SOS Virtual Visits Forging Strong And Meaningful Connections Amidst The Pandemic
“All along, I thought the pandemic
has completely stopped volunteer activities, outreaches, and other social
welfare initiatives. But we were still able to bond with SOS children despite
the pandemic. It only goes to show that sharing and kindness knows no limits
and any hindrance can be conquered by the will to serve people in need,” says Roan
Castillo of UPS Philippines, a corporate partner of SOS Children’s Villages
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly
changed our way of life. Since the beginning of 2020, the whole world was
forced out of its comfort zones to battle the global pandemic. Communities had
to impose lockdowns, families struggled to provide for their needs, and
children had to cope with all the changes and uncertainties around them.
In the children’s villages, SOS
children were out of school for months, and most projects for youth development
and empowerment were postponed. Many donors have also withdrawn their support
due to financial constraints, and SOS families have struggled to budget their
funds. In spite of all the challenges, SOS Philippines and its partners pushed
through to continuously provide its promised quality care to orphaned,
abandoned, and neglected children.
Partner companies HSBC, Texas
Instruments, Fujitsu, and HGS supported the E-learning Project to provide
enough e-learning facilities such as computers and internet connection to SOS
children. On the other hand, Pfizer, Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, Capital
One, UPS Delbros International, Hoegh LNG Services ROHQ, On Semiconductor
Foundation, Greenergy Fuels Limited, Johnson & Johnson, and RCBC Bankard
Services Corporation helped ensure that SOS families will have enough food
supply and other basic needs in this challenging year. Aside from their
support, all these companies, including Radisson Hotels and Deloitte, initiated
virtual visits to help fill in the social development needs of children in a
time when face-to-face interactions are limited.
Sixteen companies and eight SOS
children’s villages in the Philippines participated in a series of virtual
With the theme
#CaringCannotBeQuarantined, SOS Virtual Visits provide the platform for SOS
children and employee-volunteers to meet and build meaningful connections
despite the present restrictions brought by the spreading coronavirus. Marianne
Mendoza from UPS Philippines agrees and shares, “being in quarantine for almost
a year, we are all longing for human connection. Volunteering has now adjusted
to the new ways and has migrated online, but the gift of time is something we
can still freely share with the children.”
Arnold of SOS Children’s Village
Manila felt inspired and appreciated through the virtual visit. “Even though
there’s an ongoing pandemic, the uncles and aunties (employee-volunteers) found
the time to see us and ask us how we are right now. I was inspired to hear
their advice about achieving our dreams and staying driven in these uncertain
times,” he says.
Knowing that there are people who
care for them and support their needs gives children a sense of security and
belongingness, which they need to become independent and contributing members
of society as they grow.
During the virtual visit,
Christine realized that she is blessed to have her SOS family thanks to the
volunteers’ wise words. “Not everyone can experience this kind of life. My
siblings and I are provided with our daily needs as well as education. I’m glad
we were able to talk comfortably with the uncles and aunties and share this
after the games and ice breakers,” she adds.
The children were all smiles as they
played an online guessing game with the HGS employees.
Meaningful connections and strong
bonds are proven to have a lasting impact on children and young people's lives.
These activities help children meet new people, interact freely, and develop
their own world views. Most importantly, this bonding helps create a happy
childhood for these children to look back to and use as a foundation to grow
and lead a happy and fulfilling life.
Like all the children, SOS
Philippines is looking forward to more visits in the coming year as we forge
new connections and build stronger partnerships. We encourage everyone to invest
in our children of today so that they may build a better future for us all.