As the 2015-2016 school year comes to a close in the Philippines, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on what you helped accomplish as well as share with you hope for the future.
A CALL TO KINDNESS IN ACTION
After 20 years of working in the world of Child Soldiers and 100 plus years of having a presence in SE Asia, we have learned that years of patience and perseverance can reap a harvest in an instant! This is exactly what happened recently in Myanmar (Burma). Significant political and economic shifts have taken place in the country. Now, a critical moment in time has opened − and, it requires our swiftest response. We thank you for the support you have already been to the children. We also understand that many of you want to hear when one of those opportune moments crest. This is one of those moments of favor that I ask you to please join me in.
Opportunity Report: Shan States, Myanmar (Burma)
Shan State Child Soldier Home
Military personnel had recently burned down the church building of the local folks who partner with us. These same soldiers dropped 50 child soldiers at our home and ordered we keep them for 3 years and return them to the army. The average age of these children is 10-12 years old. As I am writing you, we are negotiating for guardianship of these children through their high school years. We know all 50 kids will not stay with us the entire time…but many of them will and lives will be changed. This situation has been at red alert for about 3 weeks; negotiations tend to be lengthy and sticky.
North Children’s Center
This week, 25 new children, plus parents and relatives, came to our North Shan State Children’s Center. We are currently at capacity there, so we fed them and attempted to send them home. But they refused to leave. The parents are deeply anxious not just for the education opportunity for their children at our new school. They are also desperate because their children are on the army register. This means they are scheduled for conscription.
Once the new 120-child facility is completed, it will more than triple the capacity of our current school on site. Schools are highly strategic in our approach − they offer protection for the children by keeping them out of military training. Schools decrease a child’s vulnerability to be counted as “expendable”. Education makes them valuable assets to armies, local governments and business leaders.
Through a lengthy negotiation (which amounts to a long community discussion) we were able to secure the 10 poorest and youngest children a place in our school. The choices were hard for our team. They have had to deal with being over crowded and under funded for a very long time. They know tough decisions are necessary. Both the staff and the children currently living in the home were included in the decision making process. All were willing to sacrifice the amount of food received and bed space available to make room for the new children. I love the heart they have shown yet it pains me at that same time!
This is where you come in! The call to action is for our community to step in and help us fill the gap.
The beginning of the form looks like the one attached and here is what can be covered:
$28 is our education scholarship.
$47 is food, basic care, and staffing
$75 covers the entire cost
**Please consider giving the minimum of $28 per month.
**In the “leave a comment” box, please mention you are wanting:
“to support one of the new children.”
When we can, we will send you an update on the children. We are so truly grateful to you, our friends and community, for the many years you have partnered with us.
Footnote: Key partners on these projects worthy of mention from the past several years have been: Rescue The One - USA, Be a Hero - Canada, Hope for the Nations - Canada, The Freedom Project - Australia, Ora International - Germany.
A sense of justice isn't a fad. It isn't a temporary emotion. It starts deep in our personal values, way down in our guts. It pierces the way we live our lives.
I have recently learned that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Many times it is an unassuming personality that makes the most impact. As I sat in a coffee shop in Manila with my new friend "Peter", I realized I was sitting with one of these quiet heroes.