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A Filipino Teacher Looks Back at His Sponsorship Experience

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Posted on 12/1/2015

Larry, 23, is a teacher at a private high school in the Philippines and the president of a youth association in his community. He was sponsored through ChildFund and attended programs at a local partner organization, Community’s Hope and Initiative for Lasting Development Inc. (CHILD Inc.), in the Western Visayas. Children from this region face many challenges, including malnutrition and pressure to drop out of school to work. Here is Larry’s story, in his own words.

 

Larry

Larry is a former sponsored child who now teaches English at a private high school.

My unforgettable journey with ChildFund, its local partner, and my sponsor, Catherine, began 15 years ago.

In all of those years, Catherine never failed to support me every step of the way. Even though I haven’t met her, nor was she in the habit of writing, I always knew she had my back, because of her ceaseless support. I hope she’s proud of what I’ve made of myself so far.

Beyond my need to stay in school, ChildFund helped me discover what I wanted the most: to share my blessings with others. I didn’t have much in the way of material goods, but from what I learned from participating in ChildFund’s activities, I learned I could still share with others.

I remained involved in ChildFund’s programs until graduating from high school, and one thing I learned about was psychosocial support for children. The local partner, CHILD Inc., trains trainers who can look after the immediate emotional needs of children after an emergency.

In 2011, I was chosen to join the first batch of trainers and soon found the opportunity to test what I learned when flash floods from Typhoon Washi (locally known as Sendong) claimed more than 1,000 lives and demolished entire communities in my province in December.

There was no shortage of children in the dozens of evacuation centers that sprouted after the typhoon, and ChildFund called on us to help them. My own home was not very badly affected by the typhoon, thankfully, so I was free to devote my efforts to other young people. The experience was tiring, but it was rewarding to see the first smiles on children’s faces since the typhoon hit. The children created artwork that helped them discuss their experiences, along with their ambitions in life. It also saddened me to discover and share their pain, as they opened up to us about their feelings.

ChildFund invited me to a lot of training seminars, which made me more aware of their plans for the community. These activities honed my skills and developed me into the person I am today. I joined an advocacy newsletter project and became editor in chief. This directly influenced my desire to pursue a teaching career.

ChildFund also sent me to national conferences, where I was able to meet fellow youth leaders from all over the Philippines. I discovered their cultures and traditions as I interacted with them. I was amazed how well children and youth were able to articulate local issues and concerns, as well as assembling response plans.

Now that I’m employed and contributing to my family’s livelihood, I remain involved in ChildFund’s activities. I participate in the local partner’s Special Children Outreach for Rehabilitation (SCORe) program, and I volunteer with the sponsorship program.

My heart’s filled with gratitude for my kind and generous sponsor, Catherine, for her unceasing support, and for ChildFund, for molding me into what I am now.