“In the eyes of a child there is joy, there is laughter. There is hope; there is trust, a chance to shape the future. For the lessons of life, there is no better teacher than the look in the eyes of a child.” – Air Supply
I connected to this song when I listened to the stories of the children who participated in last month’s Little Acts of Kindness at Museo Pambata in Manila.
My friend, Aura Lim started Project Smile in 2010, with the aim of promoting empowerment and wellbeing for children in different communities. I had always admired her advocacy of giving back and she does this consistently every year, encouraging friends and family to join. This year Project Smile had its 11th activity, in coordination with Child Hope Philippines, a nonprofit organization advocating for street children. I had the honor of joining Aura and her team for 3 hours of games, activities, feeding and sharing of gifts for 35 street children of Manila.
Child Hope Philippines conducts street education program. They have a classroom at Museo Pambata dedicated for this, and they allowed us to use the facility for the event. The street children who participated were beneficiary students of Child Hope Philippines.
We started with a prayer and everyone introduced themselves. After an ice breaker, the children were divided into 5 groups. Within their groups, they were given sketch pads, pencils and coloring materials for them to draw pictures describing who they, and what they want to be when they grow up. It was heartwarming listening to the kids speak about their dreams, seeing hope in their eyes. Most of the participants in my group wanted to become policemen and soldiers. There was a boy, who I remember had been the most participative, and he shared that he wanted to become a seaman. He wanted to travel different places and see the world when he grows up.
Afterwards we read them stories and ran a contest for each group to present the different Filipino values through singing, acting or dancing. We gave out prizes to each team and it was quite touching to see some of the children share their prizes with their friends.
During the feeding time, I noticed most of the children did not finish their food. Our partner from Child Hope Philippines said that most of the children do this because they bring home the rest of the food to share with their siblings or other relatives. I was moved when I learned this.
Seeing the children’s hope, generosity, and selflessness was quite an experience, and something I will always be thankful for. I was reminded that every act of kindness, no matter how little, goes a long way.