“His Children will Have Refuge” – Proverbs 14:26

Holt President and CEO Phil Littleton and Brian Campbell, creative services director, tour a Holt-supported single mothers home in the Philippines _DSC0056

 

Smiling faces greet Phil Littleton, Holt president and CEO, and I as we pass through the gates of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF). A longtime partner, KBF has provided a wide variety of services to children and families of the Metro Manila area for over 37 years. This morning, KBF director Cherrie De La Rosa shares a PowerPoint presentation, discussing the comprehensive services.

The presentation begins with a single word, “Mothers.” “Brian, do you know why we begin here?” she asks in a teacher-like tone. “If you are going to do what is best for the child,” she says, “it will start with the mother.” KBF supports a holistic family approach to serving children in some of the poorest areas of Manila. “Today we will show you our single mothers home, Cherrie continues, “a place where young mothers can come and be provided with a safe and loving home for themselves and their babies. We provide support and healing on a social and spiritual level. Many come to us from such difficult circumstances, and we are here to love them and help them heal.”

After the moving presentation, Phil and I travel through town a bit and arrive at the single mothers home. In the tidy courtyard are several potted plants and vegetables. A table of goods crafted by the mothers is just outside the door. Baskets, dish soap and other handcrafted items are displayed in neat little patterns. As we walk in, I notice the wide age range of these young women. Our guide begins to share their emotional stories. Some are here due to abuse by a family member, others have been left by boyfriends, and others have stories that are still too difficult for them to share. Babies, some just a couple of weeks old, are in the arms of their mothers.

We observe a KBF volunteer sitting on a couch with a new mother, teaching her how to swaddle her newborn. The young mother reaches over her child and tucks the blankets around her baby with care and caution, still uncertain of just how much or how little she should move her baby. The volunteer, smiling and speaking in encouraging tones, guides the mother’s hands over the blankets until only the baby’s jet-black hair and sweet little face can be seen.  The young women at this home receive life skills training in an effort to better prepare them for life with a child. A lone housemother and a few volunteers guide the women, some as young as 16, in housekeeping methods such as cooking and making beds.

I am humbled by the extraordinary efforts of the volunteers here. These caring individuals serve as loving guides for these women in the most trying times of their lives.

As our tour comes to a close, I come across a 3-week-old baby lying in a bed. She has little mittens over her hands and a bright little blanket covering her. On top of the blanket is a rosary. Our guide tells me that this baby’s mother is always praying for wisdom for herself and her situation.

philippines-mom-childBefore we leave, the new mother stops by me and asks for a photo of her with her newborn. A sweet, yet sad smile passes across her face. “She is struggling as to what she should do,” translates the housemother. “Her future is uncertain.” I fumble, not knowing what to say to the struggling mother. As the housemother walks away from us, the new mother standing next to me begins to cry. I don’t know what to say to her. Would she even understand me? Putting all of my apprehensions aside, I simply ask her if we can pray together. And that’s what we do.

I don’t know what this young mother’s future holds or where she and her child will end up, but on this day, I know that she is with people who will lovingly encourage her, support her and pray for her.

By Brian Campbell | Creative Services Director

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Give your mother a truly meaningful gift this Mother’s Day.  Help a struggling mother in Holt’s care provide for her baby.  Click here.

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