Dear friends and family,
Welcome to the latest edition of IT Tender's newsletter. May you be inspired by these updates and stories of the transformation happening right here in our community in Manila, Philippines.
A Total Transformation of our Drop-In-Center
IT Tender will never be the same after the events set in motion on January 22nd, 2019. This was the day our team submitted IT Tender's application for a license with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Any charity or NGO with a license with DSWD carries a higher level of respect and distinction in the Philippines. Many other benefits come along with acquiring this license, such as free trainings and networking with a range of other organizations and businesses. However, DSWD has strict requirements regarding the quality of service, education of staff, documentation of programs, and the detailed case filing of every client, child and family under the care of a charity.
Most charities in the Philippines working with underprivileged and at-risk groups never apply for a license with DSWD (including countless NGO's with budgets ten times the size of ours at Tender). The requirements are too difficult and almost seem unattainable. By God's grace, our mentor Gela Basiwa and her administrative staff Jamaica offered to help us fulfill the requirements for a license with DSWD. You may recall that Gela and her husband John Basiwa originally founded IT Tender in the year 2000. They now run an orphanage in Manila with an excellent standing with DSWD.
Since November, the Tender team and our consultants Gela and Jamaica have been working tirelessly to improve our facilities, documentation and operations to reach a level consistent with DSWD's requirements. Here is a testimony from IT Tender's program manager and social worker Jizza on the challenge of applying for our DSWD license...
"We thought it would be impossible and we wouldn't be able to attain it. We are just a small team. But it's true that with God all things are possible, including with the help of a lot of people. Yes, this is just another license we're talking about, but before achieving this it took a lot of energy, sweat, fears, anxieties, worries, frustrations, tears, sleepless nights, sickness, sacrifices, patience and humility in dealing with government offices, huge resources, editing after editing after editing, kneeling before the Lord, prayers, God's favors upon favors, and His mercies upon mercies and grace upon grace. God allowed the team to go through this very hard process (on top of the renovations, dealing with clients' problems, and regular activities and events) so that we will go beyond our comfort zones, push our boundaries, challenge our limitations and capacities, in order to learn to be more patient, more determined, more hardworking, more resourceful, more hopeful, more prayerful, more matured and more disciplined personally and also in the ministry. Even in the middle of this struggle and challenge, we were able to find and appreciate more the joy, laughter, and the love and miracles of God. Literally, that's what we felt. God carried us and fought the battles in front of us. We've been praying for many years for this to come. On Tuesday, February 19th, a DSWD social worker spent the day at IT Tender, assessing our application, documentation, case files, facilities and more. At the end of the day, she congratulated us and declared our assessment for Registration and License with DSWD successful! We are just waiting for the official awarding of the license next month. Thank you Lord for finally bringing us to this next huge chapter for IT Tender. Thanks also to Ma'am Gela and Ms. Jamaica. This is just a start, and we look forward to a whole new perspective and leading (and more paperwork, haha). To God be all the glory and honor and praise."
God is good, and we're so grateful for the successful assessment of Tender by DSWD! Just one small part of preparing for the DSWD license was renovating our drop-in center. Here is a peek at our "new look" at IT Tender...
If you've ever visited our drop-in center before, you may not recognize it as you peek through the door. There's new flooring, ceiling, paint, all new electrical wiring, and much more.
That's right, IT Tender has a new kitchen!
IT Tender now has two bathrooms, each with new tiles and fixtures. One is for our clients (the children and families) and the other is for staff and visitors. Visitors will be happy to discover the new toilet actually has a "flush" now, as opposed to the manual way of flushing with a bucket of water.
The new fire exit and railing for the stairwell is for the safety and security of the children and families.
Some of these licenses and permits we've had before, but others we had to attain in order to apply for our license with DSWD.
Transforming Communities starts with Transforming Families
Our mission at IT Tender is to provide opportunities for quality education, mentoring and leadership development that transform at-risk children into agents of change. The goal is that children, youth and families will become Christ-centered, responsible and self-sustaining. Family is an essential component here, and the support of a family is a key factor in determining the success of a child seeking to rise above poverty and have a bright future. This is why, over the past few years, IT Tender has strategically positioned itself to empower and strengthen families through various family events and seminars for parents (not just their children).
This weekend of February 23-24 is IT Tender's third family camp for those with children in our child sponsorship program. The theme of the camp is "Family in Unity" (based on Psalm 133:1). We're so excited to bring over 30 families (over 150 kids, youth and parents) to a beautiful venue in Rizal, Philippines for this overnight camp. Activities will include a seminar and counseling for fathers, a seminar and counseling for mothers, fun activities for the whole family, a baptism service (for some new Christians in our families!), and plenty of time for the family bonding and refreshment that these families from slum communities rarely enjoy.
This family camp would not be possible without the support of many incredible donors. In fact, we're still short on funds for the event, but we're pushing through by faith that the funds will follow, knowing this camp is an opportunity these families don't want to miss. We need your prayers and support for this incredible opportunity to strengthen families through this two-day camp. We still need to raise another $2,500 to make this camp happen. If you would like to give a donation for this amazing family camp, simply click here for details on how to give (and kindly state "IT Tender General Fund" as the designation of your donation). A donation of any amount is a great help, and all donors will receive tax receipts. You can also email John at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns on how to donate.
Thank you for all your support and prayers.
- The IT Tender Family