Jasmine Abelardo

This internship leads me nearer to my deepest why, to live not just for the sake of existence but to live full of purpose. Hi everyone! I am Jasmine N. Abelardo, a 4th year Broadcasting student from Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and I am glad to share my momentous experience as an intern in Childhope Philippines Foundation Inc.

The starting point

Since I was a child it has been my dream to create an impact and to leave a legacy of change as wide as I can reach. Among all the HTEs that were given to us and aside from different companies that I applied for internship there is something special in Childhope Philippines that made me choose it over other options. I’m glad I made this decision because it exposed me to so many new things and gave me the opportunity to indulge myself in a wide variety of experiences especially in the life of the street youth.

Childhope Philippines Foundation Inc. welcomed me with open arms. It became my second home for one month and a place that reignites the fire burning in my heart. This organization helped me learn so many things that I will not all acquire inside the four corners of the classroom. It awakens my passion of being a documentary filmmaker in the future and allows me to totally respond to my calling.

During our first day we joined a virtual event of Childhope Philippines in partnership with Bayani Pay and it was such a great start and an amazing experience meeting my co-interns and all the people behind this organization. We also had an orientation with our internship supervisors Ms. Mylene Lagman and Ms. Jemcy Tumbaga and they are both approachable and easy to be with. After everything was explained and discussed we then proceeded on our tasks.

The core 

In the first weeks we are assigned to do interviews for the articles that we need to submit. We interviewed the beneficiaries of Childhope Philippines Livelihood Assistance Program. I understand how this organization is really serious in their advocacy because to make their mission even more successful, the organization targets as many families as they can for the family, as the basic unit of society, plays a crucial role in the success of individuals particularly the children. One of their ways is to provide any means of assistance particularly to the family of their beneficiaries to improve the state of life of the low-income sector.

We also had the chance to interview the academic achievers who received scholarship grants from Childhope Philippines’ Educational Assistance Program or EAP who recently graduated from college. From their stories I realized that in order for the youth to be the hope of the future they need people who will make them see and believe that hope is always there existing at the present. Like how a dying dream can still be revived until that breath of hope is passed on from generation to generation and in that way we can surely break the cycle of poverty one child at a time. 

Furthermore, we were given the opportunity to interview the social workers of Childhope Philippines to hear the stories of current and potential scholars under the Street Education and Protection program of CHAP. The dedication of every social worker is astounding because they never get tired of helping and guiding their clients, for they know that what they are doing is not just out of obligation but also out of love.These children at their very young age experienced the bitter reality of life and is exposed to an unhealthy, unsafe, and socially undesirable environment. They all thought that they would remain forever in their miserable and hopeless situation but they never imagined that the place that seems so hopeless will be a place where they will meet the right people who will bring a breath of hope in their dying dreams.

The people behind 

This once in a lifetime opportunity wouldn’t be possible without the incredible people behind this internship journey. I would like to give my deepest gratitude to our very inspiring and kind internship supervisors, Ms. Mylene and Ms. Gem, who guided us all throughout our internship journey. I am so thankful for how supportive and genuine they are in investing in our growth even in the short period of time.  Their love for their craft and calling is indeed a great motivation for me to become more purposeful in life. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the social workers, street educators, supporters, company partners, donors, drivers and all the staff of Childhope Philippines. Thank you Mr. Carlo (social worker) and Mr. Elton (street educator) for letting us experience the KalyEskwela in Ermita Area that gives me a deeper understanding on the situation of the street youth and how Childhope Philippines is really eager in fulfilling their mission and vision.  You are all indeed a channel of blessings to the street youth as well as their family. What you’re doing will never match any amount of money because one thing is for sure it will forever remain in the hearts of every person who received love, care and hope that you all generously extended. 

Also, I deeply appreciate my co-interns for all the support and making me feel that I was in the right place. I love how all of us invested so much time and effort in this internship. I am proud that I am in a team where we are all enthusiastic and everyone is on top of their work from meetings, brainstorming, interviews, articles and immersing in the battle cry of Childhope Philippines. I am so inspired by our different stories and will forever cherish our precious memories that we created together.

I wouldn’t waste the chance to show how sincerely thankful I am for all the street children that we met in Childhope Philippines. I am also grateful for the life of the people I interviewed Ms. Cristelle(EAP beneficiary) and Mrs. Josielyn(CHAP beneficiary) for being such an inspiration of being courageous in fighting for your dreams and for not letting any hindrances stop you from creating a good future for your family. To all the street children from Ermita Area, Kalaw Area and other areas that Childhope is trying to saturate, thank you for letting us hear your stories, your journey and your hopes. Who would have thought that in such a chaotic place there are children who are dreaming for a brighter future, fighting for their rights and creating impact in one’s life. In the dark corners and most neglected areas of Manila there are these children who are like flowers that bloomed in fire. You all have a special place in my heart.

Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Herbert Carpio for founding and leading the Childhope Philippines Foundation Inc. You are indeed a history maker and your advocacy has an eternal value for what you have done will be told from generation to generation. I am beyond thankful for all the things I learned from this organization and I enjoyed being in such a nurturing working environment. This organization is a great contribution to our society. Your advocacy to give vulnerable children an opportunity to lift them out of poverty through education is inspiring. Through Childhope Philippines, the country’s most marginalized sector submerged in poverty were given long-term hope by supporting their education and livelihood. Everything that I witnessed and learned in this organization pushes me to involve myself more and to be vision-driven in terms of breaking the barriers to quality education and removing children from poverty, abuse and exploitation. 

A bittersweet goodbye

Leading up to the final days of my internship journey is both bitter and sweet. It is bitter in a way that  saying goodbye’s the saddest part, however, it is sweet because I know that we would always be a part of each other’s lives and there is a special place in my heart for them. This internship journey made the light spark within me and set my purpose aflame. A calling to defend the rights of street children and ensure a safe and fulfilling life for them. It pushes me to invest more in the youth for they are the beacons of hope in building a flourishing nation. To be part in caring, healing, teaching and empowering the street children in countless ways. All together we can change the world one child at a time. 

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