The Wild Orchid Quarterly US Team Visit was a tremendous success. We were very productive and planted new seeds in our program. We were able to formally introduce our charitable organization on Mariano Mercado Day, which is a day that the City of Carcar commemorates former mayor and humanitarian, Don Mariano Mercado. It is in joint celebration with the Catholic Celebration of the Birthday of The Virgen Mary, since Don Mariano Mercado was born on this day and named in her honor. Wild Orchid Founder, gave a speech to the citizens of Carcar and to City Officials to introduce The Wild Orchid Foundation. Founder Ate Coco was able to give various speeches throughout our stay to introduce our health, education and motivational agendas. Mariano Mercado Day was an opportunity in which Wild Orchid presented gifts from our donors to schools, birthing centers and correctional facilities.
We are excited with our new project of a feeding program to insure that identified students do not go to school hungry. Our communities are in rural areas and some, more remote than others. Many of our students come from broken families, who struggle daily to get by. Now with the recent tax inflation, many are spiraling into dire poverty. As they do not have a refrigerator, children often go to school hungry and live in a constant state of malnutrition. We are coordinating with educators to address this issue.
Our vocational students at Carcar City College are now able to print their thesis and do their work at the new Nyora Taling Student Learning Center, where they can use their lap top and printer free of charge. Prior, we had students who were not able to complete their thesis because the printing costs were too costly for them. The cost to print and bind a thesis is under 50 USD. We also have students who miss classes because they cannot afford bus fare to get to class every day. Bus fare in total can amount to $2-3 USD.
Our detention centers were full of detainees and many of them youths. Many of our detainees have less than an elementary school education. These youths are falling through the cracks for a lack of mentorship and lack of engagement. When one only has an elementary schooling, chances of employment are slim. Even is you find employment it is for less the $5 a day and is perhaps heavy labor such as delivering heavy cargo. The temptation of crime is often more favorable than an honest living; especially if it feeds your family. At the detention center, food is provided by the family, so we provided food for detainees who had no family visitations. We also had exercise: dance & yoga, chess and prayer. It is a joint prayer that transcends particular religions, as detainees may not be religious or are from diverse religious backgrounds. We respect that and come together in healing and love in our shared divine reflection. Our motivational and self affirmation is very necessary for our detainees to pursue on a positive note.
Wild Orchid visited our city jail. A facility of approximately 450 plus inmates, 35 of which are women. Everyone has their own story and many are far from family. The saddest part for Wild Orchid was to see some of our youth detainees there with their heads shaved and tears in their eyes. There is a permeating sadness amongst everyone, but Wild Orchid makes every effort to bring joy, hope and positivity to our inmates. We remind them of their significance, value as a living soul and human being. We constantly remind them of how sacred each and every life is. Sometimes they act as though they have never heard anything like this before. Thanks to our patrons, who are an eclectic array of benefactors of different nationalities; we gifted them with soap, toothpaste, chessboards and the women received cute cotton undies and sanitary napkins. We will commence with more program support by means of enrichment programs for art, education, self esteem and exercise. We believe that healing and rehabilitation starts with the person in the mirror, but it takes much external support to reassure each other that we truly belong to each other in a collective matrix to support and uplift.
With the infant mortality rate and high birth rate, Wild Orchid supporters donated refrigerators to birthing centers to store vaccines for newborn babies. Before these refrigerators, midwives would have to travel miles to another town to retrieve their vaccines for each birth. We are dedicated to intervening to break the cycle of poverty at the early and crucial stages of ones life. We also visited daycares and engaged with our toddlers with activities of art, music, dance, literacy and our young students were invited to The Mariano Mercado Ancestral Home for their first field trip.