As you all probably know, I’m currently in Europe primarily for my shoot for Mango. I’m sure you know this is part of my prize as the new Mango It Girl for SS ’12. But aside from this, I also won a sizable amount of money to be donated to the charity of my choice. I chose to split the money to 2 donations–one to Unicef’s CDO relief operations and the other to an organization close to my heart, Cottolengo Filipino.
I’ve mentioned before when I was asking for your help in choosing which organization to give the money to that I wanted an organization that isn’t that well-known. I know that there a lot of organizations with great causes out there but not all are given the chance to get noticed and reach the people who can help. I think Cottolengo Filipino is one of them. I’ve gotten the chance to get to know this organization during my senior year in Ateneo. I went there for my immersion for my Theology class. Cottolengo Filipino is non-stock, non-profit, non-government religious organization run by the Sons of Divine Providence Congregation. Cottolengo houses and rehabilitates special children with multiple disabilities (mental and/or physical) who were abandoned, surrendered and neglected. Meeting the kids a few years ago and hearing how they got to where they are now has touched me deeply. The experience is one that I will never forget. It saddens me to learn that some parents would do such horrible things, some of which are the causes of these kids’ disabilities. A few of them are in such crucial conditions that they require oxygen masks on 24/7. I can only hope that more people get to know Cottolengo and the kids.
The photos below are a few of the snapshots my friend Karla took during our immersion. Look at those kids’ faces. They’re so pure and innocent.
Special mention to my favorite, Gilbert. Gilbert suffers from multiple disabilities because his mom tried to have him aborted. His fingers and toes were not properly formed even! But even so, he’s persevering. He can even hold his cup on his own!
This Lenten season, I hope you can help someone out. It’s not always about donations. You may also pay Cottolengo a visit. This would not only be good for the kids, but also for yourself. These kids can change you. Trust me.