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.
"Stitching is Enriching"
by John Coffey (Team Leader)
For many poor Filipino families, the mother is the fiber that holds the fabric of the family together. A long list of problems threatens to unravel the family - unemployment, poor health, substance abuse, domestic abuse, and more. Nevertheless, through her wisdom and resourcefulness, a mother does her best to provide and make a better future for her children.
At IT Tender, our expertise is empowerment through education. Education doesn't begin or end in the classroom, and it doesn't end at a certain age. Mothers in our communities are hungry to learn more practical skills, some of which our staff aren't always equipped to teach. This is why we partner with other organizations in a variety of fields, including skills and livelihood training.
One of our partners, Extreme Response, runs a program called Golden Hands for urban poor mothers in Manila. This program mentors struggling mothers while training them to use sewing as an income-generating sideline for their families. They meet once a week, encouraging one another and practicing basic sewing and pattern making for skirts, bags, aprons and much more.
Program director Anne Benavidez created Golden Hands with a wholistic vision. Her passion is to empower women not only by developing skills, but also by developing self-confidence and trusted relationships. Three mothers with children in IT Tender's programs are currently attending Golden Hands, and we're proud of the growth they've experienced through the program.
Here are some recent photos of the three mothers with their peers at Golden Hands...
"Doing Big Things for God"
by Hanna (Sponsor Child / Youth Volunteer)
Through the wisdom and grace of God, IT Tender resumes one of its very first programs – feeding malnourished children. This time however, the program is spearheaded by the youth volunteers who once upon a time were fed and nourished by the same supplemental feeding program. As a coordinator, I will say that it is not easy for us to do this ministry. Besides the fact that us youth volunteers are beginners, we are still students. In spite of any hindrances, we decide to do big things for God. This is both our sacrifice and our joy for Him.
In partnership with Action International, Ontario Christian Gleaners and the Sucat Health Center, our supplemental feeding program is held every Saturday and Sunday in an area of Sucat where makeshift homes stand on bamboo stilts over the bay. Weekends are a busy time for us, as we use that time to complete our school assignments and to also run the feeding. Nevertheless, it is all worth it, because we love what are we doing. Our hearts are overwhelmed with joy as we see the children’s smiles whenever they see us coming. As much as we can, we share the great joy that God taught us by our mentor, "Kuya" (big brother) Gabby - IT Tender staff and pastor.
Aside from making the kids happy, we are also providing the proper nutrition to help them gain weight. We then teach them stories and Bible lessons, because we cannot deny them the good news and valuable lessons, in spite of the not so good influences in the community. These children are susceptible to the negative pressures and influences of their surroundings. They need good role models.
Our other purpose is for the kids to enjoy their childhood. During our supplemental feeding they are free to laugh, to express their feelings through crafts, to sing and to dance, and of course, to play. We, the IT Tender youth, are hoping to see a better community for these children. We are looking forward to it. Transformation takes time and investment. In Jesus' name, we are proud to be one of the good influences by taking steps to change lives, even if just feeding the children first, then helping with educational supports.
Thank you for all the support and prayers. From all of us at IT Tender, God bless you and your loved ones.