Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers

by Haligi ng Bata, Inc.
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Send 200 Filipino kids to better daycare centers
Typhoon-affected children in Bagong Silangan
Typhoon-affected children in Bagong Silangan

COVID-19 and the Philippines: A Year Later and Schools Are Still Closed

More than a year since the Philippines logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case, the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt by Filipinos from all walks of life. Based on recent data, there are now 561,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the country, with testing and vaccination programs remaining to be in need of major fine-tuning and proper implementation. 

Without a doubt, one of the many societal pillars that have been shaken by the pandemic is the education sector. In a country that has faced more than its fair share of man-made and natural challenges over the years, the COVID-19 pandemic is the first to have a profound impact on the Philippines’ education system. Since March 2020, COVID-19 has affected the lives of the country’s 27.2 million students, with classes suddenly halted and with children below 15 years old not allowed to leave their homes due to stringent lockdowns. Schools - including the public daycare centers our project helps and supports - have been closed and traditional face-to-face classes are suspended to curb the spread of the virus and ensure the health and safety of students and teachers. 

 

Calamity Support for Affected Children in Metro Manila

With public daycare facilities still closed, a portion of the donations for the Daycare Improvement Project had been used to provide immediate relief support for children and families in Metro Manila affected by the spate of typhoons that hit the country in November 2020. 60 affected children from flood-prone areas of Bagong Silangan and Payatas in Quezon City, and the Tanza Communities in the urban fishing city of Navotas received hygiene kits, food supplies consist of rice, noodles, canned goods, and chocolate drinks, medicines and multivitamins, blankets, and sleeping mats.These support were provided on November 2020 and December 2020, much to the gratitude of the children and their parents - most of whom have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and its corresponding lockdowns.          

 

Hygiene and Health Kits for the Daycare Learners and their Families

Through your donations, the HBI Team has already purchased family hygiene and health kits for the daycare learners and their families. However, travel and assembly restrictions imposed to fight the spread of COVID-19 and its newest strain (which was confirmed in one of the provinces near La Union) continue to make deliveries in the La Union communities tricky and costly. HBI plans to provide these individual packages of support at the soonest possible time once we have secured all necessary health permits needed to enter the project areas.

Apart from this, HBI is also keeping in touch with the public daycare centers to identify their most pressing needs once face-to-face classes resume. While we cannot provide an exact timeline for the reopening of schools in the Philippines, HBI is assuming that face-to-face learning will resume sometime next school year (June 2021 to March 2022). 

 

Thank you to all our donors

We at HBI would like to fervently thank all the donors of the Daycare Improvement Project for supporting this cause, pandemic or no pandemic. As we try to continue our programs under "the new normal" ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to strive in safely resuming our work and projects on the field for the benefit of the daycare children. We apologize for delays in our reports and in responding to emails and questions, rest be assured that we will work extra hard to provide all these health and hygiene support to La Union children and community health centers as soon as possible.

Typhoon Ulysses' Effects in the Philippines
Typhoon Ulysses' Effects in the Philippines
Repacking of relief goods for affected families
Repacking of relief goods for affected families
Distribution of relief goods in Navotas
Distribution of relief goods in Navotas
Relief goods through GlobalGiving donations
Relief goods through GlobalGiving donations
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A health worker with Vitamin Angels supplies
A health worker with Vitamin Angels supplies

COVID-19 in the Philippines: Far From Over

10 months into 2020, the Philippines continues to try to endure the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Based on the latest figures, there are now approximately 366,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with the average daily confirmed cases around 2,000 to 3,000. It is only very recently when the country has posted less than 2,000 cases per day, with many hoping that the downward trend continues.

Even with this positive development though, health experts still believe that there is still a big possibility that official COVID-19 numbers will hit 500,000 before 2020 ends. Testing facilities are still far from optimized especially with the recent news that the Philippine Red Cross had ceased their free COVID-19 testing due to the state health insurer's Php 930 Million debt to the Philippine Red Cross.

COVID-19 in the Philippines and School and Daycare Classes

COVID-19 has also affected the Philippine education sector, with the opening of school classes moved from the usual June schedule to October 5, 2020. Apart from the delay in class opening, the country has shifted to a blended mode of learning after the government prohibited face-to-face classroom sessions to stop the spread of the virus. Now, all students are essentially distance learners who use online and modular course work in continuing their schooling and education at home.

Public Daycare Centers in the country have all been closed to traditional learning, with learners staying at home and delaying their early childhood schooling. According to the teachers of our project's daycare centers, they are urging parents to teach their children how to read, write, and count by borrowing some of the books, tooks, and educational materials provided earlier by the Daycare Improvement Project and its donors. For now, the daycare teachers are pitching in to help their respective community's public health center which continue to provide medical and health support to all community residents regardless if they are positive or negative for COVID-19.

Public Community Health Center Support Programs made possible by the Daycare Improvement Project

With daycare learners safe in their homes, the Daycare Improvement Project has shifted its support to help indigent community health centers cope with the demands not only of fighting a pandemic but also of their daily duties to provide health services to the communities' residents. Through the project's exposure in the GlobalGiving Platform, HBI received donations from Vitamin Angels in the form of Vitamin A Supplements for children ages 6 months to 59 months. A total of 14 indigent community health centers, including the health centers serving the communities where our daycare centers are located, have received this support for approximately 1,200 children. 

Through this support for Vitamin A supplementation, these children will avoid preventable childhood blindness, diarrhea, and measles; and would have stronger immune systems needed to resist infections. Proper Vitamin A supplementation also reduces anemia and decreases risk of children dying by 24%.

Apart from Vitamin A supplementation support, the Daycare Improvement Project has begun distributing health and medical items to indigent community health centers. Items provided include face masks, face shields, disinfecting kits, medicines for flu, fever, and colds, vitamin C syrups and capsules, and other consumable health materials such as gloves, bandages, and cotton buds among others.

Future Programs: Hygiene and Health Kits for the Daycare Learners and their Families

Through your donations, the HBI Team has already purchased family hygiene and health kits for the daycare learners and their families. However, travel and assembly restrictions imposed to fight the spread of COVID-19 continue to make deliveries in the La Union communities tricky and costly. HBI plans to provide these individual packages of support at the soonest possible time once we have secured all necessary health permits needed to enter the project areas.

Thank you to all our donors

We at HBI would like to fervently thank all the donors of the Daycare Improvement Project for supporting this cause, pandemic or no pandemic. As we try to continue our programs under "the new normal" ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to strive in safely resuming our work and projects on the field for the benefit of the daycare children. We apologize for delays in our reports and in responding to emails and questions, rest be assured that we will work extra hard to provide all these health and hygiene support to La Union children and community health centers as soon as possible. 

The HBI Team distributing Vitamin A supplements
The HBI Team distributing Vitamin A supplements
Vitamin A supplements from Vitamin Angels
Vitamin A supplements from Vitamin Angels
Community Health Center COVID-19 Support Program
Community Health Center COVID-19 Support Program
Community Health Center COVID-19 Support Program
Community Health Center COVID-19 Support Program
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Young students in La Union with educational toys
Young students in La Union with educational toys

The COVID-19 situation in the Philippines

The COVID-19 Pandemic is taking a heavier toll in the Philippines compared to other South East Asian countries that, at this point, have already flattened the curve. Based on government data, as of June 25, 2020 there are now 33,069 confirmed cases in the Philippines which makes the country the  third most affected South East Asian nation, behind Indonesia and Singapore. 

The Philippines’ COVID-19 numbers is low compared to countries like the United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. But the low numbers indicate bigger problems such as the fact that mass testing is not being done nor are COVID-19 testing centers available nationwide. To halt the spread of the disease, the Philippine government placed the country on a stringent lockdown or confinement that started on the 15 March 2020. As we write this report, most of the country is already under general community quarantine, with only one major city still under total lockdown.

 

How are the daycare centers and students affected?

Metro Manila - a cluster of 17 cities that includes Manila, the country’s capital has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 16, 277. The La Union Province where our six daycare centers are located only has 27 confirmed cases as of June 24, 2020. To date, none of our supported children or their family members has contracted the disease. 

While the number of confirmed cases is low, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were felt because of the strict lockdown and confinement measures that halted work, public transportation, and schooling. Public schools were forced to suspend classes early and start the new school year on August 2020 – a two-month delay from the usual opening of classes during the month of June.

Based on feedback from the daycare teachers of the Daycare Improvement Project, there are no plans to re-open daycare centers on August 2020 because the government has dissuaded face-to-face classroom learning until a vaccine becomes available. “We honestly don’t know what to do,” the Bay-O daycare teacher said when asked by HBI how they plan to continue once the school year starts. “Parents are already asking us if we are going to start classes on August and we don’t know what to say,” the daycare teacher of Cabalitocan Daycare Center said.

In the absence of a concrete plan for public daycare centers, daycare teachers in cooperation with local community health workers are planning to reach their daycare students via home visits. “What we plan to do is work with the parents by urging them to teach their children how to read and write at home,” the daycare teacher of Pitpitac Daycare Center shared. “We plan on loaning some of the books provided by the Daycare Improvement Project for this. We also want to teach them important hygiene and grooming habits that will help prevent them from getting and spreading diseases.”

 

Improving hygiene and health services for daycare learners

In support of the daycare centers’ continued efforts to reach their students even amidst the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, the project will provide all daycare students of Basig, Bay-o, San Antonino, Tubaday, Pitpitac, and Cabalitocan with family hygiene kits to ensure that they practice proper hygiene and cleanliness even if they are in not in daycare. A family hygiene kit includes towels, bars of soap, rubbing alcohol, shampoo, and nail cutters, among others. “The hygiene kits,” the Basig Daycare Center’s teacher said, “are needs that they cannot buy all the time because between buying soap and food, parents with very limited income will buy food for the family.”

In addition to this, the project through the support of its generous donors will provide the community health centers of the six La Union communities with some of its supply needs which includes medicines, disinfecting mats and solutions, and protective gear for community health workers. “Health centers are usually forgotten to be helped,” one community health worker from the San Antonino Community Health Center said, “especially now when the focus is helping public hospitals.”

 

Thank you to all our donors

We at HBI would like to fervently thank all the donors of the Daycare Improvement Project for supporting this cause, pandemic or no pandemic. As we emerge from the COVID-19 confinements, we will continue to strive in safely resuming our work and projects on the field for the benefit of the daycare children. We apologize for delays in our reports and in responding to emails and questions, and rest be assured that we will work extra hard to provide all these health and hygiene support by July 2020 to August 2020.

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Basig, La Union Daycare Students Say Thank You
Basig, La Union Daycare Students Say Thank You

A Focus on Health Services and Improvement

The emergence of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) that has affected more than 80,000 people all over the world has shifted the spotlight to what ordinary citizens can do to protect themselves from the disease. While efforts to develop and test vaccines are on-going, the World Health Organization has advised the public about basic protective measures they can do against COVID-19, putting emphasis on the importance of good grooming and proper hygiene in combating the disease.

Through your support and donation, the Daycare Improvement Project had already provided the needed hygiene and grooming kits to approximately 300 children in six impoverished daycare centers in the La Union province. The kits include supplies for oral hygiene (toothbrush, toothpastes, and tumblers) and supplies for ensuring cleanliness of their bodies at all times (soap, alcohol or hand sanitizers, and nail cutters). In addition to this, every daycare center under the project were provided with first aid kits and vitamin supplies for their students.

Based on reports from our daycare teachers, all the students enrolled in the daycare centers are generally in good health. The daycare centers also work with their local community health centers to monitor the health condition of every enrolled learner. Daycare teachers and parents are very thankful for your support, crediting the increase in health and hygiene supplies as one of the key reasons why children remain healthy and illness-free.

In addition to material support and better coordination with health service providers, the Daycare Improvement Project also facilitated a series of seminars and workshops on good grooming and proper hygiene for all target La Union daycare students. With the help of community health workers, children were taught how to properly brush their teeth, the proper way of washing hands, and good respiratory hygiene (covering your mouth with a tissue or a bent elbow when you cough or sneeze). These seminar topics have been integrated and strengthened in the daily teachings of the daycare centers.

 

In-Kind Donations

Since our last report, HBI through the Daycare Improvement Project received donations in-kind from local donors who do not have access to credit cards but still wanted to pitch in. A group of young working professionals donated 400 pieces of educational toys as their contribution to the daycare improvement project which were distributed by HBI to daycare students in the Holy Spirit Community in Quezon City, Metro Manila. Several private individuals also donated story books and school supplies that have been distributed to the six La Union daycare centers. HBI would like to take this opportunity to thank these in-kind donors who usually do not get the reports of this project since they didn’t make a monetary donation through the GlobalGiving platform.

 

Our Continued Thanks to our Donors

The improvements of the six daycare centers in La Union (Bay-O, San Antonino, Tubaday, Basig, Pitpitac, and Cabalitocan) and the provision of needed education and health materials and supplies to the 300 daycare children would not be possible without your continued support. In behalf of everybody who is part of the Daycare Improvement Project – the children, the teachers, parents, and community members, we would like to fervently thank you for your help.

Cabalitocan Daycare Learners with Hygiene Kits
Cabalitocan Daycare Learners with Hygiene Kits
Vitamins distributed to daycare students
Vitamins distributed to daycare students
A Health & Hygiene Seminar in Cabalitocan Daycare
A Health & Hygiene Seminar in Cabalitocan Daycare
Practicing Proper Handwashing
Practicing Proper Handwashing
Handwashing Lessons for Young Children
Handwashing Lessons for Young Children
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No tears, more smiles in the daycare centers
No tears, more smiles in the daycare centers

“The Kids are Happy Here”: Pitpitac and Cabalitocan Daycare Centers Three Months Later

In our last report, we shared that through your continued support to the Daycare Improvement Project, the HBI Team has been able to reach two new additional community daycare facilities in rural Luna, La Union – the Pitpitac and the Cabalitocan Daycare Centers. In this report, we will give you a closer look at these daycare centers now - three months after receiving packages of daycare improvement materials and equipment from the project.

Pitpitac Daycare Center in Luna, La Union: No More Tears

“The first thing I noticed after we received our daycare support,” says Teacher Agnes of the Pitpitac Daycare Center, “is that the students are crying less after being dropped off in my class.” She continues to share that in over 20 years as a daycare teacher, she’s used to kids being sad and upset whenever their parents leave them under her care. “It’s only natural for them to cry when Mama or Papa leaves them in school or in daycare,” she adds, and she often resorts to creative ways to appease a crying student - ranging from giving candies to allowing them an additional hour of play time.

“But in Pitpitac, the kids are crying less because they are actually excited to be here,” Teacher Agnes observes. “The first thing they do when they get to our classroom is ask me if they can learn the alphabet song on the TV,” she said as she points to the provided LED Television set for the learners. “Then after a short morning exercise where they copy dance moves being shown in the video, we start practicing our handwriting, learning how to count 1 to 10, drawing and coloring. Then the rest of the day is spent playing with toys.”

The children’s parents share Teacher Agnes’ sentiments. “It’s easier for us to drop him off at daycare now before we go to the rice fields or the sea to fish because he doesn’t cry or beg to just stay at home,” says Alma whose 4-year-old son, Michael John, attends the Pitpitac Daycare Center. As another day of learning ends, Teacher Agnes can only muse about the effects of the project in Pitpitac. “The kids only spend five hours in my class daily but it’s easy to see that compared to the other daycare centers where I teach, the kids are really happy to be here.”

Cabalitocan Daycare Center in Luna, La Union: Fewer Guardians Staying in Class

Apart from the cries and tears brought on by a temporary separation from their parents, another common fixture in Philippine daycare centers is the throngs of moms and guardians waiting on their kids during the entire class. “It’s especially obvious in the first few weeks since the start of classes,” Teacher Juvylynn of the Cabalitocan Daycare Center says, “but we don’t mind because it makes the kids comfortable, making them participate in class more.”

While the number of parents lessens as the school year progresses, Teacher Juvylynn notes that at least half of her daycare students still refused to go to class without a parent or a guardian staying over before Cabalitocan became a participant in the Daycare Improvement Project. “But there are fewer parents now, especially after the TV and the toys from the donors were unwrapped.”

Carol, a mother who up until recently used to accompany her daughter Natasha in class said that the change was almost instant. “One day she doesn’t want me to leave her side, the next day, she almost didn’t notice me because she is playing building blocks with her classmates.” When asked how she felt about it, she said that she’s fine with it – “I get to have more time to clean the house and help my husband at the rice fields. And I know that Natasha is having a good time in class so I don’t have to stay and watch over her.” Teacher Juvylynn notes that now, there are fewer moms and grandmothers who stay in class at the insistence of their kids. “It’s limited to the younger students,” she clarifies, “and I think it’s because we have more learning materials to entertain and capture the students’ attention.”

What’s next for the Daycare Improvement Project?

As of November 28, 2019, we have received 92 donations amounting to US$ 8,432 – 68 dollars shy of our 8,500 goal. Through your continued support, we will provide the Pitpitac and Cabalitocan Daycare Centers with additional learning materials such as big story and big picture books, hygiene kits, and toys. Apart from the monetary donations, local donors are also donating in kind by dropping off new toys and books for the daycare centers. We plan on delivering these vital daycare materials before Christmas.

Lastly, this report will not end without HBI giving thanks to the numerous donors and advocates of the Daycare Improvement Project. We continue to hope that we can reach more in-need daycare centers in the future but for now, we thank all of you in behalf of the 252 children & teachers in six La Union daycare centers for your kindness and generosity.

Happy Thanksgiving to our friends and supporters in the U.S.!

Three Months Later: Pitpitac Daycare Center
Three Months Later: Pitpitac Daycare Center
Three Months Later: Cabalitocan Daycare Center
Three Months Later: Cabalitocan Daycare Center
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Organization Information

Haligi ng Bata, Inc.

Location: Quezon City - Philippines
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Leticia Magaan
Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines
$13,060 raised of $13,500 goal
 
147 donations
$440 to go
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