You can really make a difference to someone’s life.
Whilst in Cebu (Philippines) a few months ago we went to visit my good friends Elisabet Hansen and Marie Tangalin at Rise Above Foundation Cebu. Rise Above is a truly amazing not for profit organization, run entirely by volunteers, that give 100% of any donation direct to the cause.
I know there are so many charities, and a lot of dubious ones at that! but I can hand on heart say that I have been there and seen with my own eyes, what a beautiful difference they are making to people who need that helping hand, and how honest and genuine all the volunteers are that give their time freely to the center. Additionally, they support the community in ways that enable them to rise above poverty themselves, rather than being spoon fed, allowing them to take control, once given that helping hand or opportunity.
One such great thing they do, is run a Family care center run for children from the local community, which not only provides care and education for young children (thus allowing their mothers to go out and work to earn for the family), but also provide clean showers and food & water for them, as many of them come from large homes where food is scarce and showers are not available. All the teachers there are volunteers from Europe who give their time freely to come and teach the kids.
You might remember a few years back that I did a sponsored sky dive for Rise Above- that was specifically to help raise money for the center’s roof. After my donation, they kept campaigning, and raised the money that was needed. Mine was just a fraction of the total cost, but it goes to show- every little helps, and working together we can make change. It was a real pleasure to meet the children in person and see the difference that Rise Above are making to their daily lives.
Another great creative project that the center is running is the ‘Mothers at work’ bag making project. Jobs are hard to find in Cebu city for many, so in times of struggle it’s necessary to be creative and create opportunities. Using recycled rice bags, the women make incredible bags. They’ve even started making iPad cases and napkin holders! (I bought 2 iPad cases, one for me and one for my mum- it’s really useful and such a unique colourful design- strong too!)
This project has been so successful, that hotels are buying the products and making large orders. The women are really pleased with how it’s going, and this has literally changed their lives, enabling them to take control of their lives and support themselves and their families.
I could rave for ages about all the projects they do in Cebu- prison work, dental missions and much more. If you want to see more, do check out their website, for tons of content.
I’ll leave you with one more project that I would like to ask for your help on, if you can, whatever small amount- as every little small amount, together can help.
Dennis and Marites are a brother and sister that as well as being very poor, were also born with Osteogenesis imperfecta (Brittle Bones.) Dennis cannot walk, but Marites has taught herself to walk, although it can be painful and difficult. Their mother died some years back, and their father has heart problems, so it is up to Marites to work and support the family.
With a positive and entrepreneurial spirit, Marites is creating ways to support her family. One such way is making cards for special occasions. We bought a bunch of beautiful hand made cards while we were there, and they’re really nice! I’ve given 3 to friends already for birthdays and thank-you’s. What makes it extra special is the story behind them. We can’t wait to buy our next batch. When you give someone a card, it makes them feel appreciated, and added to that, at the same time you are giving something to Marites and her family. It’s a win-win situation!
Her brother Dennis (pictured below) is also a very talented artist. I caught a preview of his amazing pictures that he draws whilst lying down and drawing behind his head! The prints are in process now, and will share those on this blog also when ready and let you know how you can make your orders
Rise Above are currently trying to campaign to raise $10, 000 to help them build a new 2 storey house. This is to stop the flood ruining their house (as it does every flood season), and to enable them to rent out the other space, and ensure their stability for the future. Making cards and selling food can work for the short term, but long term they will need more to support one another.
If you would like to make a donation specifically towards this cause, you can do so via their website here, and pop them an email to let them know what you would like your money to go towards. Or perhaps you want to contact them about starting your own project to raise money and awareness for them –>
I would also like to encourage you to watch this video. It shows you another way Marites has found of making extra money for her family. Here you can get a glimpse of her very strong, pure and inspirational soul.
Together, bit by bit, we can make a difference.