Dear friends and family,
2020 was a rollercoaster year, and 2021 picked up right where 2020 left off. In spite of all the struggles the world is facing, we can manifest hope for a better future with deeper wisdom and braver compassion as we overcome each challenge.
In 2021, Hope was born. Literally. Just days into the new year, our youth coordinator/teacher Gabby and social-worker/program-manager Jizza welcomed their first child Miriam Hope into the world. Thank you to everyone who helped support the Malquisto family after an emergency C-section delivery. Miriam Hope (aka "Raya") and Jizza are both healthy and well today.
Baby Hope will grow up to discover she was born in quite a turbulent time. As our community was adjusting to a "new normal" way of life with unprecedented safeguards and restrictions, some of our close friends and neighbours in Manila lost their homes to a terrible fire in January. Our daycare teacher Cecille and a number of former students of IT Tender saw their homes destroyed, though by God's grace they escaped the fire unharmed.
The pictures above shows the remains of Cecille's family home and a picture of Cecille teaching at our daycare. In spite of the shock of losing her home, Cecille's deep compassion and empathy led a local drive to gather clothing, food and hygiene supplies for the other families who lost everything in the fire.
We continue to pray and search for a new home for Teacher Cecille who is currently staying at our drop-in center. But we want to thank the many generous people who gave support and donations for Cecille's family and for the others affected by the fire. They are thanking the Lord for these timely and practical gifts.
In spite of the pandemic, we have been able to safely and carefully visit the children and families we serve to encourage them and hear updates on each of their situations. You can never underestimate the value and appreciation that can come from visiting a family or a child and listening to their concerns. Pandemic or not, home visits have always been an essential part of the empowerment and relationship-building work we do at IT Tender.
We want these families to know our care goes beyond their physical and educational needs. We value our relationship with each and every one of them. It is our honour to listen to them, pray for them, and learn from them as well.
Lastly, in case you missed it on social media and you're not receiving the Coffey's blog here, we want to share with you a special video of the Christmas grocery/gift-giving event. Thank you for supporting the gifts and groceries of 125 urban poor families over the holidays. Enjoy the smiles (even behind the masks) of these grateful parents...
Thank you for all your compassion, and take good care.
Director of IT Tender