I saw Michael Angelo’s face and that was it. I was immediately responsible. I have twin boys the same age as Michael Angelo, and I was physically ill with the thoughts going through my head…. absolutely haunted. My sister and I worked to get in touch with Philippines Community Fund
(PCF), the organization that has the schools there and employs the social worker who discovered the original situation of Michael Angelo being sold for sex.
I’ve been in contact through email with Jane Walker, the CEO of PCF. My family decided to give up our Christmas gift-giving and instead sponsor this family. We raised nearly $2000 through family and friends, buying them food, clothing, clean drinking water, beds and bedding, as well as materials to fix their home. We also bought the father his own pedicab so that he can better support his family (he was previously renting one). My husband and I will also be monthly financing the oldest son’s (a former gang member) return to high school so that when he graduates, he can also better help support the family.
That said, I know the father will be returning to work. It is our prayer that the mother will be able to stay home with the young children during the day. In terms of whether or not Michael Angelo is now safe, I do believe he is… largely based on my feeling that the mother initially reacted out of total desperation in what she did.
They have more than these physical items we’ve provided. They have hope. I also know the family has been told that we were burdened by God to do this for them, and that has resonated.
It’s my understanding that the ultimate goal of PCF is to educate the families, give them hope, and make them eventually self-sufficient. Jane has told me the family would be going through intensive counseling with social workers to ensure their money and resources are being used in the best way.
Although I think this family’s basic needs at this point are close to being covered, there are hundreds of other families in situations just as desperate. PCF will go out of their way to hook up sponsors with specific families, and from what I can tell, there is extensive follow-up on how the family does, with regular reports and photos.
When I initially expressed to Jane my guilt over focusing only on Michael Angelo when there were so many in need, she reassured me that their organization is based on individuals helping individuals… no one person can take care of them all.
The foundation is facing its own financial challenges… Jane is trying to build a third school to eradicate all child labor in the dump there, and with the poor economy, they are struggling with funding and might have to shut down their feeding program. Jane’s given up her salary and she’s fighting the battle of staying afloat every day. She’s expressed to me that if she could afford a plane ticket to the US, she’d love to come here and speak at churches, etc. to raise funds.