In April 1999 my wife and I adopted Hanna, an 11 month old baby from the Philippines. She had been born into typical third world poverty, but was fortunate enough to have been found by nuns at the Heart of Mary Villa, a charity that devotes itself to caring for orphaned and abandoned babies, and ensures that they find safe homes for the future.
In 2000 I visited the orphanage after a typhoon had passed through Manila. Great damage had been done; babies had to be evacuated by boat, many of the facilities were underwater, and there was great risk of disease. The cash starved government could do little to help, so who could? A month later the Heart of Mary Villa Appeal Fund was founded.
With the recent typhoon hitting Manila very badly, the orphanage has been devastated: the rising flood waters reached the second floor of the nursery, and all 27 babies have had to be rescued by ladders, boats and general ingenuity. The latest reports I have are that everyone is safe, but all clothes, food and medicines, and everyone’s property have been destroyed. What few material possessions the orphanage originally had have all been swept away and they now urgently need the basics to recover: food, medicine and clothing are all priorities.
The current appeal will focus on providing these essentials just as soon as possible. Off-Highway Research has just sent off a sum that should meet some of their immediate needs to ensure that life returns to some sort of normality as soon as possible: food, drinking water, and medicines, but it is also the longer term that we need plan for, and for which we need money as soon as possible. The restoration of electricity, the rebuilding of the infrastructure, and the repair of essential equipment. All big projects that will require a lot of money.
Off-Highway Research is now leading the drive to raise what is required, and is appealing directly to you for your help.
The Appeal Fund’s Objectives and Achievements
The purpose of the Appeal Fund is to raise as much money as possible from all sources (including You!), and to spend the proceeds on a variety of key areas:
The orphanage is located in flood prone slum area of Manila near the docks. Several times a year typhoons hit, causing terrible floods and damage, so the physical protection of Heart of Mary Villa was a priority. To date a high protective wall has been built, and all the buildings have been raised by a metre. A massive but very effective task.
Feeding children is an expensive business, and in the past to reduce costs the babies were not put on solid foods until they were around 6 months old. The Appeal Fund paid for a nutritionist to devise a correct balanced diet for all of them, and is also helping to pay for the resultant increased food costs. The changes put in place have resulted in an enormous improvement in the babies’ health and ability to resist infection.
Abandoned at birth
Twins, now in the UK
'Miracle boy', found under the wheels of a truck
Many of the children arrive at the Heart of Mary Villa just a few days old. They are invariably malnourished, and often suffer from poverty related diseases. Medicine is expensive, but the Appeal Fund has been able to underwrite most of the costs as well as to pay for a number of hugely expensive, but life saving, operations.
Paul, now in the US
The Staff: These are the unsung heroes, or more usually heroines, of the whole operation. Apart from six selfless nuns, there are the nursery carers, the drivers, the cooks, the maintenance men, the cleaners. All of them work at below the minimum wage (and that is very low), but the Appeal Fund has been able to offer them monetary support. This results in greater staff retention, which in turn benefits the children.
Carer in the nursery
DP with carers
Playtime in the nursery
What Have We Raised So Far, and What of The Future?
In the first nine years of the Heart of Mary Villa Appeal Fund, some 450 people and organisations have raised over £308,000, a vital contribution to the long term future of this wonderful institution. But we need more, much more, if we are able to continue to give the support that is now needed so badly – so please contribute whatever you can.
Bear in mind that a £10 donation will keep a baby looked after for a week, this amount pays for the child’s food, care, medicines and the administrative machine to help find new parents. Not very much money to really make a difference for the future of a child. Think about that when you next go to a restaurant.
What Could You Do To Help?
Very simply, send as much (or as little) money as you can spare to me, either by cheque (made payable to Heart of Mary Villa Appeal Fund) here at Off-Highway Research or by electronic transfer to our bank, details of which are below. You can be assured that every penny goes directly to the Heart of Mary Villa Appeal, and nothing will be spent on administration costs. Off Highway Research will add 20 per cent of all contributions to the total raised, and with the generous support of suppliers will cover all operating costs of the Appeal
Thank you so much for your support. I look forward to hearing from you –
and to banking your generosity!
My best regards
My best regards
David CA Phillips
of Mary Villa Appeal Fund
Southfields, Southview Road,
Wadhurst, East Sussex TN5 6TP
Heart of Mary Villa Appeal Fund
HSBC Bank Plc
1 Woburn Place, Russell Square
London WC1H 0LQ, England
Sterling Account #: 51378163
Dollar Account #: 39870751
Sort Code: 40 06 07
IBAN # GB93MIDL40060711229761
SWIFT BIC # MIDLGB2142E