know what to expect but was extremely excited.  On day one of visiting the slum, I realized exactly how little these gorgeous people have.  I hoped that I would be able to help them, even if only a tiny amount.  We cleared rubbish from the site, dug and laid the foundations of the houses, mixed cement, played and chatted with the children in the community, visited the preschool and taught a craft lesson. Visiting the simple family homes of the school children was totally an amazing experience – they all touched my heart and I found it very difficult to wave goodbye as we left the slum on the last day.  To see the children with no shoes on, carrying buckets of water and cement, and helping to build the next house in the community was a leaky eye moment for sure.  The glimmer of hope and the smiles on these children’s faces totally puts a busy Hong Kong life into perspective.

Pam with the children from the slum community where she built.

“I’ve traveled quite extensively and am not oblivious to communities like these – but to work with a group like ICM who are clearly making a difference to the lives of the poor people in the Philippines was a fulfilling experience that I hope to be a part of again and again in the future.  I am already planning my next trip to help with teacher training in the summer and I hope to combine this with shoveling some more cement and helping to build the next house too.  Best I crack on with keeping fit – but who would have thought mixing sand, cement, water and gravel could be so satisfying!

Thanks all at ICM who made this trip so fab!  Hats off to you all and I look forward to seeing you all again soon!”  - Pam Riordan

Hong Kong’s Kennedy School is a long-time supporter of ICM.  Students, parents and teachers have partnered with ICM to build houses in the slums, donate school supplies and hundreds of shoes to ICM’s Jumpstart kindergarten students and to host the ICM Choir at their school in Hong Kong.  Thank you for your encouragement and support.

Milestone for Red Rope: They’ve become an independent cooperative!

It looked just like any other Christmas Party in the Philippines – women and children playing games, eating sweets and singing songs.  But for the women of Red Rope, this was a very meaningful party. This was the first Christmas Party they had ever thrown at their own expense!  And second, this month Red Rope was certified by the Philippine government as an independent cooperative!

Red Rope is a handicraft livelihood initiative of ICM.  It started in 2006 when ICM-HK hoped to auction a handmade quilt at the 2nd HK ICM Banquet.  Twelve ICM recipients, formerly from the Precious Women Ministry (for women leaving prostitution), were commissioned to hand-sew the quilt.  It was beautiful and sold for HK$70,000 at the auction!

Now, 6 years later, Red Rope has become a self-supporting livelihood for 22 women, all of whom have been participants in an ICM program. Red Rope’s number one client is ICM, making all ICM’s Jumpstart school uniforms, ICM Teddy Bears and table prizes offered at ICM banquets.  Red Rope items are also sold at fairs in Hong Kong and offered for sale by ICM partner NGOs at venues in the USA.

ICM COO, Helen Turner, who was a guest at the Red Rope Christmas party, says, “What an honor it was to be invited.  The ladies beamed as they welcomed guests, even paying the taxi fares of those that arrived — for the first time able to give and not just receive.  It was a joy to celebrate with them!”

Photos by Heather Elliott, ICM Media Officer

Christmas Celebrations

Three ICM staff members, Annie Tapuz and Laila Natapol from the Bacolod office, and Heather Elliott, from ICM’s HK office, got into the spirit of celebration this Christmas by hosting several celebrations for different groups in Bacolod City.  In the Philippines, celebrations are an important part of the culture, creating unity and a sense of community for those who participate.  The poor are often excluded due to the cost involved.

The festivities began with a celebration with the ICM Children’s Choir and their families. The Choir first shared their Kennedy Center performance with their parents – for many of them it was the first time they’d seen it and Heather attested, “There was not a dry eye in the room.”  Afterwards, out came the food – Heather, Annie and Laila had prepared a traditional holiday feast that consisted of spaghetti, fried chicken, hotdogs with marshmallows, fruit salad & chocolate cake.  Next came the individually wrapped care packages for each of the 14 families with enough food for their Christmas dinner.

The celebration continued the next day at the ICM Excel House.  The Excel House is home to 18 children cared for by ICM.  Heather explained, “Over the last couple of years, the ICM orphanage has been truly blessed by the support of their donors.  So this Christmas they wanted to give back to other communities in need.  On Christmas Eve, the Excel Children hosted a Christmas party for children living in the surrounding slum communities, where they cooked them a Christmas Eve dinner and handed out an additional 54 care packages to take home.”

Irish, one of the Excel Kids, shared her excitement about the day’s events:  “In the morning we went to worship the Lord for giving us life to celebrate his birth and for the love he sacrificed at the cross.  We all prayed then exchanged and opened our gifts.  Then we ate our first Western-style meal.  Everyone was so excited to eat turkey for the very first time!  It looked yummy but when Auntie Ness cut it, she found out that it needed more cooking!  So we ate it later instead.  We did lots of dancing and eating.  Everyone had so much fun!  We thank God for giving us good health & lots of blessing!”

Photos by Heather Elliott, ICM Media Officer

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