Empowering Kids to Help Themselves
"For it is in giving that we receive."
“Give a child fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a child how to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.”
Philippine Children's Charity was founded by Dr. Ernest Lee, MD, MPH, a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health. As a child, he would browse through photo albums of patients that his father had operated on for free as a medical mission surgeon in the Philippines. During medical school, Dr. Lee visited the Philippines. As his car drove away from the airport, he saw many thin children outside the window begging for food, in the midst of run down houses and streets filled with debris and waste. This experience left a lasting impression upon him. At Harvard, Dr. Lee’s research revealed to him that many donations sent to countries such as the Philippines never reach the poorest of the poor. Much of the money is used for administrative costs, taxed by the recipient country’s government, and then further diluted by local politicians. What little money gets through this funnel, is oftentimes utilized for high-profile programs designed to win political votes, rather than to establish truly effective, helpful, and sustainable programs.
Dr. Lee eventually organized and privately funded several medical missions and feeding programs to help impoverished Filipino children. After several missions, he realized that the cost of sending a U.S. medical and charity team to the Philippines, which typically is in the tens of thousands of dollars, could instead be spent on educational and logistical programs that could empower the children. Rather than giving children money and food indefinitely, he would teach them how to earn money for themselves. This would offer a sustainable solution, and instill self-dignity amongst the children.
To empower marginalized children, Philippine Children's Charity invests in their education, provides school nutrition programs, and collaborates with youth vocational and musical training programs. In 2021 and 2022, we plan to develop manufacturing facilities that will produce school supplies and other materials needed by tens of thousands of students throughout the entire Philippines. Rather than reinvent the wheel, our charity collaborates with existing organizations in the Philippines, to minimize startup costs, and to empower local teams to help the children. We also offer micro-grants of several hundred dollars to aspiring students so that they can establish their own self-sustaining businesses.