Dr. Richard Kent
Rev. Roger French
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The vision for APCF, the Asian Pacific Children’s Fund, was birthed in 2002 when APCF chairman and founder Don McAlvany and his wife Molly encountered an orphan’s home on Manila Bay in the Philippines. The children in this home had come from very difficult backgrounds, from the streets of Philippine cities, where they begged, stole, or sold their bodies to stay alive. They came from poor villages where they had lost one or both parents, from abject poverty, abuse, and rejection and from lives with no hope and no future.
But the children in this home were happy, well cared for and loved by a staff who treated them like they were their own children. They were being educated up through university level and were being taught principles of how to live successful, productive, meaningful lives. What a contrast from the poverty, deprivation, and abuse of the streets (or of their small villages) to the caring, loving family atmosphere of this home. They had come from pain, poverty, and no hope for their future, to a place of laughter, acceptance, love, and personal growth.
But, as we soon learned, this is not the reality of hundreds of millions of orphans, and street children throughout the Third World. These are “throw away children”. No one wants them, no one loves them, no one notices their pitiful lives, or in many cases, their very early deaths. They have no one to hug them, hold them, care for them or take care of their most basic needs. It is not that they are forgotten - no one even noticed they were there - that they even existed.
Another sad reality is the 1½ to 2 million little girls (aged 5 to 12) who are sold or forced into prostitution each year via Third World sex trafficking. Locked in cages like animals, only to be let out when used as child prostitutes, they finally emerge on the streets at about age 15 where they will perform the only trade they know until they die of AIDS, usually in their twenties.
The mission of the Asian Pacific Children’s Fund is to find well-run, largely unknown Asian children’s homes - homes that are on no one’s radar screen - and to help them to raise funding and bring in resources, which they need to survive and prosper.
When we say “well-run”, APCF understands homes, where loving, caring staff can give these children the basics of life. These include food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education - and a loving family environment - where the children can have their physical and emotional wounds healed. Here they can be nurtured, trained, educated and prepared for productive lives in a very unfriendly and challenging world.
“Resources” include finances, staffing, food, clothing, English teachers (English is essential if these children are eventually to get good jobs) and medical & dental teams.
APCF currently supports almost 400 children in six such children’s homes, one in the Philippines, four in Indonesia and one in India. Our vision is to ultimately “adopt” dozens of well-run, loving, caring children’s homes, put them on the world’s radar screen and help them to become self-sustaining. We already have children who have grown up in our homes, who have learned trades, have gone to university or have studied for outreach and missionary work. Some have returned to the home they grew up in to return the warmth, kindness and hope they received to a new generation of orphans and destitute children. Films on four of the APCF homes, and a photo gallery of the homes and children, are viewable on APCF’s website, www.apcfund.com.
If you have a heart for hurting Third World street children and orphans, there is much that you can do. If your heart is touched by our children, where they have come from and the positive transformation that is taking place in their lives, if you can in some way feel the pain of the millions of street children and orphans that have no hope, no life, and no future, then contact us and get involved with the Asian Pacific Children’s Fund. Together we can make a difference in these children’s lives, one child and one orphan’s home at a time.
Thank you, please »
"A MESSAGE FROM DON McALVANY"
HERE ARE SOME THOUGHT ABOUT THE “UNTOUCHABLE” CHILDREN IN INDIA FROM DON MCALVANY, PUBLISHED IN OCTOBER 2010
FINAL THOUGHT: “...UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE”. The world is not at all what most Americans might suppose that it is. If you have not travelled extensively abroad -- and not just to tourist destinations like London, Paris, Cancun, or some beach resort – it is difficult to have an accurate perspective or understanding of the world in which we live, or its people. Over 75% of the world lives in such abject poverty, that it makes American welfare/food stamp recipients look wealthy by comparison. In America , we
Take our incredible affluence for granted, with virtually no thought, comprehension or concern for how billions of people live and die – virtually unnoticed around the world – believing that the “American way” is the norm. It is not!
This writer and his wife just spent three weeks in India , where over 800,000,000 people live in such incredible poverty and deprivation, that starvation is an ever present threat and reality for millions on any given day. We lived in a village in southern India at one of the Asian Pacific Children’s Funds six orphan’s homes, with 218 children from India ’s poorest of the poor villages and families. Over two thirds of these children came from the lowest caste in the incredibly discriminatory Hindu system – the dalits (or untouchables).
People from these lowest castes are considered to be sub-human, and at best might be able to obtain a menial job as a street sweeper, cleaner of sewers, or handlers of dead bodies. The system which they are locked into keeps their children from attending school (they can’t afford the school fees, books, and uniforms) and if they should be able to attend grade school, they will seldom, if ever be able to go beyond that level. Some families are so poor, that their children are forced into virtual slave labour, working 15 hours a day in match and brick factories at ages 6, 7, 8 and 9 – earning a dollar a day, or less, and severely beaten and abused when they fail to meet their quotas.
Other families sell their young daughters (for as little as $50 - $100) into child prostitution. One and a half to two million young girls across Asia (aged 5 to 12) are forced into prostitution each year – many of them from India . Many will be dead from AIDS by the time they are 20-25 years old. And if they try to escape, they have no where to go but the streets (where tens of millions of young children are living and dying).
If they are caught by their brothel owners trying to escape, they will be beaten, tortured or even killed (often by burning) as a lesson to the other girl prostitutes not to try to escape. These young girls are locked 24/7 in virtual cages (small rooms where they are made to “service” up to 20 customers a day in the most
Unspeakable ways imaginable), where they will have forced abortions if or when they get pregnant – only to be forced back into “service” in their tiny prisons within two weeks.
By the time they reach 15 and are fully trained or “broken in”, they are released from their cages to ply their “trade” – the only skill they know or have acquired (or way to earn a meagre wage) until they die of AIDS in their early 20’s or sooner.
The outlook for the young boys is almost as grim – a life on the streets, eating from garbage cans, stealing food or whatever, selling their bodies to homosexuals or paedophiles for a few rupees, begging, and maybe one day being “lucky” enough to land a job as a street sweeper or pimp.
And recently it was revealed that there is an active market in body organs in India , wherein young boys (girls are more valuable as prostitutes) are grabbed off of the street, and organs are surgically removed (kidneys, hearts, livers, etc.) and sold in the black market. Recently, the news broke that the bodies of hundreds of young children who have been dismembered for body parts were found near Delhi .
And why is there no cry of outrage across India against these horrific abuses of young boys and girls? Because they are from the lowest caste – dalits, and as such, are considered to be subhuman and not really worthy of a second thought or concern, or effort to save them. These are truly the forgotten children of the world. (Only lepers – and there are still many in India -- are considered to be more non-persons or subhuman than the dalits).
And this is the background of most of our 218 children at Hope Mission Home -- the future they had to look forward to as low caste, non-persons of India - that is, until they came to our home. At Hope Mission Home, they are cared for, loved, fed well, given medical care, clothing, educated, and protected from the predators of their country. They are taught that there is a God – the God of the Bible – who loves them and sees them as his beloved sons and daughters, and as such, they are infinitely valuable and are coming to understand that fact. They are no longer the “refuse” of society – the “throwaway children”.
My wife, Molly, and I, who spend three weeks each, twice a year with these children, have come to be seen as “Mommy” and “Daddy”. It is incredible to see how they respond to love, and caring and hugs, as we do regular exercise classes, English classes, Bible studies, weight lifting and other games with them. During our
September/October stay with the children, we took them to a water park a few hours away – 215 children in two separate waves of 105 and 110. It was incredible to hear their laughter and squeals of delight as many of them swam for the first time in their lives, rode the waterslides, rode rides and had what many described as the happiest day of their lives.
Hope Mission Home (with help from friends in America and elsewhere) intends to put all of these children through university if they can qualify with good grades in high school. Most of these children would never make it through grade school, let alone high school or college aside from living in the home. We spent 3-4 hours each with16 of the older girls and seven of the older boys – hearing their stories: their pain, their abuse, their hardships, and now their dreams for the future.
Most have never known a father, many had no parents. Several had been child workers (slaves) in match factories; a few had had brothers or sisters die of starvation before their desperate mothers brought them to Hope Mission Hope. One beautiful 14 year told of how she was about to be forced to be a child bride (at age 13) by an uncle (a legal way of selling a young girl for sex in India ) before another relative rescued her and brought her to the home.
Several of the girls wanted to study in university to become nurses, teachers, an engineer, study business; two would like to become doctors. And they will, because Hope Mission Home is determined to help them fulfil there dreams and to have a life – where before they had absolutely no hope, and no future.
Over the past four months, HMH brought in 80 new children who were in desperate situations. HMH could not afford these children, but would not leave them on the streets, or to starve, or to a life of factory or (sex) slavery. This created a huge deficit in their finances at a time when inflation in India is soaring and the U.S. dollar is collapsing (i.e., over the past 90 days, the U.S. dollar has dropped almost 13.5% against the Indian rupee, so the U.S. dollar contributions now buy 13.5% less of everything than only a few months earlier).
A home like Hope Mission Home (and the five others in Indonesia and the Philippines , which Asian Pacific Children’s Fund helps support) has many challenges. HMH needs a new building to house their growing numbers of children (all of them are sleeping on the floor in rooms that would be too small at half their numbers). They need a new school, since these children are discriminated against in the Hindu school system, because they are from a Christian children’s home.
Their food budget is not adequate (i.e., no fruit, no meat) and their rice costs just rose 5-fold as government subsidized rice for the home has just been cut off. Because of the limited food budget, their nutrition is inadequate. The home (children) needs regular vitamin supplements – which the current budget cannot afford. During the recent drought in Southern India all three of the home’s water wells ran dry – necessitating the purchase of all the water. Children’s baths were limited to once a week and drinking water was very limited. APCF recently financed a 1500 gallon tank and trailer for water delivery to the home. And one American donor gave two large Big Berkey water filters, so the children are now drinking clean water in adequate amounts.
The education costs continue to rise as the children get older and school fees rise ten-fold between grade school and high school. Eighty new children have greatly increased all costs – education, food, staff costs, medical, etc. and university expenses (which will begin in the next year or so) will explode over the next five years and will create large new financial challenges.
But, we are determined that these children will get university educations, -- it is the only way they can have a life and a future in India . If they have a university degree, the stigma and restraints from a dalits background begin to evaporate. But, only with a university degree!
WHAT CAN YOU DO? We (at Hope Mission Home and Asian Pacific Children’s Fund) need your help! The needs and challenges at our six homes are great and growing: global (and Third World) inflation is high and rising at least 10-15% per year; the U.S. dollar is collapsing – greatly reducing the value of all U.S. sourced contributions.
Our monthly budget deficit at Hope Mission Home is now almost $5000 per month and rising rapidly. And when the contributions are low in any given month, the first thing to cut (the only expense which can be quickly cut) is the food budget. It now costs $509 per year per child, and within a year or so that will be over $600 per child.
If you would like to sponsor 1, 2, 3, 5 or whatever number of children – that would be a huge help. Until we have more financial support (or sponsors) we will have to turn away any additional children – with the horrific consequences for many of them discussed above. If you would like to get involved with us (seriously involved) in a cause or effort -- a mission which is above and beyond your own personal life, family, business or investments -- we would welcome you, we need that involvement. Helping these children could be one of the most fulfilling things you have ever done. It is for me and for those of us at Asian Pacific Children’s Fund. (Your prayers for these efforts are also deeply appreciated).
For more information on the financial needs at Hope Mission Home, contact Philip Lovell at APCF, phone 866-211-8987, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, 361 S. Camino del Rio, Suite 141 , Durango , CO 81303 . And check out our website – www.APCFund.com.
APCF would eventually like to help thousands of these rejected, discarded “throwaway” children, and give them a life, hope and a future – as we are doing with the 218 children at Hope Mission Home and hundreds more at our other five homes. But we need help – we cannot do it alone. Please ponder, consider and pray about how you can get involved (or more involved) in this effort.
In Matthew 25: 35, 36, Jesus was speaking to a crowd of his followers and said: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me....” His followers asked Him, when had they done all of these things? And He answered (vs. 40) “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.” I believe these poor street children, orphans and forgotten ones are “the least of these,” that Jesus was talking about.
Proverbs 11: 24, 25 says regarding the sharing of our wealth and abundance with others: “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 22.9 says: “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.”
And Proverbs 31:8 & 9 says: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.” This writer believes that the poor and the needy include our 400 (plus) Asian orphans (in India , Indonesia , and the Philippines) and many, many more we would like to rescue when the funds are available.
We need a lot more regular (monthly) financial donors, (for just the children we now have in our six homes) and even more if we are to take in hundreds of new children and adopt new homes over the next year or two. I would strongly encourage you to help us with monthly or single donations. As James 1:27 says:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress”. Will you help us do that? And that is the bottom line!