Bacpat is Bacolod Patenkinder, a charity organization founded in 1982 by german journalist Uwe-Jens Schumann. I met Bacpat manager in Bacolod and asked her to present their statement and some of the projects I visited with her. Let her speak :
Every child has a dream … but not every child can fulfill those dreams. Poverty and misery can wipe away children’s dreams. That is why Bacolod Patenkinder sponsors children and aids families to build better lives for themselves.
Bacpat provides opportunities for disadvantaged children from poor families to acquire an education and have access to medical care, enabling them to become competent and motivated members of society. The foundation believes that given the chance, these are the children who will strive even harder to rise from the gutter and reach for the stars. Children are the hope of the world. We must continue investing in them.
Deaf school – Educational Resource Center
The Educational Resource Center is the only institution providing pre-school education for the deaf in Bacolod. On the first day that the children come to school, they are scared, unable to express themselves, and acting out. Their parents are also confused and overwhelmed, often full of feelings of guilt, and quite unsure about dealing with their child. They do not know how to communicate with each other. It is here at the center where deaf children find a safe place. It is not just all about learning to read and write and sign their ABC’s. It is here where they first learn to sign “mama” and “papa”, an acknowledgement that they do belong to a family. It is here where they first read Mama’s sign that “I love you.”
“Tangigue”, a Spanish mackerel, is a popular fish in the Philippines, widely loved because it tastes good in many ways – grilled, fried, boiled and as ceviche. In Bacolod, there is an infamous, notorious community whose claim to fame is the proliferation of gambling and drugs and the abundance of petty criminals who either live or hide there. As one goes deeper into the slum area, you will be caught in a maze of alleys and ditches, houses and tiangges (rolling stores), and a swarm of garbage and inhabitants, human and otherwise. Survival is the only way they know how to live. Most of the community folk earn a living as small fishermen. Go out into the sea when the weather is good. Drive a pedicab when the weather is bad. Or, just steal.
And yet, in the midst of this maze are families whose spirit shine brightly, undampened by the dark environs, the filth and notoriety. Fathers and mothers work hard to make a decent living (for example, by selling ice) and be models of goodness for their children. In these families, children learn that poverty is never an excuse. Deep down, they know they need to get out. Someday. Even as they live in hardship, these children still find the inspiration to do their best in school and hold on to their dreams: “…to be a teacher, …to be a nurse, …to be an engineer.” What keeps their dream alive is knowing there are people who believe in them. And for as long as they keep dreaming, Bacpat will dream with them. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Airport subdivision day-care center
The day care center takes care of more than 30 children aged 3-4 years old who come from poor families in the neighborhood. Here, children can play, learn, enjoy nutritious meals. They can draw and paint and enjoy freeplay with other children. They learn to wash their hands and brush their teeth. Parents and guardians are the teachers’ partners in their children’s care. They take responsibility for the vegetable garden whose produce are incorporated into the kids’ meals.