Feeling the need to share a few things ...
We are now caring for 109 Ati children that range from babies to high school students. Technically they are all sponsored but here is the reality: There are some people who give donations that we have allocated to sponsor children which is how we can cover for the extra kids that we have taken under our wing. If we can get a few more individuals or companies to sponsor a child we can free up those donations for other needs and to be a buffer which would be great as sometimes payments don't come through and we are short of funds, or emergencies come up. So we could really do with that buffer.
We have had some extra generous donations that have come just when we really needed them. For example, this year at the beginning of the school year which is about to start now (June), we have 32 children in high school, many of whom have just graduated from elementary school. As you know to sponsor a high school student is €25 per year instead of €20 for elementary, the reason being that they have extra needs at the start of the school year so we accumulate the extra €5 each month over the year to help provide those needs at the beginning of high school. We had not calculated that we should have raised the €20 to €25 from Elementary Grade 6 rather than High School Grade 7, so we would have already collected what the new graduates need over the year. Because of this little blunder we were short of funds but thanks to the donations we were saved! So we will be contacting all sponsors of Grade 6 and up to see if they can make the increase and if not perhaps we can find people to share the sponsorship by adding the extra €5.
Some other donations were given specifically for a sustainable project to help sustain the Ati families in general and particularly through the Boracay closure. The ball is now rolling with that and we are working on a gardening project to grow crops and helping with fishing. I hope to have more updates on this in the near future.
Another issue we have found is that we can't really keep up with all the birthday presents. It's a nice idea and we would love to keep that going but have had to revise how we deal with that. Some sponsors like to give birthday gifts, we suggest about €15-20 which we send for them to get presents over there which Marissa kindly oversees. We tried to cover for all the kids that don't get the extra birthday money but with so many kids now it's not really feasible and we certainly don't want to pressure anyone into giving more as we are very grateful for the gift they are already giving in sponsoring them and providing for their education. So we will now just send the gifts that are given.
We tried to send photos out recently to all the sponsors but I am still missing a few pics so please bear with me if you haven't received one yet. As the number of kids and sponsors has increased so has the admin but we are doing our best to keep on top of it.
Thanks again for all the amazing love and support. You are making a world of difference to the Ati people of Boracay!