It is challenging to run programmes for the urban poor because the dole mindset has conditioned many to see themselves as mere recipients of donations and charitable activities with little hope of breaking out of the cycle of poverty.
Although the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines has conducted a series of values and faith formation initiatives with parents, it is difficult to break the prevailing outlook of the community.
Faced with this challenge, a glimmer of hope emerged when a group of five single mothers pooled in a small amount of money to buy a kilo of sticky rice, sugar and a few pieces of coconut to cook a native delicacy to be sold in the community.
From the initial small gains they persisted and soon were able to earn enough to buy more materials for making more varieties of local snacks for sale. This enabled them to have personal earnings and set aside extra for group savings.
Recently, they committed four hundred pesos monthly for the allowance of teachers, a selfless act which was a miracle to us. We were amazed that from their donation, three more mothers gave small amounts of money until more people joined in the giving and soon they were able to pay the salary of the two teachers for July and August without outside support.
This is like the story of the feeding of the five thousand by Jesus in John 6. Jesus asked his disciples to get food but Philip’s answer was the typical human response, as opposed to the boy whom Andrew presented to Jesus who brought with him a seemingly insignificant amount of food to feed the crowd.
For Jesus, it was enough for him to show his power of providence. The action of the mothers for the Church of the Holy Cross is a testimony of the reality of God’s power and providence when people realign themselves with the heart of God, especially for the children and the marginalised.
Please pray for the Miramonte and Holy Cross urban poor communities in their pursuit for accreditation of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programme by the city government. Pray too for the families and children who lost family members due to extrajudicial killings.
— Rev Fr Lendehl Sallidao, Philippines, Co-MP with AsiaCMS.