Barangay Puray, in Rodriguez, Rizal is home of indigenous people called Dumagat-Remontado tribe. Although living in the hilltops allows the residents to enjoy the serene nature, their remote location isolates them from proper healthcare and education.
Such lack affects not just the adults, but most especially, the children in their community. One of them is Noemi Cruz.
To a little girl like Noemi, daring to dream for her future also means helping other kids who are in dire need, just like her.
“My dream is to be a teacher, because I want to teach children who don’t know how to read. [I believe] it is possible to reach my dreams; I’ll be a teacher when I study well!” Noemi exclaimed, now more hopeful than ever.
Noemi is one of the 75 Dumagat children in their community who are beneficiaries of the Bless-a-Child (BAC) program of the Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines – CBN Asia’s humanitarian arm.
Through BAC, undernourished children like Noemi enjoy healthy lunches every day, free medical checkup and medicines on a regular basis, as well as free primary education and values formation support. Their parents are also taught how to prepare nutritious meals for their children.
One of BAC’s known supporters is esteemed fashion designer Francis Libiran. On his 20th year in the fashion industry, he once again partnered with Operation Blessing in inspiring hope to children’s dreams.
Last December, Francis and his business partner Arsi Baltazar joined the OB team as they braved the raging rivers and hours of travel to reach the beneficiaries in Barangay Puray.
“We really wanted to reach out to people who are really in need. I’ve been blessed with so many things, and what would I do to that blessing if I’m not going to give it to those who are in need? Part of the completion of their dreams is they have to be nourished with food, so they’ll grow up really well,” Francis shared.
As the Dumagat children sketched their ambitions in life, the world-renowned fashion icon recalled how a simple sketch on the back of his notebook when he was young led him to where he is right now. He pressed on the importance of dreaming big as a child.
“When I saw Noemi, she has that look, she has a vision that she wants to be a teacher. So, I told her to nurture her dream and to always hold on to it. One wants to be a teacher; one wants to be a pastor; one wants to be a soldier. They’re also sketching their future,” Francis shared.
With this, Francis also invites everyone to be an instrument in helping others. “I hope we will continue in helping out other communities because they really need us. We are very fortunate to have something for us. Let us give it back to those who are less fortunate and to the children.”
Do you also want to spark change in the lives of Filipino children? You may visit Operation Blessing’s website and know how you can bless a child.