It is said that Christmas is the “children’s celebration,” but many children in the slums do not experience Christmas as something extraordinary. There is no extra money for good food and gifts, so Christmas is just like any other day of the year to them. We wanted to give families a chance to celebrate and make Christmas a joyous family event, so in Christmas 2007, the Rise Above team started distributing Christmas gifts or donations to impoverished families in the slum areas of Cebu City. We contacted friends in Cebu and abroad, asking if they would like to help “make a difference in the life of a poor family on Christmas” by donating an amount equivalent to 100 US$ to give as gifts. 12 families responded on the first year and have grown in number in the following years with more and more families deciding to help the poorest of the poor in Cebu at Christmas time.
The gifts brought great joy and gave these recipient families a break from their daily struggle. Christmas has now become a season for them to celebrate with food on their table, gifts for their children, and gratefulness in their hearts. Christmas truly is a celebration of love, giving and sharing, just as how God gave Jesus as a gift of love to all of us. We would like to thank everyone who have supported us in this project, and we hope that you and your family, on Christmas Season, would also choose to give of your abundance and spread a little joy to those in need in Cebu.
Persons with Disability Assistance
Rise Above provided direct support to a number of students in Cebu who have disabilities. Being in a third world country, the government can only provide minimal support to the PWDs, and many continue to live under miserable conditions as aid such as crutches, wheelchairs and prosthetics are beyond their financial capabilities. It is often left to friends, families, and organizations such as Rise Above to support and help people in these conditions. With your help, we wish to continue assisting these individuals and proving to the world that they, too, are capable of great things and that their disabilities do not have to define or limit them.
Hope and Encouragement
It is a known fact that many people are suffering all over the world, and that there will always be a need to spread hope and joy into the lives of these people. Over the years, Rise Above has found many ways to do just that. Both kids and adults love action, so some of the ways to cheer them up is through acting as clowns, setting-up children’s and seniors’ parties and puppet shows, sharing food, goods, and cash, as well as bringing medicine to children with life-threatening diseases in hospitals.
MR. AND MRS. SANTA
Christmas is a time when everyone expects to receive gifts, and we do our part in making sure children receive the gift of joy, wonder and imagination by dressing-up and performing as Mr. and Mrs. Santa whenever we’re invited to appear in special events. Christmas storytelling, receiving gifts and hugs from Mr. and Mrs. Santa, and bringing home a photo to remember it by, never fails to make the children feel special in Christmas time.