Heaven knows how they are miserable now

In the aftermath of the strongest typhoon ever hiting the Philippines, we would probably find more and more children and their families living in the streets again. For those who luckily survived this calamity, the path to a brighter future is not already over ... warm thoughts to the filipino nation during that time of disaster suffering. We haven't forgotten you !

Indeed, the SDC children have been benefiting from many improvements. In addition to maintaining the activities that we have already implemented, we have helped to renovate and equip a dormitory which can now accommodate more healthily more or less twenty children (the youngest in priority) . We build colorful concrete beds and benches, made 9 twin bed size washable foam mattresses, put mosquitos screens and doors and finally repainted all the dorm in friendly colors coming along with a beautiful mural painting. That latters would surely give them more energy to develop theirs ideas to how to ponder their future. This dynamic support and active solidarity, thanks to the help of the City of Bacolod and local private partners , the center has been equipped with seven brand new showers and led lights in every rooms powered by panels solar. However, it remains further efforts and resources to be provided in order to complete the rehabilitation of the remaining damaged dormitories, especially the one for girls, and the creation of a kitchen and dining room. According to the future donations that we can raise, we would also like to allow a steady supply of hygiene and health items to the children, medical check-up and continue the educational and physical sports activities which will have undoubtedly a very positive impact on their behaviors and values acceptance.

New dormitory for having seet dreams !

Doc, I don't feel well but I want to go school !

Can I go and wash my room ?

I can no longer have a house ... and a street


Yolanda: A super typhoon too much famous yet - Exceptional relief mission

Access to drinking water is major problem right now

An umbrella as a shelter
Dear friends,

These terrible pictures speak for themselves, you can see what remains from places located in the passage of the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which hit the Philippines last November 8 ... With winds speed up to 200 mph and torrential rainfalls, in couple hours, Yolanda was able to destroy hundreds of thousands of homes, desolated entire crops in a row , isolated and deprived millions of households of water and electricity but also to take life of tens of thousands of people away ...

The Philippines has suffered its worst and strongest typhoon ever and to recover from it, that country would surely need a lot of time, a major national effort but also international assistance to treat this humanitarian crisis.

HOST –NGO’s mission in the Philippines is not intended to carry out emergency programs, but given the nature of the disaster, our local volunteers and partners joined to provide help and assistance relief, by collecting and routing foods, goods and medical supplies to overcome the shortcomings of the victims. Many areas all around the Philippines have been affected by the typhoon but to provide a reliable first emergency response according to the action perimeter of our team in Bacolod, this exceptional mission will take place and focus on assisting few villages in Bantayan, Santa Fe (Cebu), Sagay, Cadix (Negros) and Estencia (Panay).
Our objective in the few next coming weeks is to raise funds that can supply each respective municipality disaster reduction risk management team, mainly in some drinkable water, foods complements, medicines, gasoline, small generator, tarpaulins (or temporary shelters) for first aid and care disaster . All donation and goods given purposely through HOST- NGO will be donated directly to local institutions and NGOs in charge of the emergency plan either in cash or in kind to facilitate the logistics. HOST-NGO’s Volunteers will be deployed in disaster and will ensure that your funds are properly used and distributed to the victims. Besides, if you want you can also make your donation to other emergency organizations such as The Red Cross Philippines, the most important is to participate!

You can make a donation via the donation button on the right on this page (please specify typhoon in the donation object).
Please opt to our free newsletter then you will be given with a complete typhoon donation and project reports.
Some Post Yolanda pictures are also available on our HOST-NGO's Facebook page. Feel free to like and share this page.

Our Team in Bacolod - contact

Salamat Po !


33rd MassKara Festival: 20 days of non-stop fun only happening in Bacolod City!

The nationwide famous MassKara Festival is now happening in Bacolod City! The 2013 version opened on the first day of October and will end with the highlights of the MassKara street dance competition through October 18 to 20.

This year’s MassKara theme is “Rediscover and Celebrate Bacolod”. Negrenses are now preparing their fancy masks, colourful costumes and beautiful headdresses to dance in the streets on the drum beats. As it is Bacolod’s tradition, street dancing parties will be happening throughout the month of October. The City of Bacolod will be transformed in a giant party spot, where visitors from the whole nation and even from across borders will join the festivities. The dance contests will be organized at the Paglaum Stadium. The local schools will perform on October 18, followed by the competition of the barangays (city districts) on October 20.

As an historical ritual, Bacolod’s MassKara Festival first started in 1980 as the crisis hit the sugar cane industry all over the Province of Negros Island. Negrense farmers were strongly affected as sugar prices plunged due to a global fall in demand as sugar substitutes were introduced (high fructose corn syrup). Meanwhile a tragedy happened as two tankers carrying many Negrenses collided at sea and sank causing the loss of 700 lives. In the midst of these critical times, the local government and civic groups decided to hold a “smile festival” to prove that Negrense Filipinos could afford to smile in such heavy life events, which marked Bacolod City as the “City of Smiles”.


Bagis: the story of Filipino fishermen

For hundreds of years and since the arrival of the Spanish settlers, the wealth of Negros island, located in the region of Western Visayas in the Philippines, comes from the sugar cane. Despite this fact, many communities along the coast are using fishing activities as the main source of income. The local fishermen, who are poor and have little access to education, have to sustain their own needs and the needs of a growing population in this country. Mainly equipped with basic bancas (small wooden boats), they have been using for decades fishing techniques, which are harmful for the marine ecosystems: such as blast fishing , cyanide fishing, overfishing. The destruction of mangroves (facilitating fish breeding) for logging and the pressure coming from commercial fishing boats (always better equipped and very often nearly illegal) lead to a critical situation both for the environment and the communities who depend on it.

Actions are being carried out nationally and locally by different actors, which sometimes collaborate on that matter: NGOs, environmentalists, governmental organizations, associations, universities and individuals who are genuine nature lovers. These initiatives are dedicated to help the whole society to become aware of the situation, take responsibility and ultimately change the overall attitudes. A legislative arsenal has already been in place for many years to legally protect the most vulnerable population against the intensive exploitation of natural resources by companies which have limited concerns regarding wealth sharing.

Because of all these reasons, Simon Olivieri, one of our HOST-NGO volunteer involved in the projects implemented in Bacolod City for over a year now, has decided to launch a documentary film project: Bagis, which means shark in the local dialect. To conduct this open and collaborative work, Simon is supported by a team of four Filipinos, who are helping him to prepare and meet the local communities, and involve the persons who will be displayed in this documentary. Ebrahim Diallo, a French photographer, will join them for the shooting to be held over 25 days next November.

The movie will be an actual journey designed to meet with the communities who are facing these issues. It will also be the opportunity to introduce the actors who are helping them to improve their life by offering diversified livelihood activities and broadcasting useful information: on topics such as eco-tourism, sustainable fish farming techniques, better production management, enforcement of existing laws and environmental awareness. The project’s main objective is to highlight the stories of those who refrain from accepting poor living conditions and struggle to offer a better future for the next generations.

The project is mainly produced by Simon and Ebrahim but they need extra support from everyone wishing to help them covering the living costs during the shooting: transportation, accommodation, food and boat rental for a team of six members. To become a movie co-producer and find more information, click here: http://www.touscoprod.com/fr/project/shareActuality?id=3970


Positive feedback on CHR's involvement at the SDC

Since early August, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Bacolod City has been providing weekly services to the Social Development Center and the children taken into protective custody. This public organization, introduced in an article last month, has partnered with SDC and HOST-NGO. The CHR aims at raising awareness on children's rights and ensuring that these rights are fully observed within the center.

Following the first two months of this partnership, we have conducted a quick overview of the activities led by Mr. Romeo Baldevarona, CHR supervisor, and Mrs. Gina Alli, investigator and CHR officer. The first sessions have been dedicated to raising awareness on their own rights for every child catered at the SDC. The objective is to inform the children on their right for protection, especially in case of child abuse or exploitation committed by adults. The issue of child labour and child trafficking was also discussed by the CHR members and the children at the SDC. These activities showed to be perfectly adapted to the youth's needs and challenges as many of them have a disadvantaged social background and have been facing such issues. Our young beneficiaries have been carefully listening to the various testimonies and advice, and even shared their own experience with the other participants.

The CHR has also been conducting two sessions on individualized legal support targeting the children in conflict with the law who are dealing with a court case. This activity aims at informing each targeted child on his/her particular situation, rights and duties, so that he/she understands the issues at stake and take the necessary decisions to fulfill his/her own interests. As of today, a dozen young people have been supported thanks to the CHR's useful explanation and advice, in addition to the daily follow-up provided by SDC's social workers.

The coming activities will be dedicated to carry on this awareness project while working on another important topic: staff training on issues related to child-rights protection. Seminars will be held by the CHR members to help SDC's team to offer better services to answer the specific needs of their young beneficiaries and reduce the risk of child abuse.


“Adopt a tree” – HUGPONG’s first eco-friendly activity

HUGPONG, our local group gathering volunteers' organizations, participated into a tree planting activity last Saturday. The Mayor of Don Salvador Benedicto invited HUGPONG organization to join a project called “Adopt a tree”. The municipality has indeed designed an environmental program designed to promote forest preservation in a participatory approach. It is dedicated to ensure a fresh, pollution-free and cool environment for every inhabitant in Don Salvador’s area.

The tree planting activity encourages the local community to engage itself for the protection of the environment. Indeed every interested person has the opportunity to support the city’s eco-friendly program with the symbolic “purchase” of a tree to be planted in a designated area. The current area is located along the road going to San Carlos (western coast of Negros Island), which is approximately an one-hour drive from Bacolod City.

As a not-for-profit organization, HUGPONG has been offered one of the pine trees to be planted during the first ceremony held on September 14th. The second batch of trees will be planted next December. Nearly one hundred people attended to witness and/or participate into the tree planting activity. The trees had been purchased for one thousand pesos (€17) by individuals, companies, associations as a donation dedicated to the protection of the environment. It showed the commitment of the community members to preserve the nature and the eco-system and raise awareness on this sensitive issue. As a member of Hugpong, HOST-NGO joined the event along with local volunteers from LEAD (League for Environmental Advocate for sustainable Development) and Warriors for Peace. The students association of Saint La Salle University and the Artists Association of Bacolod also planted their own trees. A total of 50 trees were planted by the participants. The formal ceremony was followed by a friendly lunch organized by the Mayor in a building owned by the Department of Education (DepEd) in Don Salvador.


A sustainable partnership with PEACE CORPS

Since the departure of Daniel, our former Peace Corps volunteer who dedicated eight months of his mission within the SDC, we were impatient to hear about her or his successor. Her name is Terry and she will join us in Bacolod City in a few weeks only. We will publish a detailed profile as soon as she has settled down.

As an historical background, the Peace Corps were established in 1961 by Senator John F. Kennedy with the initial goal of promoting peace and friendship. He called on American youth to give back to their country by living and working in developing countries. The Peace Corps’ mission has the following objectives: helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, and helping promote better mutual understanding of the Americans and the communities served. Peace Corps Philippines is the organization’s second oldest program. Back in 1961, there were 130 volunteers assigned in the Philippines as teachers of English language, mathematics and science. As of today, over 8,000 volunteers have served in the Philippines in broader fields. The ultimate purpose of Peace Corps is to foster world peace and friendship through cross-cultural contact and collaborative development efforts.

Bacolod City, with the support of Virlanie Foundation and HOST-NGO [via the People-Private-Public Partnership], successfully requested last year the assignment of a Peace Corps volunteer to support the SDC. Daniel has been the first volunteer to join the programme under implementation within the frame of our SDC project. His main responsibilities were to ensure the sound implementation of the activities at SDC, while sharing his expertise in the field of psychological support. Along with our team, the Peace Corps volunteer aims at fulfilling the needs of the most vulnerable kids based on the most efficient and sustainable approach.

Upon Daniel’s return to the US, it was essential to assign a new volunteer whose mission inside the SDC is important for the time being. Terry has been assigned by Peace Corps organization and after a three-month training in the Philippines, she will arrive to Bacolod City around September, 19th. We are looking forward to meeting her and introducing her to our beneficiaries and to her new teammates!

Daniel with one of our beneficiaries at the SDC


Profile of our social work trainees at the SDC

Katherine Joyce, Lyka and Sherrish are three students, aged around 20 years old, registered in 3rd year of social work at the University of UNO-R in Bacolod City. They are currently undergoing a practical internship within the SDC. Involved into the center four half-day sessions per week over a whole semester, they follow the daily life of the most disadvantaged children of Bacolod City. «Our mission aims at assisting the SDC staff to empower the vulnerable children and the children in conflict with the law through case work activities. Our goal is to promote their social functioning as individuals, to instil good values to them, and render other activities, such as educational film showing followed with debates, group dynamics, lectures on self-discipline, etc.».

They shared that they felt a bit nervous at the beginning of their internship though they were fully confident about their mission objectives. «We had already visited the SDC with our teacher and our classmates, and we had the opportunity to exchange with the former trainees and share their experience. That is why we were familiar with this new work environment and we were impatient to start implementing on the field what we learned at the university.»

The young beneficiaries of the SDC are often marginalized due to their fragile social situation (children living and/or working in the streets) or their problems facing the law (young delinquents). The lack of information related to their specific issues often leads to the community members feeling frightened by them. Katherine Joyce, Lika and Sherrish know the children now and they feel empathy and concerns for them. «We try to help them solving their daily issues and improving their vision of life. The main purpose of the SDC is to fulfill the basic needs of the children in order to offer them a better life», they explained. They added that «most of the children at the center lack of support and guidance from their family; some of them are even deprived of it. It is then essential for us to address these needs the best we can, and build a relationship based on trust and honesty with them. In addition, we have to work with the families in order to create or improve the family bonds, which the children need to develop themselves ».

When asked on their motive to study social work, the students explained that they want to help the people in need and empower them, as it is challenging and exciting. They also want to provide good services and programs for the welfare of the communities. The mission of these young and dynamic women at the SDC is a real illustration of the achievements generated by the partnership with UNO-R. 

HOST-NGO team wishes them success and fulfillment in their future professional life!


A new step toward the rehabilitation of the SDC

The rehabilitation of the SDC, which was planned by the city of Bacolod earlier this year, has been ongoing over the past few months. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of SDC's Center Head, the city engineers and Virlanie-Bacolod team, the achievements will help lifting up the living conditions of the children by improving the level of comfort and hygiene within the SDC.

Over the past few weeks, the electrical system has been repaired. Solar panels have been installed to supply part of the daily needs of the center. The comfort rooms have been unclogged and repaired, and new showers are ready to be used. The shower room has been built outside the dormitory building in order to facilitate its monitoring and maintenance. All year long the sun is rising down quite early in the Philippines and the lighting will clearly change the dark and long evenings.

New shower rooms at the SDC

Following these improvements, the safety level has been reinforced within the whole compound and especially in the dormitory. The mission of SDC's house parents during night shifts has been facilitated for the direct benefit of the most vulnerable children. An other direct outcome is the sustainable implementation of the aïkido activity program, led by volunteers from Warriors for Peace, a local NGO. The sessions are now being held every Thursday evening. The activity room, which is located on the first floor of the dormitory building, has been renovated last May and is now equiped with electricity. It is the perfect environment to hold aikido activities and enable the self-development of each child participating into this program.

SDC's new activity room
This crucial step toward a successful rehabilitation of the SDC follows the ongoing actions which have been implemented by Virlanie-Bacolod team for two years already. Every accomplishment will help the SDC complying with the environmental requirements which apply to the Philippines. 

As a consequence, it will help reaching a higher level of safety and well-being for our disadvantaged children in Bacolod City!


The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) partners with SDC in Bacolod City

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is a public institution dedicated to protect human rights, which shall be guaranteed by the Philippines Constitution itself. It holds two different mandates: to investigate in the case of suspicion of human rights violation, and to run information and education public campaigns to address the issue of human rights protection. 

It is within this frame that the CHR in Bacolod City has decided to organize activities designed to improve child rights protection within the SDC starting this month. Upon meeting the team and beneficiaries of the Social Development Center, the CHR representative in Bacolod City, Mr. Romeo Baldevarona, showed a great interest to help dealing with the issues faced by the children as well as their families. 

His team will hold awareness sessions for the children at the SDC to help them understand their rights for protection, in an attempt to reduce the risks of abuse, violence, or traffic that might affect them. The Commission will also address the children’s families to empower them in their capacity to protect their children’s interest as best as they can. In addition, the staff of SDC will also have the opportunity to participate into seminars on child rights protection to be applied in special care institutions, such as the Social Development Center. This capacity building objective is directly linked with the goal of sharing skills and experience between the local actors involved in child care. The expected outcome should allow the enhancement of the services provided by the SDC, which will better match the individual development of each and every child.

At last, but not least, the CHR has committed to offer legal support to the children in conflict with the law and their families, who might need specific assistance to understand the legal proceedings and be able to assert their rights as minors or legal representatives of the child. This comprehensive range of services proposed by the CHR will help building a major partnership, along with the existing actors involved for several months already. We are looking forward to witness very soon the achievements in terms of child rights promotion and respect to result from this new collaboration!


GlobalGiving team visits us in the Philippines

HOST-NGO has recently become a member of GlobalGiving community upon succeeding the fundraising challenge last April. GlobalGiving works closely with their members to ensure optimal transparency and reliability for each one of the projects promoted via the GlobalGiving online platform. Every other year, a team of volunteers is sent on the field to visit all the member organizations of its community. In addition, GlobalGiving provides online fundraising tools, one-on-one strategic support, and the opportunity to connect with a vast network of individual donors and corporate partners, including Nike, Dell, HP.

This year, the Philippines were on the agenda of GlobalGiving team. HOST-NGO received a few weeks ago the visit of two young volunteers representing GlobalGiving. We spent two days introducing them with our organization, touring them around the city of Bacolod, and showing them our projects and beneficiaries. Ana and Sandra, future graduates of Georgetown University, Washington DC, were assigned by GlobalGiving to visit all the partners based in the Philippines and report on their project as well as assist them to enhance their sustainability. Our team brought them on the field to better understand our activities and the issues at stake for the vulnerable youth and disadvantaged communities.

In Bacolod City, a workshop was also organized by GlobalGiving volunteers with the support of our team. The objectives were to train new organizations on how to expand their network, engage relationship with donors, and develop a successful online fundraising strategy. A dozen participants representing eight different non-profit organizations (Ikaw-Ako, CheckMySchool, Sustained Actions, Federation of Urban Poor in Negros Occidental, ALDC, NOBCP, Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation, HOST-NGO) joined the workshop and shared their experience and aspirations in the field of community development. It was a great opportunity to network with new potential partners while revising our fundraising strategy to be more successful!

HOST-NGO team and beneficiaries would like to thank GlobalGiving, in particular Sandra and Ana, who were eager to meet us and provide their support and feedback for the benefit of the local communities in need. We hope to meet them again soon!


Soon: a documentary showing our projects in the Philippines

From July 8th to 15th, our team warmly welcomed Victorien and Virginie over a week in Bacolod City. Our French friends wished to contribute to our development program to show their interest and consideration to the issues addressed by HOST-NGO in the Philippines. Their visit emphasizes the spirit of our organization, encouraging everyone to join and apply his/her own “TOUCH” by sharing with us passion, knowledge and/or skills.

The mission of Victorien and Virginie aimed at designing a video documentary dedicated to illustrate the projects implemented in the Philippines and promote our activities to the public. HOST-NGO would like to foster the involvement of mew volunteers and also introduce our work environment and our beneficiaries to current and potential partners and donors.

Several shooting sessions were organized throughout Bacolod City and at the Social Development Center, to show the life and issues encountered by the children currently or previously taken in care by  the SDC. This video will present the local environment and constraints, especially the challenges faced by the street children. Meanwhile, it will allow to testify the progress made to help the vulnerable children, mainly thanks to the various actions implemented in collaboration with our local partners. Or course, we also want to share with the public the remaining milestones in a realistic but optimistic way!

Victorien V. is a French young and promising film director. He already proved his talent in two short films made in Burkina Faso, which have both been nominated in 2012 and 2013 Cannes Film Festival (Short Film Corner). His first movie, Living in Tengrela, has received the jury's “Coup de Coeur” in 2012. Virginie, his life partner, works as a first assistant. She shares her artistic fine taste and sensitivity to let this new challenge be a full success, besides her life partner, Victorien.

Our team and beneficiaries would like to give a warm “SALAMAT” (thank you) to Victorien and Virginie for their involvement and generosity. We hope to be able to continue our adventure with their loyal support. HOST-NGO would like to wish them a great journey and the achievement of their respective projects!


Education & learning to build a sustainable future for the youth

9:30am at the SDC: a group of children is heading to the classroom with their individual school pack (notebook, pen and paper). After eating their breakfast, they get ready to participate into the educational program proposed within the frame of the Alternative Learning System (ALS), launched last January at the SDC.

Three half-days a week, the children taken in care by the SDC over a long period of time, have access to specific learning modules: language (Tagalog), mathematics, history, etc. Two teachers assigned by the Department of Education (DepEd), Jayson and Carlito, are preparing the children to take an exam next October. The objective is to ensure the continuity of education for every child, in order to facilitate his/her reintegration into the formal education system upon exiting the SDC, and to ensure his/her future professional success. Some of the young participants will soon be transferred to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY), located on Guimaras Island, and run by the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD). They will be able to continue the educational program at the RRCY, and enhance the knowledge gained at the SDC.

In order to maximize their chance to pass the future exam, the SDC local team is organizing study time sessions, three times a week, to complete the ALS program. The house parents are responsible to help the children reviewing the topics taught by the teachers from DepEd. “There are only 14 weeks left before the exam”, Jayson told the children this week, raising their concern on the upcoming challenge. Building a sustainable future is a tricky process for our young beneficiaries, who are now on the way to becoming active and responsible citizens, thanks to the Alternative Learning System at the SDC!


Bacolod City’s legal authorities to care for SDC’s children

Last June, the SDC welcomed Hon. Judge Anita Chua and her staff for a short visit. Judge Chua is one of the three judges who are in charge of handling the court cases of the children in conflict with the law (CICL) at Bacolod City’s Hall of Justice. Since juvenile detention was separated from adult detention a few years ago, Judge Chua has been witnessing the evolution and progress done at the SDC as well as the difficulties encountered. This visit was the opportunity to assess the living conditions of the kids on a daily basis, and the range of services and activities offered to them by the center and by our partners.

Children in conflict with the law usually face the Court every two months for judicial proceedings related to petty crimes. Judge Chua’s initiative to meet with them in their current living environment shows her will to consider them in the early stage of becoming individuals who need guidance, follow-up and support, definitely not a life sentence. Judge Chua acknowledged there the efforts generated by the center to provide the children with activities promoting education and individual development, i.e. a critical prerequisite to the success of their future rehabilitation.

To celebrate her visit, the children organized a welcoming show with the creative support of the three current social worker trainees from UNO-R, one of our main partners. The ‘Music Day’ atmosphere was re-created by the children who entertained the Judge and her staff with a joyful choreographed dance, and who were warmly thanked by the audience for this sweet attention.

There are currently around 10 children in conflict with the law who are waiting for the proceeding of their court case in order to be enrolled into a rehabilitation program. One of our main objectives is to provide these kids with services aiming at starting their rehabilitation process via education, training, listening and guidance, as well as empowerment, right upon their admission at the SDC.


Learning good hygiene & sanitation at SDC

Within the frame of our rehabilitation project conducted at the Social Development Center (SDC) in Bacolod, our team has been devoting increasing time and energy to help the local staff building a safer and healthier environment and a particular focus has been set on nutrition and sanitation. In partnership with the City of Bacolod, toilets and shower rooms are now under construction at the center. Thanks to the support of Fondation Ensemble and HOST-NGO’s fundraising campaigns, the dorms will also soon be renovated and the kitchen should follow. As part of our waste and water management program implemented at the SDC, Annie D., HOST-NGO volunteer specialized in education and childcare, has been conducting a mission of two weeks in June, which emphasized on addressing the children’s hygiene issues and offering training support to the local team around four topics: hygiene & sanitation awareness, education & social development, waste management, as well as team building and training.

 Related to hygiene and sanitation, the overall objective was to encourage a healthy daily behaviour to prevent common diseases (such as food-borne and water-borne diseases). Several activities were organized by our volunteer along with the three UNO-R social workers trainees and the SDC team on that topic. The design of posters, games, drawings, and other recreational activities helped raising the children’s awareness on the importance of personal hygiene and sanitizing. 

To complement this thematic, another set of activities was proposed to the children on issues related to waste management and recycling: what are the different types of waste, how can we collect and dispose of waste, how can we reuse waste, etc. The children designed posters representing the different forms of organic and non-organic waste and the processing and sorting of these waste items. For instance, the children learnt what kind of waste can be transformed as fertilizer and can be used in the garden.

Finally, our HOST-NGO volunteer focused on providing the street children, who are SDC’s most vulnerable children in terms of lack of education and childcare, with educational activities dedicated to promote their individual development. Activities such as origami, drawing and writing, collective games aimed at enhancing their knowledge and social skills while opening their mind and curiosity.

It was overall a great success especially for the street children, often the youngest of the center, who really enjoyed Annie’s daily visits over these past two weeks. She devoted great energy and positive attitude, which was much appreciated by SDC’s staff and our own team!

HOST-NGO wishes to welcome many more committed volunteers, who can involve with us on their own time, sharing their own skills. Feel free to contact our team if you wish to participate into this exciting adventure! contact@host-ngo.org


Youth Home building finally starting!

The construction works for the Youth Home started last April in Bacolod City. The first phase of this project includes the building of the dormitories and the sanitation facilities to accommodate the first 30 young beneficiaries. A windmill, which functions as a water pump run by the energy from the wind, will enable to provide drinkable water into the facilities. The solar panels to be used for the dormitories’ lighting have already been provided and the annex has also been built.

The construction of the administrative building and the building dedicated to the multi-purpose area and the dining hall should follow, along with the wetland system used for waste water management. The design of the facilities and equipments has been drafted in collaboration with a volunteer from HOST-NGO, Amélie A., consultant in renewable energies. Over her one-month mission in the Philippines last year, she conducted an on-field assessment and shared her feedback on how to enhance the use of natural resources while preserving the environment.

The City of Bacolod has planned a budget of PHP 3 Million (around €55,000) to fund the following phases. HOST-NGO supports the local authorities to search for public and private partners in order to ensure the construction of the whole Youth Home, and enable the operating of the center at the earliest.

Whether you are interested to help us finance or achieve this project, feel free to contact us and we will share with you the project’s specific needs: contact@host-ngo.org


Significant support from the Fondation Ensemble!

A partnership agreement has just been finalized with the Fondation Ensemble (http://www.fondationensemble.org/) with the intent to offer a financial support of €12,000 for 2013-2014 dedicated to the rehabilitation project led by HOST-NGO at the Social Development Center (SDC).

The Fondation Ensemble is a private foundation, state-approved in France since its establishment in 2004. Its mission is to promote a sustainable human development, i.e. integrating environmental protection, in every supported project. The Foundation is involved in six intervention sectors, under the sign of sustainable development: water, sanitation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energies, eco-habitat, and biodiversity conservation. In partnership with NGOs and funding organizations, the Foundation supports projects in direct relation to the needs of the populations: projects with measurable impacts over time and which promote local capacity building, and innovative projects whenever the context allows it.

This new partnership will enable to fulfil the following objectives:
1. To improve access to water and sanitation to fit child rights policies in terms of health protection and overall well-being;
2. To adapt the water systems to the actual needs of the children and to environmental constraints;
3. To increase nutrition and food security (involving proper food production and consumption processes) in order to reduce major diseases in link with poor water and waste management (mainly food-borne and water-borne diseases);
4. To reach financial sustainability throughout the management of natural resources and eco-friendly livelihood alternatives;
5. To reach environmental sustainability thanks to the implementation of an eco-friendly approach in the whole functioning of the SDC;
6. To prevent and raise awareness on major environmental issues.
Direct beneficiaries of this project are the children catered at the SDC, mainly the street children and the youth in conflict with the law. The center accommodates over 500 children every year. This intervention will also address the local staff working at the SDC, including both educational and administrative teams, i.e. an average of 30 employees.

On behalf of the community of Bacolod CityPhilippines, we would like to warmly thank the Fondation Ensemble for its commitment toward the vulnerable youth! We hope to be welcoming their team members on the field in order to introduce them with the beneficiaries of the project and show them the significant impact of their support.


What’s new at the SDC?

Thanks to ALL OF YOU, our amazing friends and supporters, we raised over US$6,000 during Global Giving Open Challenge last April. However our fundraising campaign is not over yet as our final goal is to reach US$20,000 in order to successfully support the street children in Bacolod City, Philippines.

Since the beginning of the year, we have been able to design and conduct educational and recreational activities, which are vital for the individual development of these kids. At the Social Development Center (SDC), we have facilitated the launching of the Alternative Learning System (ALS). It aims at providing out-of-school children with basic education in order to enable their future reintegration into the formal education system. Besides, tutoring sessions, film and documentary showing are completing the ALS program. A comprehensive vocational training & lifeskills program has also been designed and offers the children various activities such as: macramé, cooking/food processing, organic gardening, mats making, etc. Art, music and dance therapy, aikido and other sports activities have been introduced and/or reinforced to specifically promote the individual physical and emotional development of the kids. In addition, psychology support is provided to enhance the children's creativity, cooperation and thinking skills, helping on their social and emotional concerns, regaining their self-esteem and facilitating their social integration, teaching them about their social roles and responsibilities, and developing coping skills.

Our team has been devoting time and energy to help the local staff building a safer and healthier environment and a particular focus has been set on nutrition and sanitation. In collaboration with the city authorities, toilets and shower rooms are under construction at the SDC, while the dorms will soon be renovated, along with the kitchen. A waste and water management program is being designed to allow better sanitation conditions and prevent the common diseases affecting the children in the Philippines. An activity room has also been renovated at the center and it is a perfect match for aikido practice as it requires a calm and remote setting.

As part of our specific program to help the street children, a new HOST-NGO volunteer will be conducting this month a mission of two weeks emphasizing on answering these kids’ needs and offering training and support to the team on-field. The mission objectives will include four thematics: hygiene & sanitation awareness, education & social development, waste management, as well as team building and training.

June 12th, 2013: Global Giving Bonus Day

Global Giving is launching a Partner Rewards Bonus Day this Wednesday, June 12th. Online donations of up to $1,000 per donor, made to our project “Remove 500 Filipino children from the streets”, will be matched 30% starting at 9:00 am EDT (3:00 pm in France) on June 12th and ending at 11:59 pm on the same day (5:00 am on June, 13th in France).
If you wish to support our project dedicated to the street children, you can donate via the following link: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/remove-500-children-from-the-streets-in-philippines
Global Giving will be matching $0.30 each and every dollar donated online during that timeframe. For instance, a donation of $100 will be raised to $130 by Global Giving… So do not hesitate to take advantage of this Bonus Day to help the disadvantaged children in the Philippines!

HOST-NGO team and beneficiaries would like to warmly thank you in advance for your generous and loyal support!


Bringing good vibes to the SDC!

Our friend and artist, Kalayo (“fire” in Hiligaynon, one of the local dialects spoken in the Philippines), offered to share his positive energy to help the children to express themselves at the SDC. His goal was to awake their self-consciousness via various therapy methods: dancing on percussions, freestyle dancing, group dance games and relaxing inner dance.

Every activity session held by Kalayo starts with a speech to discuss on who we are and how to try to find the answers to our questions, which are hidden inside our own mind. Then on the beat of the drum the children start to release their stress, feeling more comfortable with themselves as well as with the others. Some dance games were quite appreciated by our young participants, especially whenever they had to partner to participate into mirror dancing, or whenever they were asked to imitate animals.

Kalayo is using his energy flow to introduce the children to the concept of “inner dance”, which aims at leading to an intuitive exploration of the true self through increased self-awareness of the body, the mind and the emotions, which are transformed as energy. The three workshops already held had an amazing positive impact as the children expressed one by one their feelings following the various sessions: “I feel relieved”, “I think I understood something today about my situation, how can I know more?”, “I want to keep this positive feeling!”, “It was an unexpected experience, can we do it again?”.

The good vibes were definitely spread throughout the SDC. The children even showed their deep appreciation of Kalayo’s involvement at the SDC with a warm group hug when the latter was about to leave the premises. We are sincerely hoping that Kalayo will be able to come back for further sessions at the SDC according to his busy schedule.


« Pauline nag balik ! » (Pauline is back !)

Pauline, our human rights coordinator, is now back to Bacolod for a new volunteering mission. Last year she volunteered for eight months with us and sadly had to leave the Philippines in November. After spending a few months in France she decided to come back and continue her fulfilling mission. Our team is delighted to have her glamorous smile and charming accent back to Bacolod. However the region of the Pyrenees had to say goodbye to her once more…

Her legal background will be useful to keep providing support in terms of individual legal counselling to the social workers at the SDC. She will also take an essential role within the frame of our rehabilitation program dedicated to support the children at risk and street children in Bacolod City. She will indeed focus on a new aspect of the program: the prevention of juvenile delinquency and child abuses in the community. The objective is to be able to reach out to the barangays (city districts) and coordinate with the local leaders in order to design and operate efficient diversion programs. The children targeted will be enrolled in a comprehensive program aiming at reintegrating them into the community and preventing further threats and/or misconducts. The goal will also be to reinforce the participation of the community members and raise their awareness in dealing with issues affecting the children and youths. This community-based initiative should encourage the citizens to actually get involved in reducing juvenile delinquency and child abuses.

While our team welcomed back this former volunteer, we had to thank another volunteer who left us after six months of devoted work. Tiphaine N. helped HOST-NGO to design and implement a monitoring and evaluation program. Her achievements help us assessing the impact of our intervention throughout the running projects and activities. She also took care of accounting and book keeping to lighten our administrative constraints. The children of the SDC will particularly miss her as she was always willing to visit them and enjoy Hiligaynon (local dialect) conversations with them.

HOST-NGO team is always excited to hear about new people willing to volunteer whether it is for a short or a longer period of time. If YOU are interested by our projects and think that you would be able to share some knowledge and skills with us, DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US (contact@host-ngo.org or http://www.host-ngo.org/contact2). We will be more than happy to consider your proposition!


Rotary Club to support our beneficiaries in the Philippines

The Rotary Club of Bacolod North invited HOST-NGO team to present its organization and program last Wednesday (May 15th) thanks to the introduction from a member of the club. Sara Vial, Co-Founder and Social Development Manager of HOST-NGO and Ton-Trong Ho, Co-Founder President and Program Manager of HOST-NGO, explained to a dozen members of the club, including the ongoing Vice-President and incoming President, the purpose of our activities in the Philippines. Following that presentation, a discussion related to partnership opportunities was held.

The idea of partnering with Rotary Clubs was raised since our team met and became friends with a few Rotarians from Bacolod City. We also got the chance to meet with the upcoming President of the Rotary Club of Bacolod Central, which led us to think of partnering with the club. 

This collaboration could help us grow our network of partners, as well as enhance the support we are offering to the vulnerable children and communities in the Philippines. It is indeed a great opportunity since Rotary Club has representatives all around the world. In Bacolod City, there are already eight clubs and there are over 500 clubs nationwide, i.e. over 17,000 Rotarians.

On Friday, May 17th, our program managers were invited to introduce our organization in front of all the incoming Presidents of the Rotary Clubs from Bacolod City and its surroundings. Each club is now considering how its members could involve into our projects as part of their respective community service program. We will soon propose to the clubs a list of needs to be fulfilled and the relevant activities which could be implemented with their support. 

This seems to be the beginning of a strong and sustainable collaboration!


Local, national and provincial elections held on May 13th in the Philippines

Since January 13th, politicians have been campaigning for the nationwide elections dedicated to elect mayors, vice-mayors and councillors. Last Monday, May 13th, the campaign came to an end after four lively months. Local elections were held in every city and municipality throughout the Philippines on the same day and on the same ballot as national and provincial elections (senators, congressmen and provincial governors). On these one-day mid-term polls, over 52 million citizens were eligible to vote for a total of more than 18,000 positions.

In Bacolod City, Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson (NPC/Grupo Progreso) faced former Congressman Monico Puentevella (Independent/MKK) for the position of Bacolod City Mayor. With 105,685 votes against 90,614, Puentevella was proclaimed the new city mayor by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) board of canvassers on Tuesday, May 14th.

The twelve winning councillors were also proclaimed winners by the Comelec, including councillors Em Ang, Ann Marie Palermo, Bobby Rojas, Caesar Distrito and Carl Lopez among others.

Outgoing Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia (NPC/GP) was proclaimed congressman while Greg Gasataya won as Vice Mayor of Bacolod City.


Global Giving Open Challenge: it is YOUR success!

The Global Giving Open Challenge is now over and thanks to you all, we have been able to raise 6,254 USD in only ONE MONTH! Our 65 donors allowed our organization, HOST-NGO, to become a permanent partner in the Global Giving community.

Global Giving is a charity fundraising website based on crowdfunding, which gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise money to improve their communities. We now have the opportunity to fully access their fundraising tools and services, which will greatly enhance our financial capacity and help expanding our on-field intervention.

Despite the end of the challenge, the trip is not over. The road to happiness for everyone is long and bumpy. But we all believe that we can achieve a lot with the support of all these great individuals!

HOST-NGO team is still looking for donations to implement the project focusing on supporting the street children of Bacolod City in the Philippines. The donations raised will be dedicated to reinforcing the rehabilitation opportunities available to help the street children and the children at risk to access better living conditions: access to accommodation facilities, fulfilment of their basic needs, education and training, health and medical care, etc. Our final fundraising goal is indeed to reach US$ 20,000 in order to be able to effectively address the critical issues faced every day by the children in the streets.

If you are willing to support this project, you may follow the link below. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information on this initiative. We wish to warmly thank you all, our precious current and future donors, for your generous and essential support!


Proposition of partnership with Enfants du Mekong (EDM)

Enfants du Mekong (EDM) is a French non-profit organization offering support to extremely poor children and families who live in South East Asia. EDM aims at educating, training and following children and youth in order to allow them to improve their living conditions and to facilitate their intellectual, emotional and psychological development. Its intervention is focused on seven countries: Vietnam, Thailand, Lao, Myanmar, Cambodia, China and Philippines. The support is based on individual sponsoring dedicated to help the children and youth to cover education expenses. EDM also proposes a collective sponsoring plan designed to support a school, a family unit, or a group of children. In terms of implementation, EDM allocates the sponsoring funds to different programs run by its local representatives. As of today, there is a total of 60,000 children under support from EDM and over 21,000 being sponsored by the organization.

Beginning of April, HOST-NGO formulated a partnership proposal to EDM in order to reinforce the support offered at the SDC. Following our proposition, Marie, the local coordinator for Negros area, came to visit the SDC project in Bacolod City. Marie was able to meet with our team as well as SDC's local team, in particular with Paolo, one of the two social workers in charge of the individual follow-up of the children in conflict with the law.

We also discussed about details related to the possibility of setting-up individual and collective sponsoring schemes. Two types of support have been requested so far to EDM: a school sponsorship for children and youth exiting SDC and reintegrating their families, and a collective sponsorship dedicated to fund the educational and social activities within the SDC. It seems that the first proposition would be the easiest to implement according to the current strategy of EDM. However, the local coordinator of EDM still needs to report on her on-field visit to her managers, prior to reaching any concrete agreement. We are all hoping that the partnership comes to a reality within the end of the year!


A success story: UNO-R students supporting SDC kids

The summer holidays have started as it is getting increasingly hot in the Philippines. The first batch of UNO-R students have now completed their volunteering mission at the SDC. Over the last six months, two social worker students, two psychology students, and a group of criminology students have put a lot of energy in supporting the SDC.

The psychology trainees spent time and devotion for the SDC children within a comprehensive support program, which included various objectives: enhancing the children's creativity, cooperation and thinking skills, helping on their social and emotional concerns, regaining their self-esteem and facilitating their social integration, teaching them about their social roles and responsibilities, and building coping skills. The skilled and passionate young social workers offered their dedicated and tailored support to the children. They worked on developing their physical and creative skills, assisting the children’s concerns regarding the status of their legal cases, helping them to reconcile with their families, and also emphasizing on the importance of education. Also, the criminology students effectively helped to improve the children's awareness on legal enforcement and childrights, to develop the children’s physical skills through sports activities, as well as to ensure the children's safety and security within the center.

A 'despedida' (local dialect for 'farewell') was organized at the end of their placement at the SDC last month. The Peace Corps volunteer, deployed at the center, along with Virlanie and HOST-NGO team, awarded the students with certificates of appreciation. This farewell party was quite emotional as the kids thanked them for their involvement and gave them plenty of hugs! The University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) also organized a recognition ceremony for their partners, which include the SDC. As a fully involved organization at the SDC, our team was requested to share with the audience the importance of the students' resources dedicated to this public center, and to explain how the People-Private-Public Partnership (PPPP) concept could benefit to every stakeholder.

Our team is now looking forward to welcome the next batch of UNO-R students in June to share new knowledge and experiences with the children and staff at the SDC.

Support program for vulnerable children and families in Bacolod City

The objective is to design and implement a development program supporting the disadvantaged members of the community of Bacolod City, Philippines. This approach is based on the observation of best practices identified in various projects implemented in Southeast Asia and in the rest of the world. The program aims at providing rehabilitation opportunities to isolated children and families in order to facilitate their successful integration into the local community. This includes dealing with social inclusion, socioeconomic development, public health, sustainable production and consumption, as well as green technologies.