More than 21 per cent of the population in Philippines live in extreme poverty, fighting day-by-day to survive illness and malnutrition in subhuman conditions.
And every day generous New Zealanders are doing their bit to change that.
Today 633 Filipino children are being nurtured, educated, developed and equipped by Kiwis through Tearfund’s Compassion sponsorship programme in the Philippines.
“These children have grown up living on rubbish dumps, living in and around sewers, scrounging for food and clean water,” says Noel Pabiona.
“By sponsoring one of these children, you are changing what their future looks like.”
Pabiona is the country director for Tearfund’s Compassion sponsorship programme in the Philippines, where child sponsorship supports more than 70,000 Filipino children.
“Sometimes I think it’s impossible to bring these children out of that sort of abject poverty, and then I see another child who has risen out of those horrendous conditions with the support and love that they get through sponsorship, I’m reminded just how far a little generosity can go,” he says.
“You wouldn’t even recognise these children now. There is no longer any trace of poverty in the way the look, speak and the way they carry themselves.”
He says he hopes to see this tour challenge more Kiwis to commit to making a difference in the life of a child living in poverty.
Pabiona will speak more about how child poverty is being tackled in the Philippines when he visits Beachland’s Baptist Church next week.
This free event on Thursday 12th October is part Tearfund’s nationwide tour where Pabiona will share his life-changing stories, supported by Kiwi singer-songwriter Omega Levine.
But the Philippines is not the only country where Kiwi’s are making a difference, with nearly 12,000 children living in 26 nations throughout the world are sponsored by New Zealanders through Tearfund’s partnership with Compassion International.
Omega says he is encouraged by the work Tearfund is doing to support children living in vulnerable communities and the commitment of everyday Kiwis to making a difference.
“When you hear about kids in underprivileged communities who have been given a hand up because of what Kiwis have invested through child sponsorship, that’s a testament to the incredible generosity of New Zealanders and what we place value on.
“I’d encourage New Zealanders to get along to this tour, take up the opportunity to invest into future generations and be a part of what Tearfund is doing through Compassion.”