World Vision’s footprints in Misamis Oriental

World Vision started working in Misamis Oriental in the year 2000 with the goal to help address poverty and help create enabling communities for children. In a baseline study conducted by the organisation  years ago, only 68% of surveyed households could provide their children’s basic needs without assistance .

Throughout the years, the organisation worked closely with different stakeholders, including the government, to ensure sustainability of programs and empower families to thrive even after World Vision transitions.

Their faces

Mary Gold, now 22, considers herself a World Vision baby.

“I grew up with the organisation. I was in kindergarten when my Canadian sponsor, Robert, decided to help change my life,” she shares.

Mary Gold is the second among three. Her parents, Manuel and Jocelyn, used to make ends meet. Manuel was a security guard while Jocelyn was a housewife.

“I still remember the feeling of going to the mall every school opening. For children like me whose families could barely provide three meals a day, setting foot in the mall was a big thing. World Vision staff would take us with them to buy school uniform, shoes and school materials.”

She adds, “When I was about to enter high school, I was worried because I would need to commute twice to reach the school. My parents didn’t have enough, but, the organisation helped ensure that I didn’t stop going to classes. I was provided support with transportation.”

Mary Gold had a happy childhood, not only because of all the educational support she received through the generosity of her sponsor, but also of the friendship she has built with other World Vision children.

“Once a year, through birthday bounce back, we would celebrate our birthdays together. We’d also go to different workshops where we were all honed to be confident and to be the leaders that we are now.”

An educator

“Up until early high school years, I’ve always wanted to become a doctor. Then, one day, World Vision had a training on children becoming peace-builders. I became a child facilitator to different workshops and then I knew, I wanted to teach.”

Mary Gold is now a licensed high school teacher. The kindness she received throughout her growing up years, she generously gives back to her students and family.

“Robert never failed to write me letters, send me cards or gifts on special occasions. He has encouraged me to do well in school. He made me feel remembered especially on Christmases and new years and his kindness stuck on me. Whenever my students need me, I make sure that I am there for them because I know how it feels to have someone rooting for you,” Mary Gold smiles.

Empowered families

As World Vision ends its sponsorship programme in Misamis Oriental, the organisation’s footprints, through families like Mary Gold’s, will remain.

Over the years, her mother, Jocelyn, has been active in different economic development activities initiated by the organisation. She became part of World Vision-organised CoMSCA, a community-managed savings and credit group. This not only taught her to save for rainy days but also encouraged her and other parents to invest in businesses like poultry raising, sardines making and other businesses that are also supported by the local government.

A recent study of the organisation shows that 82%  of households in World Vision-assisted areas can now provide all basic needs of their children without assistance, which is a significant increase from 68% baseline result 20 years ago.

“To Robert, my sponsor, I never met you but I am extremely grateful for your life,” Mary Gold addresses her sponsor.

“I grew up not just with financial support but I also had support emotionally and spiritually.  I can say that because of World Vision’s help, I can now make a difference in the lives of other children,” she adds.