A genuine concern – this is how a social worker described Visayan Electric and VECO Employees Multipurpose Cooperative’s (VEMCO) Pasko sa Kabataan program, which brought the spirit of Christmas to young residents of SOS Children’s Village.
Pasko sa Kabataan, according to Jazzel Kris Obasan, a social worker at the shelter, contributes to the holistic well-being of the children’s village residents: “This activity will make the children feel that they are important, that they are cared for, and that there are people who show genuine concern despite not being blood-related to them, which is a great build up on their character.”
Visayan Electric said that while Christmas is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year because of the never-ending parties and gift-giving, this is not the case for the young residents of the shelter.
And, while Christmas is a holiday for families, most of the children at SOS Children’s Village have no concept of family or family-spent holidays, all of which are very important factors in these young children’s formative years.
Located in Talamban, Cebu City, the shelter is home to 55 children ranging from ages 3-12 who are either neglected or abandoned by their own family. The majority of these children have been at the shelter since they were very young.
That is why the children’s village was selected by Visayan Electric and VEMCO as their beneficiary for this year’s Pasko sa Kabataan as part of their corporate social responsibility and aim to continually enhance the lives of Filipinos.
In her message, Florence Camillo, the development coordinator for the shelter, thanked Visayan Electric for visiting their shelter and spending Christmas with them. She emphasized the program’s benefits for the kids’ emotional and mental health given how long it had been since they had visitors and celebrations due to the pandemic.
“We are so pleased and overjoyed that you chose to celebrate Christmas with us here in SOS. We are so happy, and the children are very eager to celebrate together with you. We just opened our doors to visitors this year, so as you noticed, the children’s enthusiasm is so high, so, thank you,” Camillo added.
She also wished for a long-term collaboration with Visayan Electric, anticipating that this would only be the beginning of many initiatives between SOS Children’s Village and Visayan Electric.
Visayan Electric came to the shelter with over 50 volunteers, bringing gifts and goodies for the children to enjoy. The children were also treated to a safari-themed Christmas party, a magic show, and fun-filled games in which they and volunteers alike got to participate and enjoy. VEMCO, for its part, donated a check worth P50,000 to SOS Children’s Village.
Debie Bolhano, youth mentor at the children’s village, also expressed her gratitude to Visayan Electric, saying how the activity benefits the children in terms of confidence, education, and social interaction, especially after being isolated for the past two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Pasko sa Kabataan is an annual tradition of Visayan Electric as a way of giving back to the community. Visayan Electric has and will always have a soft spot for the Filipino youth and children, as conveyed by its numerous programs benefiting young Cebuanos such as this, and as well as the Public Schools Rewiring Programs and Brigada Eskwela Programs. Although Pasko sa Kabataan is a once-a-year event hosted by Visayan Electric, its young beneficiaries benefit from it for the rest of their lives.
SOS Children’s Village Cebu is operated by an international organization that specializes in alternative family-like care for children who do not have or are about to lose parental support. Unlike other shelters who only provide temporary care, SOS Children’s Village houses children permanently and prepares them for independent living in the future. If you’d like to sponsor or donate, go to sosphilippines.org/donate.