The organization’s vision is this: for every Filipino child to be provided a happy, safe, and fulfilling future. And as much as this mission sounds clear and simple, getting there is not. The road is long and full of challenges. But maybe with a few spared minutes as you go through this article and get to know Children’s Hour, that vision can be achieved.
The beginnings of Children’s Hour
Children’s Hour is a non-profit organization that focuses on the welfare and health of Filipino children. The organization was born in 1999 under the initiative of top businessman and International Youth Foundation (IYF) member Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala after taking part in a global movement that started in the UK in the same year.
That movement was called Children’s Promise, and their campaign was simple: that every participating individual or company donate the final hour of their salary for the year to projects that would improve the lives of less-fortunate children. The Philippines received overwhelming response, raising an incredible P30 million. Thus, Children’s Hour was born, and have been advocating better lives for Filipino children ever since.
Malnutrition in the Philippines is on the rise
According to Children’s Hour, malnutrition has been at the highest in the Philippines for the last ten years, with 3.4 million children who are stunted or short for their age, and over 300,000 children who are thin for their height. And as health and nutrition being one of the four focuses of Children’s Hour, alongside education, child welfare, and development, the organization has been actively seeking ways to fight this cycle of poor nutrition.
Malnutrition is a bigger issue than one may think. In many ways, malnutrition is connected to key societal issues of the country today. Poverty is one example. It affects many aspects of a child’s life, after all, and can sometimes have irreversible effects they can carry until adulthood. Poor nutrition can lead to poor mental and physical development, and as a result, affect one’s performance in school and outside of it. Poor nutrition can also lead to poor maternity health; malnourished girls will, in the future, give birth to malnourished children. And the cycle begins all over again.
As it seems, ending malnutrition doesn’t only result in healthy and happier kids; it also encourages a healthier and happier society, too.
What Children’s Hour has done so far
A lot. Since the organization was founded, Children’s Hour has been working hard in providing support to kids in marginalized sectors of society. In terms of nutrition, the organization has been all over the Philippines, from Luzon to Mindanao, providing Nutrition Programs particularly targeting malnutrition in children.
In their programs, providing healthy meals is only the first step; an important key to ending malnutrition is teaching families how to sustain a healthy practice in preparing food. Access to clean drinking water is also an issue—poor water quality is a common problem in low-income communities. Thus, education is also vital and is a part of the organization’s programs.
Children’s Hour, together with their partner Christian Mission Service Philippines (CMSP), also supports the Department of Education’s feeding programs by conducting complementary activities such as Deworming, Waste Segregation and Composting, and integration of Good Grooming and Personal Hygiene.
And these programs are working. Their health and wellness program had a 90 to 95% rate of undernourished children when the program started. Now, 77% of their beneficiaries have officially attained healthy and normal weight. And they believe they can achieve 100%, possibly with your help.
How you can join the fight
Currently, 125 kids in Naic, Cavite are being provided with healthy meals every day. The minimum daily budget to feed each child is P75, a well-balanced meal, consisting mostly of fish and vegetables. When budget permits, they get to serve more special meals, and sometimes fruits and meat. But prices of basic commodities continue to rise. And there are always more children to provide for, and not enough funds.
So, this holiday, in the spirit of Christmas, why not help out? An hour’s worth of your money, or your time, is enough to provide kids with healthy meals. Imagine if everyone pitched in just one hour’s worth of their yearly salary; imagine what we could achieve. We could put an end to malnutrition and save millions of kids.
Let’s get #HangryAboutHunger—if you would like to contribute to the cause, by donating or volunteering, head on over to www.childrenshour.org.ph/ for more information, or check out United for Healthier Kids (U4HK) on Facebook at www.facebook.com/u4hkPH/ .
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