Mylene was ecstatic when she found out that her son, Jasper, would be enrolled in the Child Sponsorship Program. Her neighbors had told her how much Compassion’s local church partner, the Philippine Good News Church, is genuinely and effectively helping children in their community — how the children are regularly checked by a doctor and dentist, how they are being taught to read and write at an early age, and how they are receiving gifts and letters from a sponsor who lives in another country.
When Mylene learned her 2-year-old boy would communicate with his sponsor, she had one significant concern: Jasper was born without arms. When she gave birth to Jasper on Jan. 4, 2016, at a local public hospital, she had no idea about her baby's condition until the moment she met him.
“I was surprised to see that my baby had two missing arms,” she said. “Local Filipino folks convinced me that that was my son’s fate and that he was conceived that way, but having met people and doctors at the project center, I know that it was probably due to my own health and physical condition when I was pregnant.”
Jasper’s father is a fisherman. He would be at sea for a week and get a catch worth a meager USD $20 on average — not enough to feed the couple's four boys. The family lives in one of the poorest communities in Lucena City, Philippines, where many struggle to survive.
“Residents in this community are known not only for harboring criminals and drug users but also for mothers who lack proper nutrition, medical care and hygiene while pregnant,” said Project Director Reynesto Garcia.
To help meet the community's need, the Good News Church registers some of the most vulnerable children into the Child Sponsorship Program, many of whom are severely malnourished.
With sponsorship starting at age 1, young children like Jasper are asked to draw or scribble on a specially designed letter template to encourage them to communicate with their sponsor as soon as they are able.
When Mylene helped little Jasper hold a crayon with his toes and draw a circle for the very first time, the brave boy said, “Don’t worry, Mama. I can do this.”