Today is the day! Everybody is excited and nervous to go on the airplane to Manila, in the Philippines.
Straightaway we had contact with some Filipinos on the airplane. They were on their way back home. Most of the Filipinos we spoke to were working on a cruise ship. They were really nice and interested about what we would be doing in the Philippines.
After a 16-hour flight (which didn’t feel like 16 hours) we arrived at a warm and welcoming Manila. Our hotel is located in the business centre of Manila, called Makati.
After freshening up at the hotel we went out to experience some local food at Mang Inasal. We ate some chicken, pork, fish and, of course, rice. A lot of rice!
The first morning we were picked up by four colleagues from Save the Children at 8am for a guided walking tour in the city of Manila. Our great and passionate tour guide, Anson Yu, gave us a wonderful food experience around Chinatown and he taught us a lot about the history of the Philippines.
It was a new and exciting day! Today we had a meet and greet at Save the Children’s national office, with the country team and the programme team.
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. They work in more than 120 countries. They save children’s lives; they fight for their rights; they help them fulfill their potential. Save the Children works across five thematic priorities: education, child protection, child right governance, health and nutrition, and emergencies.
IKEA stores across the world work every year with the Soft Toys for Education campaign, an in-store Good Cause Campaign. Every soft toy bought during the campaign, IKEA Foundation donates €1 to the partners UNICEF and Save the Children.
The Soft Toys for Education campaign began supporting programmes in the Philippines in 2012. In 2014 this includes support for pre-school children with disabilities in Metro Manila. This project is called Kasali. In Filipino, Kasali means ‘included’: a synonym for education for all children.
So we are now on our way to meet the children in the day care center of the Kasali project in Paranque. On our way the environment changed around us, the city has taken place for the surroundings were poor families live.
We had a small walk to get to the day care centre and felt like we were in the middle of the movie slum dog millionaire. We realized how special it is that we are here as normally people don’t visit here. There was a little boy who was calling in the streets: “The American’s, the American’s!” It means the white people are on their way.
When we entered the day care centre the children were playing and were a little bit shy. So the colleagues of Save the Children said you can join them, and after a couple of minutes the children became more comfortable. It’s was such an amazing experience to play with all of the children and to see how professional and enthusiastic all the colleges of save the children are.
We did some singing, dancing, arts and crafts, storytelling and introduced ourselves. Also we made pictures with the Polaroid camera that was sponsored by IKEA Eindhoven, which meant we could handover the pictures directly to the teacher and the children had a memory of our trip. The children thought the Polaroid was magic, so much fun and impressive to experience that.
We also handed over some balloons and gifts to the day care centre, sponsored by IKEA Hengelo and a local initiative form IKEA Barendrecht.
After this we went to an opposite street, to a chapel for a group session with the mommy’s. It was a good thing to hear from their point of view. We asked one of the moms what it meant for her hat her child is now going to day care. She answered that because of the help of Save the Children one of her twin girls now is able to walk by herself. Before day care her mother had to carry her to school. Save the Children pays the therapy for the girl.
After an emotional goodbye with a lot of inspiration and hugs we went back to the hotel.
We have a lot to think about…