Arlene, 40, used to have many regrets as a mother. She said: “I should have worked harder before, and I should have trusted God.” With nine children, five of them still living under her care, she is hardly able to provide for all their needs.
Arlene’s family lives in a makeshift house. Their only source of income is from scavenging and her husband’s job as a mason. Combined, they earn about P4,000 ($80) per month. This is below the poverty threshold level, which is at P9,064 per month for a family of five. Their financial situation is dire, and to make matters worse, Arlene found out that her 8th child, 3-year old Justin, was malnourished.
Justin’s undernourishment caused him to become vulnerable to common diseases like cough, cold, asthma, and high fever, but there was never any money to treat him. Arlene secretly cried every time she would see Justin sick. In those moments, regret, worry, and self-pity would overwhelm her— there was nothing she could do to help her sick child.
When the Bless-A-Child (BAC) project was launched in their community, Justin was chosen to be a participant in the ten-month feeding program. This also allowed Justin to be given regular medical and dental check-ups, as well as free vitamins and medicines. It has helped Justin become stronger and less vulnerable to common illnesses. He has also gained weight through the feeding project, and has become noticeably more active.
But that wasn’t all the BAC project brought to their family. As one of the mothers of the participants, Arlene was able to attend Biblical-based values formation classes and parenting seminars. She has developed a more positive outlook on life in general and has become a better mother. Through the values formation, she says she has noticed a shift in their home. She shares, “Thank you because, after the time spent under the Bless-A-Child project, I have seen changes in my family and in my dear child.”