Sunday, October 16, 2011

Filipino Association of PNG – always there for Tembari kids

Filipino comic Chubbylita duels with a guest from the Filipino community during Hatid-Saya 2011 dinner-concert featuring Manila performers Nina, The Soul Siren, Rowell Quizon and Chubbylita. The fundraising concert was spearheaded by the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG) headed by Tony Valdez, its president, for the benefit of Tembari children and Friends Foundation. - Photo by AP HERNANDEZ, Port Moresby, PNG/September 23, 2011

A Friend of Tembari Children

LAST WEEK, the Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) received a generous donation of K10,000 (US$4,315) to support its daily feeding activities for about 200 children under its care.

This funding came from the Filipino community in Port Moesby, through the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG) headed by Tony Valdez, its president.

The money was raised from the recent two-night Hatid Saya 2011 dinner-concert that featured three known entertainers from Metro Manila’s popular concert circuits, namely everybody’s favorite Nina, The Soul Siren, TV and recording star Rowell Quizon, and of course the ridiculously hilarious Chubbylita.

For all you know, K10,000 is no small money. In Philippine currency, it amounts to more than PHP180,000.00 and in US dollars, it is US$4,315.00.

Surely, the Tembari children are very lucky to receive this kind of assistance; this kind of money doesn’t come easy and doesn’t come to every soup kitchen and day care outfit.

There are some 15 soup kitchens within and outside Port Moresby and I know they have yet to receive this kind of assistance that Tembari is getting now.

The truth of the matter is that at the end of 2009, Tembari and the rest of these soup kitchens – community-based organizations (CBOs) providing meals to unfortunate children within the community they operate – were on the same boat – all of them were penniless and had a hard time providing decent meals to their beneficiary children.

Tembari could only provide meals, at the most, three times a week. And the meals that the kids ate were just kaukau (sweet potato), taro, sliced bread; and if lucky, the kids could have cordial drinks.

And in between these meal days, I did not know what the children ate.

However, at the start of 2010, the picture had changed for the better for Tembari kids, while the rest of their counterparts around Port Moresby did not.

It was at the beginning of last year when generous and kind donors started coming in, thus making a great change in the lives of the children.

They began having regular meals – from Monday to Saturday – of rice and tinned fish, if not tinned meat, and veggies. They have started to drink fresh milk as well.

And lately, with more food donations coming in, the kids, particularly our preschoolers now numbering 100, are having meals twice a day – that is noon time snacks and early dinner -- together with the rest of the older children, who come home in the afternoon from Port Moresby elementary schools they attended to everyday.

And they are now drinking clean water, which they can gulp to their heart’s desire – thanks to generous donor Pure Water company which delivers 20 containers (19 liters) of purified water each week.

Before this, the children did not have much clean water to drink after every meal.

And on their free time, the kids could watch children’s educational show and kiddy movies on DVD. This is the latest service that we provide them.

This has been made possible by support from our donors and benefactors.

Among them is the FAPNG.

For all you know, this had been the third occasion that the Pinoy association had come to help us.

It first began during the last year of Joey Sena’s FAPNG presidency in 2010, when it donated K5,000 raised from the same Hatid-Saya concert marking PNG’s independence, which fell on the month of September.

The Hatid Saya dinner concert has been FAPNG’s fundraising project each year to help charitable groups in Port Moresby and to fund its operations.

Joey has known the Tembari children even before his administration decided to help them financially.

Joey, on behalf of their family business Universal Ventures, donated materials to Tembari, which until now are still being used at the center.

The generous torch has been carried on by Tony Valdes when he assumed the leadership of FAPNG this year.

Early this year when they were planning to stage the yearly Valentine Day concert – also featuring Filipino performers – he and his officers agreed to donate K5,000.

Tony told the FAPNG officers of Tembari administration’s thankless job of providing for the needs of its children, who are abandoned, neglected and orphans – former street children in Oro settlement outside Port Moresby.

Then, FAPNG followed it up last week with a generous donation of K10,000 from the recent Hatid Saya fund-raising concert.

Just like Joey, Tony and two of his work colleagues at HiTRON – Jocelyn and Lourdes – have been, on their own, sending assistance to Tembari kids whenever they learned of their need for something, whether it is food or money.

It was quite funny because sometime last July, Tony had to ask my permission “if they – the FAPNG – could donate the proceeds of the Hatid Saya 2011 concert to Tembari”.

Who could refuse such an offer?

These past two years since I joined Tembari as volunteer worker, I have been looking for people who could give the children food, money and materials.

This has been my self-appointed job for the children.

When I decided to volunteer my time at the start of 2010, I promised the children (there were only 78) that I would look for people who could give them money, food and materials.

I found them as well as the goodies. But I can’t just stop looking.

The number of children has grown to 200, and so their needs for food and other services.

In the case of FAPNG, I did not look for them.

They offered to help.

And that’s really moving.

Thanks Tony… thanks FAPNG 2011-12 officers!!!

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