AS THE country and the rest of the world, strives to cope with the pandemic brought by Covid-19, Help Educate and Rear Orphans (Hero) Foundation Inc. continues in its mission to support military orphans despite these trying times.
The foundation is celebrating its 32nd year with a renewed commitment to help orphaned children of fallen soldiers continue their education, while encouraging the rest of the community to do the same.
“While these are difficult times, we must also remember that the challenges these children face continue — if not even magnified with everything that is going on,” said retired Major General Victor Bayani, its executive director.
Since 1988, Hero Foundation has been helping the children left behind by military personnel who were killed in service.
Starting this year, the foundation will not just provide stipends but also partial tuition fee for those enrolled in private schools and all grantees will be provided book allowance.
A new program, Reach (Rise, Empower, Aspire, Commit, and Honor) provides complete education assistance to selected exceptional college-level military orphans.
Hero Foundation continues to be one of the biggest partners of the AFP in securing the future of military orphans through education. To date, it has helped 1,183 HERO graduates finish their studies, and is currently supporting almost 300 more.
“Being an orphan is difficult, both for me and my widowed mother. But all through elementary, high school and now college, your charity and good will has helped to open many opportunities both for myself and my fellow orphans,” Hero scholar Christopher Lee Teves said.
Kristy Ann Dalid, a third year Chemical Engineering student at University of Mindanao, is also grateful for being a Hero scholar.
“Laki ang aking pasasalamat sa Hero Foundation for opening doors for us scholars na maisakatuparan ang aming mga pangarap. Dahil sa financial na suporta, mas naging magaan at naging sandalan ito upang matustusan ang aming pag-aaral,” Dalid said.
Future nurse Stephanie Singueo is also one of the Reach scholars who see their dreams within reach.
“Sobrang laki ng tulong sa aking ng Hero Foundation, dahil naging katuwang na ito ni Mama para sa edukasyon ko. Hindi na kailangan pa isipin ni Mama kung pano mabibili lahat na libro na kailangan ko, allowance ko at iba pang mga kailangan sa pag-aaral,” she said. “Salamat sa Hero Foundation. Yung mga pangarap ng magulang namin para sa amin unti-unti ng matutupad. Kaya Pa, konting tiis na lang, magkaka-nurse ka na!”
With schools shifting to online learning, these scholars face another challenge of having the proper equipment and internet connection to continue their education at home. The foundation is also calling for donations of gadgets scholars can use in their online classes.
“These are trying times and we are all doing our best to cope up with the changes this pandemic has brought. The continued support to this cause will mean so much to the military orphans especially with the adjustments that they have to face due to the current situation,” Bayani added.
This year, the foundation has enhanced its online donation channels to provide safe and convenient channels for those who are willing to help these children. Donations can be made through bank accounts online, GCash, Give2Asia, and Lazada.