“In the Eyes of a Child, A Vision of Hope”


(Basic 10 – Inspire your Audience / CC Manual, Jul. 4, 2006, ON Semi - Technical Audience)

INTRODUCTION

Just a few weeks ago, school started for the year 2006-2007.  Is there anybody here who has kids in school?  Yes?  RJ, how many kids do you have in school?  Anybody else?  Doris, how many kids do you have in school.  Well, I have 4 kids in school.  I have one in Kindergarten, one in the Fourth Grade and 2 kids in High School.  As some of the parents here know, spending for kids education in this country has become increasingly difficult.  And to think, we, who are gainfully employed are the lucky ones.  In the opening of classes this year, we heard again, the usual gripes of many public school teachers and parents alike - not enough classrooms, not enough school buildings, not enough teachers.  Not enough of anything to educate the Filipino child.

NEWS - STATISTICS

In the news, we read that more and more parents transfer their kids from private to public schools, thus even putting more strain on an already burdened public school system.  The poor don’t really have a choice but to go to public schools.  But did you know that our public schools don’t really give free education?  While the public schools don’t charge tuition, it’s really up to the parents to pay for the “hidden costs” of enabling their children to go to school like: uniforms, school supplies, food and transportation allowance and many others.  This situation is further amplified in far-flung barangays in the countryside, in remote islands and provinces. 

How do you expect a child to go to a public school that’s several kilometers away with no public transportation and with no pair of shoes?  How do you expect a child to go to a public school if this child is sick or has severe dental problems or is too hungry to wake up early?  Well, the typical poor family would rather spend the money on food rather than on these “hidden costs” of education.  And the results are very alarming.Consider the statistics from the Department of Education:

Out of 100 kids enrolled in primary school, 67 of them finish it.

  • 66 of these manage to enter into High School, but only 45 finish it.
  • Of those who finish High School, only 26 enter College, and out of these 26, only 7 finish College.
  • Only 1 of these comes from a poor family.  It is very sad, indeed.

WORLDVISION – WHAT IS IT?

And that is where an international organization called World Vision comes into the picture.  World Vision here in the Philippines is in partnership with Department of Health and other health institutions and LGU’s to ensure children’s health through education, regular medical and dental check-up and the rehabilitation of third degree malnourished children.  Development of children is promoted by rendering educational assistance. There are presently more than 90,000 sponsored children under this program. Elementary and high school children are provided school supplies and uniforms.  College students are given transportation and lodging allowances and tuition fees.  World Vision also assists in the repair of school buildings and construction of day-care centers, libraries and other facilities.

The first time I heard of World Vision was many years ago from a local radio station where I learned that for, 450 pesos a month, or 15 pesos a day, you can sponsor a poor child’s education and health needs.  I’ve heard over the radio some of the testimonials of sponsors, many of them celebrities.  There were even testimonials of sponsored children and how they greatly benefited from this program.  Now, I’m not exactly a big fan of the talk show host Kris Aquino, but when I learned she took time to sponsor not 1, not 2 but 20 children, I was impressed.  I must admit, my respect for her rose by a notch higher – not as an actress though, but as a real person – a real person like you and me.

JOINING WORLD VISION

A couple of years ago my wife and I were in a nearby mall and came across a small booth with the name World Vision on top.  The booth was rather bare except for a few posters and many folders on a table with pictures in them similar to this (show picture folder) They are called picture folders.  The attendant of the booth approached me.  He’s name is Noynoy and he was kind, never pushy and discussed what World Vision is all about and how it operates.  Now at that time, it was just so coincidental that my wife and I were thinking of cancelling our cable tv subscription.  I have kids who have so much homework that TV has become more of a distraction.  So what better way to put the money saved from cable TV than towards the education and health of a poor child.  And with that decision, I have been a child sponsor, ever since to a girl named Liezel Payawal from Zambales.

After becoming a sponsor, I learned that World Vision actually encourages communication between the sponsor and the child.  World Vision has a small handbook (show handbook) of some guidelines in this regard.  The handbook shows what to say, how to visit your sponsored child, how you can send gifts and many others.  Through the years, I’ve sent letters to my sponsored child via email to World Vision and in return, my sponsored child, Liezel, wrote letters about her life and her school activities and even sent pictures.  This is facilitated by World Vision’s community workers.  She was particularly happy during Christmas time when I sent her gifts like shoes, clothes and toys through World Vision.

SUCCESS STORIES

There have been many success stories through World Vision sponsorships.  In this World Vision magazine (show magazine) is Lt. Arman Balilo.  Arman grew up impoverished in the slums of Caloocan City.  Later he became a World Vision sponsored child. The road to success has not been easy but now, he is a high ranking officer in the Philippine Coast guard and an inspiration to his loved ones and to his former poor community.  In turn, he too is now sponsoring 2 kids from Palawan. Many success stories.

World Vision volunteers are currently on a mall tour and I believe they have a booth in SM Megamall until July 20, so if you’re in the area, do drop by and visit.  The volunteers are never pushy and are very friendly and helpful.  Or if you just want more information, you may call them at 372-7777.  It isn’t Shakey’s Pizza, alright?  But World Vision at 372-7777 or log on to their site at www.worldvision.org.ph Just a disclaimer, I’m not connected in any way with World Vision other than as a child sponsor.  I’m not paid to do endorsements for World Vision, although I wish I was.  Visit them, call them or make an inquiry.  Who knows you too may share your life’s blessings and make a difference to the life of a child.  And on that note, I’d like to tell you a story.

THE STARFISH STORY

There once was a an old man, who had a habit of going to the beach every morning.  He went there to enjoy the view and seek inspiration for his writings as he was also a writer.  One morning, he saw the figure of a boy near the shoreline bending and then stretching, bending and stretching very fast.  He approached the boy and saw that the boy was picking up starfishes on the beach and throwing them out to the sea.  The old man said to the boy.  “Hi there, what are you doing?”.  The boy answered.  “Well sir, the tide has gone away and there are starfishes left on the beach.  Soon, the sun will be high and these starfishes will die.”  And the boy continued picking up and and throwing starfishes back to the sea in rapid succession.  The old man could not believe what he heard and then stopped the boy.  He said “Young man!  Do you realize this beach is several miles long and there are hundreds, if not thousands of starfishes lying on the beach?"  They are all doomed to die. What you are doing won’t possibly make a difference!It will not make a difference.” The boy, still clutching one starfish, looked up to the old man and said “Well, it will make a difference for this one.”  And with all his strength, he threw the starfish back to sea.  The old man was touched by what the little boy said which was so innocent yet so profound.  The old man chased the boy and happily joined him picking up starfishes and throwing them back to the sea.  You know, you can be that little boy.  You too can make a difference… but this time to the life of a child.

There’s a World Vision statement that goes like this: “You cannot change the world, but you can change the life of a child.”  “Your gift today will change a child’s life…forever”…  Toastmaster of the Day.