By Dan McAloon
Our story about Fr John Iacono’s appeal for funds to build a childcare centre for the children living on a rubbish dump in Cebu in the Philippines has resulted in a
generous response from Catholic Weekly readers.
The donations mean it is certain the childcare centre will now be built.
“Your story has touched the hearts of many people around Australia and the
results have been fantastic! Please tell your readers that because of them this project will succeed,” said Fr John from the presbytery at Enmore-Tempe parish where each mail delivery brings in another donation –
$24,000 so far.
The good news has also been received by the people of Cebu too where the administrators of the present inadequate childcare centre have written to Fr John expressing their gratitude. A few
months ago, they wrote, their “completely dilapidated day care centre” faced an uncertain future.
“The news from Australia that generous people have taken up the plight of the poor on Cebu’s garbage dump has
caused great joy. With hearts full of gratitude we thank the generous readers of The Catholic Weekly. Thanks to you, preventative day care education for children living on Cebu’s garbage dump and in nearby slums
“Your support will allow the construction of a new day care centre and the continuation of the centre’s operation serving desperate families and their children in need. May God bless and reward
goodness so generously shared in solidarity.”
The letter was signed by Fr L C Lucas, Helena De Guznan, Orlando Olaybar and Ramonito Quijano.
The letter also mentions one Cebu resident who wishes to
send her personal thanks. This is Nang Eliza, a widow whose third grandchild, Sheila, aged six, has just graduated from the childcare centre. Nang Eliza has been caring for her grandchildren since their parents were
killed in an accident at the dump some years ago.
Sheila will now join her siblings at elementary school, the fulfilment of Nang Eliza’s dream that her infant grandchildren “should have a decent education in
order not to spend the rest of their lives on the garbage dump”, wrote Fr Lucas.
Without the means to support them, the grandmother says it was the centre’s health and nutrition programs that ensured their
“Without the day care centre her grandchildren never could have made it. This is the reason for her deep gratitude and happiness,” the letter said.