Locked Down but not Knocked Down
August 17, 2021

Dear friends and family,

We hope and pray that you are doing well at this time.

Here in Manila, we are back under strict lockdown as the daily tally of new COVID cases in the Philippines has risen again to the highest numbers since the pandemic began. With the delta variant abounding and the vaccine supply dwindling in the Philippines, we appreciate your prayers and support for the poor living in cramped slums who are at a higher risk of infection and without access to basic health care.

As these families shelter under lockdown with no work, we are extending emergency help once more, distributing rice and other essential groceries. If you would like to make a donation towards these relief goods for the poor, click here and select "IT-Tender - General" as the designation of your gift (you will receive a tax deductible receipt in your email).

Besides giving groceries, we are also assisting the families who would like to be vaccinated to register online and receive their vaccination.

By God's grace and thanks to our legal status as an organization providing emergency humanitarian aid, even the strictest of lockdowns does not halt our operations at IT Tender. However, our staff have made certain sacrifices for their added protection and for the protection of the families we serve. For the duration of this current lockdown, four staff are living at our drop-in center and sleeping in the "staff quarters" that we have set up. All other staff and volunteers work from home, and all of our kids and youth programming continue online (including after-school programs and small group mentoring via Zoom).

Even in this time of pandemic, we are hardly slowing down, but rather we continue to expand and improve as an organization. We are delighted to announce the addition of two new interns at IT Tender - Jlaiza and Ejieboy. These wonderful young leaders have just graduated from high school under our "Sponsor-A-Child" program, and they are now entering university on a full scholarship from IT Tender through our "Send A Teacher To School" initiative. This initiative provides interns with hands-on experience as they teach and serve at our center as working students simultaneously studying in university.

Jlaiza will help lead and teach children's programs (including our preschool). Her and her family are grateful for the opportunity she has to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education at the Philippine Christian University.

Jlaiza (pictured above) wants to share this message with our supporters and friends:

"My journey at IT Tender started when I was just in Grade 2. Attending the feeding program for meals, I eventually became one of the blessed children who got a sponsorship at IT Tender. That is one of the best things that happened in my life, because without IT Tender I don’t think I would be where I am now. Being a sponsor child is a privilege, especially if your parents do not have the capability to get you to school.

IT Tender helped to raise me and build up my character. Technically, I grew up at IT Tender because I’ve been here since I was a small child. And as I grew up, I realized that I wanted to learn more from the team who lead and teach at IT Tender. I wanted to be part of this family that helps people, especially those kids who can’t go to school like me because of financial problems.

As I step forward in this next chapter of my journey as a university student, I hope that IT Tender will always be by my side. I also want to thank God and all the generous donors for helping me along the way."

Ejieboy will also fulfill his dream to study in university, taking up Business Administration. He is excited to get on-the-job experience at IT Tender working in our admin department and also leading programs and activities for the youth.

Ejieboy (pictured above) has this to say for everyone at IT Tender:

"I joined IT Tender when I was in grade seven, and this shifted my path in life. Things felt different than my past, because now there were a lot of opportunities to improve, to practice, and to commit myself to something meaningful.

I learned so much through IT Tender, and I am truly grateful to have the chance to know myself and to realize my passions and my dreams thanks to this organization. Until now I still experience happiness and a closeness to the Tender community. There is even a bit of positive pressure that nudges me forward and helps to shape who I am and who I am becoming.

The reason why I really want to be an intern is because of my desire to learn more about commitment and flexibility and to be a responsible young man. Most importantly, serving at IT Tender helps me prioritize God at the center, and this internship will continue to develop me into a Godly man, equipped to serve and help others.

Thank you for believing in me."

Besides Jlaiza and Ejieboy, we have two other interns (Hanna and Lezaly) who are simultaneously serving at IT Tender while studying social work in university. We are praying for donors to give one-time or monthly donations of any amount to IT Tender for us to support the tuition of these fine young scholars who are eager and excited to give back to their community and to further improve their knowledge and skills through higher education. If you would like to make a donation, click here and select "IT-Tender - General" as the designation of your gift (then check your email for your tax deductible receipt).

In other news, with immense gratitude for all of our donors sponsoring a child at IT Tender, we celebrate the many sponsor children who have just graduated or moved on to the next grade level in school. In their own words, this is how a few of those students are sharing their feelings about taking that next step in achieving their goals...

"I would like to thank everyone who helped us. I wouldn't have reached this level without your help. I thank God that we could succeed in a difficult school year during the pandemic." - Jericho, moving up to senior high school (grade 11)

"Studying during a lockdown has been difficult to get used to. But that is no reason for me to give up or lose hope of finishing elementary school. IT Tender, my mama, and my relatives all helped me to do well in school. Thank you for the supporters who helped my family during this pandemic by providing food, school supplies, and guidance with my studies. I'm excited to study in high school!" - Aven, moving up to junior high school (grade 7)

"Firstly, I'm thankful to God that I got to know IT Tender. I'm really grateful for my sponsor who supports my studies so that I was able to complete elementary school. Thank you for not growing weary in helping me. Take good care and continue helping students like me." - Reymark, moving up to junior high school (grade 7)

Thank you so much for reading our newsletter, and thank you for all your compassionate support! Below are the current prayers and praises of our team in Manila.

- The Tender Team

  • We need financial support for groceries for families under lockdown and also for the university tuition of our intern teachers and social workers; email john.coffey@iteams.ca if you have questions about our ongoing initiatives (relief operations, university scholarship for interns, and child sponsorship)
  • Pray for the safety of our communities as typhoon season is upon us, and we could experience more disastrous typhoons and monsoons anytime between now and December
  • We're thankful for our growing Tender family as our new interns Jlaiza and Ejieboy have accepted positions on the team
  • We're thankful for the health of the children, youth, families, and staff, as nobody under our direct care has yet to require hospitalisation from COVID-19; as COVID numbers rise once again, we are reminded to appreciate our health and to remain vigilant, taking every precaution to protect ourselves and our community