Tim Yap hands over a sack of rice to Arlyne Fernandez, Virlanie Foundation Deputy Executive Director, to show his full support to the group, its cause and for the newest Rice Up! For Street Children Campaign.
It’s the same story: mommy prepares veggies; child says no; mommy chases, threatens, and bribes; child cries and finally mommy relents and prepares hotdogs. This is the case for every other household you visit in the country – but what about those children who aren’t even given a cupful of rice; much less a choice between vegetables and hotdogs?
According to a report from UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization), there are 1.5 million street children in the Philippines – and guess what, you encounter 100,000 of them everyday right here in Metro Manila.
Virlanie Foundation is a non-profit organization striving to provide a better future for these children by giving them a home, a family and an opportunity to study. Virlanie has helped over 13,500 children since 1992 through their 12 Homes and 12 programs within and outside Metro Manila. This October, Virlanie shares the opportunity to help street children through their latest effort—the Rice Up for Street Children campaign.
“Every child’s well-being starts with a healthy meal”
“Street children are not only living in poverty; but more so, they are abandoned, neglected, abused and in need of special protection. They are the poorest of the poor,” shares Dominique Lemay, Virlanie Founder and President.
Through Rice Up for Street Children, Virlanie aims to collect enough pledges to accommodate its monthly needs of 50 sacks of rice per month for its homes and outreach programs in slum communities.
“ Everyone knows that rice is an important part of any Filipino child’s diet—unfortunately, for one reason or another, not every child is given his share of it,’ notes Lemay. “ Not only is rice the only carbohydrate that contains the essential amino acids needed for a developing child, it’s a cultural staple for any Filipino family.”
“Doing well by doing Good”
One is acknowledged as the society eventologist in the Philippines and the other is recognized as one of the top public relations firm in the region—and a gathering for street children is the last place you’d expect to see them together. But for Tim Yap and GeiserMaclang, it has always been about doing well in their respective industries, while giving back to the community.
“In GeiserMaclang, we’ve found a way to put social benefit at the heart of a successful business model,” shares GeiserMaclang Communications Director, Amor Maclang. “We don't just sell broadband internet, we do it in such a way that grandchildren teach their lolos and lolas to use the internet; we don't just promote a resort, we find ways to increase tourism and generate jobs inside of communities; we don’t just write press releases; we aim to bring the "social" in social marketing. And this is exactly how we have been working with Virlanie Foundation this past year.”
On the other hand Tim Yap will be taking the lead in Rice Up for Street Children campaign as Virlanie Foundation’s new Ambassador of Goodwill.
“At the end of the day, empowering children to have a brighter future, will always be greater and more important than individuals, affiliations and beliefs,” says Lemay. “And we hope that in the coming years, more and more people will realize this and find ways to help children, especially the disadvantaged ones, to become self-reliant, productive and independent.”