In October of 2003 the Kennedy Center opened a children’s daycare for the begging street children of Albania. This center offers great hope to these children in the form of healthy meals, school lessons, hygiene, and games. The children learn to respect one another and lives are touched simply through being loved. The center is open three days a week and a fourth day is used for baths and family visitation. A program has also been made available for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. The one-on-one home teaching for the disabled children has allowed some of the home-schooled children to reintegrate with their siblings that attend school at the center. 5 Loaves supports the feeding of children at the center. All of the children are doing very well with many now learning how to read.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere with an annual per capita income of less than $400. The average life expectancy is fifty-three with eight out of one thousand children never seeing their first birthday. Half of the population cannot read. An estimated one hundred sixty-three thousand children are AIDS orphans. The children in Haiti are at risk from illnesses related to malnutrition and drinking contaminated water from the rivers that flow with malaria, typhoid, and other diseases. The majority of the population is of African descent with a small minority being French-African. Because of the constant changes of ownership that went back many decades ago and the proximity to the Dominican border, there is also a small yet visible Dominican-descended population. The school system uses French as the main language. The official religion is Roman Catholicism but the constitution allows free choice of religion. Some of the people also practice voodoo.
Some Haitian mothers will prepare dirt cakes made from clay, dirt, and water to relieve the pain of their children’s empty stomachs. The food situation has declined and the price of food soaring and food supplies are often difficult to come by. The Haitians feel that the government is not doing much to help with the food situation, which has led to a great deal of the rioting in the past.
5 Loaves oversees two orphanages in Haiti: Upper Room and Home For Children In Haiti.
The people of Haiti have such a sweet and loving spirit and appreciate so much of the work that is being done for them. It is amazing to talk to the different people involved, from doctors to teachers, on how the children have improved so much with their health and studies. The teachers have said that it is so important to continue the feeding program because with a meal in their stomachs they are able to focus on what they are being taught during the day.
5 Loaves currently has seven feeding programs in the Philippines. Malnutrition and even starvation have been perennial problems in the Philippines with 20% of the children suffering from second or third degree malnutrition. Filipinos also face the challenges of disease-plagued water, primitive living conditions, and the lack of financial resources has been a tremendous obstacle for these underdeveloped countries.
In the area of Davao 5 Loaves supports the feeding of the Bajao children. The Bajao people, also known as sea gypsies, live in stilted huts which straddle filthy water from the local river and city sewage. The Bajao lived on boats drifting from place to place until commercial fishing operations depleted the fishing grounds after World War II. The Bajao had to move to the cities to sell pearls and beg. They usually eat one meal a day consisting of rice or cassava, a root crop, and some fish. The daily meal is usually midday or in the evening and breakfast is always skipped unless there is a small packet of saltine crackers handy. Families with extra money might eat twice a day. The Bajao men sell pearls, watches, sunglasses or other items on the street while the women sell used clothing on street corners. Some of the younger men go spear fishing with homemade goggles and spear guns. They spear small reef fish to sell in the market in order to buy rice or cassava, a protein source which keeps the stomach filled longer. If they are able to spear a good number of fish they can keep some and sell the rest.
The Bailey family, who partner with 5 Loaves and are directors for Peace Be With You, have been able to enroll Bajao children into the public schools where they are normally not accepted as students. The Baileys are feeding the children nutritious lunches daily Monday through Friday which helps the children stay in school in order to receive the proper education they deserve. There are currently eighty-five children being supported, and the meals they receive consist of rice and chicken supplied by 5 Loaves. Another support partner provides the children with vitamins. Sixteen children in K1 stay at the village and attend the Amazing Grace Learning Center for their education and meals until they graduate to K2. Sixty-nine children K2 through K5 go to public school and receive their meals while attending the school.
In Manila 5 Loaves supports Community Life Ministries who oversees four feeding programs totaling approximately five hundred street children in different areas of Manila. 5 Loaves is very excited about the great vision CLM has, reaching out to a young and lost generation, breaking the repeated mistakes of past generations. It is amazing to see the impact they have already made. They have many young people who attend school, are on staff, or volunteer with CLM’s outreaches. The street children whom CLM serves live in very depressed areas where most parents or relatives caring for children are very undependable and are not working, but by displaying love to their children CLM is beginning to see a change in some of the parents and relatives. CLM feeds the children on the street nutritious meals of rice, noodles, and chicken on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
5 Loaves also supports USCI as it oversees one feeding program at their private school totaling sixty children in Manila. USCI feeds the children two nutritious meals during school Tuesday through Friday. They also hold an outreach in the same village on Saturdays and Sundays which feeds a total of eighty children. These meals consist of rice, fish, and meat.
MVP is another feeding outreach which 5 Loaves supports. MVP feeds one chicken and noodle meal every Thursday and Saturday to approximately one hundred to three hundred children in Manila. They also feed eighty children on Saturdays and Sundays.
In July of 2014 5 Loaves partnered with Unforgotten Faces feeding program.
Unforgotten Faces is an organization built on a Christian foundation that aims to enrich children mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, always striving to bring a Christ like love to those it reaches throughout its many programs.
In Debre Zeit, UF currently supports 32 children and their families. UF provides daily meals, school supplies, clothing, before and after school tutoring, and medical care to the children registered in the current project.Training and assistance to the children’s families is also given in order to graduate from the program and reach a level of self- sustainability for their family.
Unforgotten Faces is a 501C-3 based in California and is licensed under the Ethiopian government to operate their children’s project in Debre Zeit (an hour outside Addis Ababa -the capital city of Ethiopia). The UF Ethiopian team is small, but mighty, consisting of all local Ethiopians and the Unforgotten Faces founder Kim Zember. In the United States Unforgotten Faces is built solely on volunteers.
The project in Debre Zeit is based around support to single parents and their children. We give breakfast and lunch daily, education materials (uniforms, backpacks, textbooks, pencils, sharpeners, etc.), healthcare for the children and their parents, sanitation materials and after-school tutoring for all of the children Unforgotten Faces supports.
All children deserve a chance at a healthy life and a bright future. Unforgotten Faces believes strongly that daily meals, access to medical care, and a solid educational foundation helps lead children toward this goal. Unforgotten Faces aims to meet all of the children’s needs while striving to show them Christ’s love. We hope in doing so, the children grow up with the opportunity to follow the vision God has put in their hearts, leading to a positive effect within their country. While support is given to the families of the children, the UF team works alongside these single caregivers on a variety of income generating programs in order for these families to achieve self-sustainability.
Looking beyond Haiti, Philippines, Albania, Ethiopia and into the rest of the world, we are excited to continue our existing partnerships and, as always, to look for new opportunities throughout the developing nations of the world.