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3
Sep

From the Field: This is why I work for ICM…

As the Finance Officer in the ICM Hong Kong Office, I spend most of my day on spreadsheets, filling out forms, and at the bank.  Last week I had the opportunity to visit our ICM base in General Santos with the Transform Program sponsors from Union Church HK.
When we were visiting the Transform Program, one woman stood up bravely to share her story with us. She told us about her former addiction to gambling and the hopelessness she had.  Because her family was poor, she didn’t see the point in working everyday to take care of them. Through ICM’s Livelihood curriculum, she learned how to make snacks and sell them for a profit. Pairing her new skills with the Values curriculum taught by their local pastor, she has found a reason for living. She now knows there is an opportunity for a more fulfilling life. She has stopped playing cards and now makes enough money to feed her family.
Another woman told us how she strayed away from God because of the daily struggles of life. Her family had a Bible but never opened it – it just sat in their home. She learned through the Values curriculum about God and His love and now her family reads their Bible regularly.  She is excited about growing closer to God again and said she has never had so much joy before!
This is why I work for ICM – to serve the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. Being able to hear these testimonies gives me motivation to work hard on the task at hand because I know the impact my work here has on thousands of families in the Philippines. I encourage you to use your strengths and abilities, no matter how small they may seem, in a way that serves God and He will bless others through you.
Raquel Hopton, ICM Finance Officer – Hong Kong Office
30
Aug

Partnering Together to Fight Poverty

ICM is able to reach more people in need because of our partnerships with other great NGO’s like ‘Feed My Starving Children.’ Recently, FMSC wrote a blog story about one of our recipients, Luz, who works in our Red Rope Cooperative. Not only has FMSC donated over 5 million free meals for ICM’s program participants this year, but they also proudly support the women of Red Rope by purchasing handicraft items to sell in their marketplace and online store.

CLICK HERE to read Luz’s story.

 

28
Aug

ICM’s 2012 HK Banquet – Join the Journey

International Care Ministries 2012 HK Banquet
October 17, 2012, HK Convention & Exhibition Center

Dear Friends,

Fifteen years ago this month, my husband and I arrived in Hong Kong. Soon we learned about a little girl in the Philippines who had TB of the bones. Her knees were huge and her calves were nonexistent, she couldn’t stand. She was skin and bones. The doctors said the only way she could survive was to amputate both of her legs. So we made a small donation to amputate her legs and save her life. A few days later the doctor showed up ready to do the amputation, but a brown out at the hospital prevented him. The next day, a different doctor said, “Wait, I think we can save her legs.” So he did a different procedure. And she got medicines and treatment and physical therapy. Today, 15 years later, she is alive, healthy, married with a child, and she has two legs.

One life that was changed. For Dave and I, that life was our introduction to International Care Ministries. And for me, her story is a actually picture of what ICM does for thousands of poor families every year — where the injustice of poverty is handicapping their tomorrows — where they are looking at futures without hope.

ICM comes alongside the poorest people and we say, “Wait. There is hope. There is another way.” And we help families learn that way. With holistic community-based education we teach them to walk again. Over the last three years we have reached nearly 250,000 people. One family at a time, ICM is bringing help, inspiring hope and creating change for the poor in the Philippines.

I am so very proud to be involved with ICM – and very proud of the work we are doing. And I want to encourage you get involved as well. The 2012 ICM HK Banquet is October 17 at the HK Convention and Exhibition Center in Wanchai. Please book a table, invite your friends, and Join the Journey.

I hope to see you there.

Warmly,

Deanna Sutherland

Executive Director – International Care Ministries – HK

24
Aug

Hope – You can see it on their faces

On a recent trip to our ICM Base in Dipolog, we met Emeliano and his wife, Salome.  Salome was a member of the 1st batch Transform Program in their area, where she learned how to start an in-ground garden.  She shared what she learned from the Livelihood lessons with Emeliano and he really got into it – he even enrolled himself in the next batch Transform Program.  Now, with the two of them applying what they know, their garden is flourishing!

Photo:  Emeliano and Salome stand proudly in front of their thriving garden.  They sell and eat the veggies they grow to provide for their 13 person house hold, earning 700 pesos per day.

16
Aug

ICM Recipients: Organic Farming

 

30
Jul

Royal Bank of Scotland

“I can’t say I came away from the trip feeling I’d had a ‘lovely’ time, it’s not a holiday; but I can come away from it saying I felt truly humbled and completely overwhelmed,” said Aimee.  Aimee and her co-worker, Yat Jing, from the Royal Bank of Scotland traveled down to Bacolod City to visit ICM’s programs and hand out Box of Hope gifts to children in our programs.

Aimee shares, “My decision to participate in the trip was not because I wanted to ‘change the world’ or to try and ‘find myself’ but more out of interest, to see how other people lived, to understand how a different culture viewed ‘giving’ and to maybe make some children feel happy! After the first hour of being in Bacolod you grow to love the place.”

It’s not somewhere for the easily shocked, as we discovered when invited to look at Angelito’s house, a mere shack which he shared with his family of 9. I saw a tiny boy standing next to his baby brother dangling in a rag from the roof beside him.

Arriving back in Hong Kong after the trip is quite surreal… there you are surrounded by huge skyscrapers, flash shopping malls and people head to toe in designer clothes, when only hours before you were watching children being fed at a malnutrition centre.  For the cost of one meal in a fancy restaurant, ICM are able to provide one child like Angelito a year of education. Now that’s food for thought! Through our corporate donation matching scheme I am able to partner with ICM to help 24 kids receive education.  And would I do the trip again? For sure!”

Yat Jing shares, “If there is one word to describe this trip, I would say it was ENRICHING.  Personally I returned to Hong Kong with a richer knowledge of International Care Ministries and Box of Hope, and a belief that indeed it is a privilege to help. I had an extremely rich life experience.

Bacolod houses the second largest slum in The Philippines. It was heart-wrenching to witness before our very own eyes a young boy, 8 years old living in a shack with no walls: totally exposed to the rain and  sun. Angelito lives with his family of 9 adjacent to a stinky and polluted swamp. He and his little brother were left unsupervised at the shack when we visited. Both his mum and dad were working, leaving the two babies suspended in hammocks all day. I noticed Angelito had a lovely disposition.

It dawned on me that despite being poor, the ICM recipients we met were happy, courteous and carried themselves. It is sad to see how underprivileged some are in this world. I was convicted of how important and pertinent education is to eradicating poverty. Early education to children and livelihood education to adults are equally important. Every one of us deserves a chance to perform when given the opportunity.

I was shocked to learn from ICM that only HKD280 per month can sponsor so many kids in Bacolod from early education to high school!  I salute the International Care Ministries staff who have such big hearts and passion.

3
Jul

SHOES, GLORIOUS SHOES!

It wasn’t holiday anticipation that made the children of Renaissance College and Kennedy School come to school wearing flip flops on the last day of school. The children at these two ESF schools had giving on their mind.

Knowing they would be growing out of their shoes over the summer, they wore flip flops to school, and dropped their gently used school shoes into boxes, which were then sent to the Philippines, where they will be distributed to ICM Jumpstart Kindergarten and Elementary Scholars.

In the Philippines, a child cannot attend school unless they have shoes. The majority of children attending ICM Jumpstart Kindergartens come from families that only eat one meal a day. Shoes are a luxury. Yet every year a child attends school reduces their chance of living in poverty. Education is hope. By providing children shoes, Renaissance and Kennedy children are helping them stay in school.

Renaissance school collected 486 pairs of school, an unbelievable record for their first time donating. Kennedy school beat last year’s record and collected 1053 pairs of shoes. The school’s ESD coordinator, Lesley Davies, who masterminded the effort, took pictures of the effort. As Jacqui Harmer, Primary Vice Principal at Renaissance College said, “It’s too easy and important NOT to do!”

Thank you Renaissance and Kennedy Schools – the students of ICM’s Kindergartens and Elementary Scholarship programs are grateful for your thoughtfulness!

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17
Jun

Values, Health & Livelihood comes to the Malnourished Children Outreach (MCO) program!

by Helen Turner, ICM COO

After successful trials during 2011/12 ICM has been able to develop a training model to incorporate the values, health and livelihood training for the parents of the Malnourished Children Outreach (MCO) participants.  It is an exciting model involving local community members represented by the local Church Pastor and three Church counselors; the local ICM staff and the families of the MCO participants.  The model leverages the relationship with the child by offering rewards during the 16 week training to encourage the parents to attend and participate.  The counselors attend the site once per week and conduct small group training with the families focusing on simple values, health and livelihood messages; then fortnightly the ICM staff member partners with the counselors to bring more complex health and livelihood messages to the families.  The small group based learning and house to house visitation encourages strong relationships and helps the community bond.  Using dynamic teaching strategies, including hands on practical demonstration and games gives exciting opportunities for the families to learn the material.

May was the month of training for the MCO Pastors and Counselors with training session scheduled across 6 locations in the Philippines.  The first training took place in Mindanao at General Santos and Koronadal, with Pastors and Counselors reporting how excited they are to return to their communities to help eliminate malnutrition and bring important health and livelihood information to those in need.

12
Jun

‘TRIATHLON BILL’ COMPETES FOR ICM KIDS

When Bill Ng participates in the 5i50 Olympic Distance Triathlon in Subic Bay, The Philippines on June 24, 2012, he’s competing to save 50 lives.

Bill, who has two sprint distance triathalons under his belt, will be completing an Olympic Distance triathlon, which is double the distance of a sprint – 1.5km open water swim, 40km bike race, and 10k run. He’s doing the work – and asking friends and colleagues to reward his hours of training by donating to ICM’s Malnourished Children Outreach (MCO) program.

Bill is aiming to raise $51,500 – which will allow 50 underfed children the opportunity to participate in ICM’s four month MCO program. “Ihave set a goal to raise HK$51,500 — that is, HK$1,000 for every kilometer that I will race and finish. Every kilometer I conquer will pave the way for one malnourished child’s journey towards a healthier life.”

ICM partners with local government officials to identify fifteen severely underweight children in each community and provides them with a nutritious meal each day. At the end of four months, two-thirds of these children will have increased their weight by at least 15%, the threshold recommended by UNICEF. (www.caremin.com)

Bill’s endurance threshold has increased since he began seriously training. “In January 2012 I joined a local Triathlon club and began re-learning to swim, bike and run. I have lost 10lbs, my blood pressure has done down and my energy levels are way up and I feel fantastic. This is the best shape I’ve been in, in years!

“What I am learning, however, is how to economize my energy and strength across multiple disciplines over long periods of time. For me right now, that means improving my stroke efficiency in the water, my power and speed per pedal push on the bike, and my cadence on the run.  Based upon my latest race, I guess I’d say my bicycle leg is the strongest right now – I crushed my previous time by 5 mins reaching a max speed of nearly 40kph.  If only I could run and swim that fast!
Bill’s being modest…we happen to know he recently shaved a massive 35 seconds off his 500m swim time-trial.Wisely, Bill isn’t going into the race looking for a time to beat. “This will be my first Olympic distance event so my goal is to not “blow-up” on the course and run out of energy before the finish.  It’s not just swimming, biking, and running as fast as possible – it’s also about conserving energy when necessary and making sure your body has enough fuel, liquids, electrolytes, and energy reserves to complete the entire race. In the end, you’re racing yourself and it’s as much a mental game as physical.Bill is also retaining his perspective. He’s competing a triathlon, but in raising money for malnourished children, this is more than a race. “I’m most looking forward to the finish line, the joy and relief one feels after completing a hard effort, and the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve helped change the lives of those less fortunate through the support and donations of friends all over the world.
Please visit http://www.simplygiving.com/bill515 to support “Triathlon Bill” as he runs, swims and pedals children towards a healthier life.  Thank you Bill, for using your talents to bless others!

11
Jun

Middleschool Students Build for the Poor

“On our trip, we went to the slums and helped build a new house for a family of nine people living in a shack made of wood and plastic. I really enjoyed the hard work because I knew that it was for a good cause and I really like making people happy. The seven kids who lived there had nothing compared to what we have here in Hong Kong; they didn’t have any toys at all.  What really stood out to me was that they were happy with the little that they had, they didn’t complain or cry, but every time I looked at them they were smiling and playing with each other. I have been inspired not to crave for more, but to be grateful for the little things that I sometimes take for granted – things like running water and 3 meals a day.” Elizabeth Yetman is a middleshool student who recently joined IslandECC’s vision and building trip to Bacolod with ICM.

Grant Franke and Amy Tsai, Elizabeth’s youth leaders, say Elizabeth’s positive experience was exactly what they were hoping for when they organized the trip for IslandECC middle school youth.  “As youth leaders, we felt that serving as a team would help all of us put into practice the values of service, giving and Christian community.”

“We had high expectations for this trip, and we were not disappointed. It was amazing to watch the youth step out of their comfort zones. Most were unafraid to traverse the slums, get their hands dirty, and begin building relationships with the communities. They far exceeded our expectations in terms of demonstrating perseverance, love and leadership. God was literally transforming their hearts right in front of our eyes and we were amazed at how eager they were to use their gifts and talents to bless the people in Bacolod. Youth who are normally shy were willing to pray out loud for our group, they worked through a pouring rainstorm and lifted heavy building materials that would have tested the strength of many adults. The depth of conversation and reflection was unlike anything our trip leaders have ever encountered before with middle school aged youth.”

Over the course of 5 days, the youth were able to see how ICM is serving the country through community projects and education offered to the poor.  The students were a great encouragement to ICM staff, local pastors and community leaders and to program beneficiaries.

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