It all began months ago when my mentor and business partner, Erny from Orchestrate Your Life spoke to me about her dream to feed the homeless kids in Asia. Her vision was clear and it was to give as much as possible till she grows old. As she was sharing her vision on giving back to the society, the thought of being part of it began. To be honest, I never knew exactly how I could help the world because I always felt that there was only so much I could do. I mean let's face it, how much can I possibly give to help? There are millions of people in need of help and it always make me feel that what I could contribute would be too small or insignificant. I decided that maybe giving back to the society was 'not for me'. I told Erny my views but she was determined to make it possible. There was a big question mark in both our heads when it came down to where to start and how to carry it out. Erny took the initiative to contact the founder of True Manila and another friend based in Philippines and expressed our intentions to help. Thank God for like-minded people who wants to help, they responded in no time. This is how our journey of giving started…
We started small by inviting Kaylene customers and family to help donate children’s clothes. Within days, Erny and I collected about 300 pieces of children clothes, shoes and toys. On top of that, we were extremely blessed to also receive 180 sets of brand new children clothes donated by Oceano. In a short span of time, we had more than 80kg worth of donated items to give the children in Philippines. Knowing that these children will also need food, my mentor and I forked out cash from our pockets and asked for additional cash donations from Oceano, Gen.K Jewelry as well as the Evers family. With the amount of donations received, we knew we were ready.
30th May 2019 – Erny and I headed to Philippines with no itinerary, just lots of donations and guidance from people with experience in this field. Despite being constantly worried and panicky about what may possibly go wrong during the trip, we decided to keep an open mind and go with the flow. The moment we landed in Philippines, we lugged our heavy luggages to meet Edwin from True Manila since he happened to be in town. Our fatigue could not beat the excitement to meet Edwin and the needy children of Philippines. It took a 4-hour car ride and bad traffic to finally meet the well-respected Edwin in person.
I would like to take this time to tell you more about Edwin. He is a famous actor in Philippines and on days when he has no filming, he helps less fortunate children by feeding, clothing and providing them emotional support. He made use of social media to gather help from all over the world for these children. He leads a simple life and hopes to give back as much as possible while he still can till he grows old just like Erny would. It was this one similarity between the both of them that made me conclude that they were a blessing from God. I personally felt the grace and love from God because he allowed us to help the children through this meeting.
Edwin is a man who believes in efficiency and upon meeting us in person, he quickly got the street kids (local homeless teenagers) and volunteers to help unload the donated clothes. Upon knowing that we had cash donations, he led us to buy food for these children. We walked into the back alleys where food stalls were and we had a chance to pack food for the children! Each kid we helped were given a packet of rice and fish or meat. Edwin stressed that while many thinks it is extravagant, it is important that these children eat healthily and grow up strong.
Edwin gathered the less fortunate locals to collect clothes for their children.
Braving the sweltering 40 degrees weather, we kept pushing our limits and stretched every last bit of energy we had left. Despite being sweaty, dirty and hungry, we were smiling from ear to ear when we completed our task with True Manila. We did our best and worked hard to put a smile on each child’s face and this brought about a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Our hearts were full. Erny caught up with her friend Glenda over dinner but it eventually led us to a serious discussion on our itinerary for the next 2 days.
31st May to 1st June – The last two days of the trip were personally much more emotional for me. As discussed the night before, we then went to two orphanages to gift them with goodie bags that were filled with food and sweet cakes on top of the donated clothes. Through the help of Glenda, Ayen and Ayen’s daughter, we purchased food at the local supermarket for the children. We prepared milk for the babies and goodie bags for the older ones. I was quiet while observing the purchasing process and also noted that they have included cakes and juice box. I asked Glenda if we were too extravagant on purchasing these items instead of staple foods like rice. She replied that the less privilege children would probably have never eaten any of these before. If we could let them experience it, why not? I couldn't help but feel how fortunate my nephews and the children back in Singapore are because they have the option of eating cake on a daily basis if they wanted to, where else the kids on the streets of Manila were having it for the first time.
We meticulously packed each and every goodie bag and loaded them into the car. Along the way to the orphanages, we spotted children who offered cleaning services for car windows in exchange for money. Glenda was extremely quick in spotting them, she winded down the window and handed them a goodie bag each. The smiles on their faces were priceless and we knew once again that we have done something right.
Children who offered to wipe our car windows.
We went to two orphanages and these children are beautiful! They were indeed gifts from God. I was experiencing so much mixed emotions. My frustrations came from not understanding why such beautiful faces could be abandoned or orphaned and not being able to help them more. I spoke to Ayen about it and all she could do was give me a big hug to encourage and soothe my heart.
Just as we were about to leave, the person-in-charge reminded us not to cry as these kids are the fortunate ones who at least have shelter. There are thousands of children in suburban areas who are fighting every single day to survive and see the next daylight. She told us to smile and continue to pray for them as well to those who are worse off.
In this short trip, I have learnt so much. I learnt that we are truly blessed to have the opportunity of a lifetime to take part in this charity work. Another lesson to take away from this trip is that it doesn’t matter how little you can give, every little bit counts. It is all about making someone's day a little brighter and giving them a little more faith and hope that life can be better and will eventually get better even when hit with hurdles and uncertainties along the way.
I would like to take this time to thank our customers who donated items, cash sponsors from Gen.K Jewelry, Oceano, Magnix and the Evers family. I would also like to express my gratitude to Erny, Glenda, Ayen and little Yana for guiding me to be a better person by the day. We look forward to the next trip and will be updating our friends and customers who would love to help more in the next drive!
For more pictures from the trip click on this link: https://bit.ly/2KIhMGU