There was no trace of sorrow, only innocence and enjoyment when the cancer-stricken children sang for visitors at the opening of the new Child Haus at 90 Mapangakit Street, Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City.
An initiative of entrepreneur and philanthropist Ricky Reyes, Child Haus is a temporary abode for underprivileged patients with severe ailments who come from the provinces and are undergoing treatment in Metro Manila. Operated like a hospice care and a healing place, Child Haus provides free board and lodging for the children and their parents. The children study in the duration of their stay.
Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings and son of taipan Henry Sy, donated the house and lot. Sy acquired an old house at a good price, and had it tiled and painted in white like a hospital. Following the advice of psychologists, Reyes painted the walls in bright colors to cheer up the children.
On the day of the blessing, Sy visited the place before he flew to China for business. He was impressed that the place was comfortably furnished with enough beds for 70 residents and a lot of toys. He thought the place was too small, so another Child Haus in Manila should be in the pipeline.
He then sent his wife Carol to represent him and invited his mother Felicidad to grace the formal opening. It was a special occasion to meet the extremely private Sy women, who rarely make public appearances.
His or her own little charity
Although SM Foundation helps in communities where it serves, Carol said each family member has his or her own little charity. Felicidad, for instance, helps religious groups and has contributed to the construction of churches. Being in the company of nuns and priests has kept her young.
Asked her age, she declared, “I’m 48.”
Carol, an entrepreneur, prefers to assist the smaller or lesser-known groups. “We help very quietly. We don’t talk about it. That’s the way to do it. You don’t announce that you’re doing good. It’s only between God and you.”
Reyes asked his network to support his endeavor. Broadcaster Korina Sanchez donated dining tables and a big refrigerator. Builders Ramon and Annie Santos provided colorful seats and little amusement facilities.
On seeing the chapel furnished by Travelpros Inc. of Cris Aquino, Felicidad sat down and prayed. During the party, Pagcor arrived with a check for P200,000. Reyes added that Hotel InterContinental has been giving checks every now and then, and it would amount to six figures by year-end.
Reyes explained that donors are given a folder which includes records of where each of their contributed pesos was spent, whether it was on a diagnosis, lab analysis, medication or procedure and transporation allowance to the hospital. “The donors should know where their money is going.”
Then there are the volunteers who serve with a pure heart, he says. Arellano University and the University of Sto. Tomas sends caregivers as their on-the-job training. There are Carmelite sisters who share God’s love and Christian groups that sometimes provide the lunch.
“The children, play, sing, dance and watch TV. They are happy here, such that they don’t feel they are sick,” says Reyes.