THE VISION ...
Where did the idea come from?
A passing comment from a former work colleague! When I told her that my wife and I had bought some land in the Philippines she suggested we start a school there. At the time I took the comment extremely lightly!
How did the idea take root?
Before moving to Wales and attending Bethel Baptist, our home church was St Stephens in Haslemere, Surrey, UK. During a service in April 2013 we were all given one pound. This took the place of the offering and we were challenged to ask God what to do with it. During sung worship after taking communion I sensed God telling me to open a savings account with it. This would be the beginning of the journey to starting a support centre. As we continued to sing, the word 'Shekinah' popped into my head. When I arrived home I looked it up and discovered it has to do with the presence of God. I was convinced this should be the name of the place that God had in mind.
Only two days later with all the children from Y3 of my school I visited a school in the east end of London as part of an exchange. Children from both schools were mixed together into small groups. One little girl in my group was from the Philippines. And her name? ... Shekinah!
God had confirmed His word. We believe we are now to go ahead and establish a support centre for children with Cerebral Palsy and for their families.
Why Cerebral Palsy?
During our visit to Bohol in March/April 2014 we discussed our ideas with some social workers at an orphanage. They shared that there is little or no government provision for these children in the area and neither are there any NGO's doing likewise. How could we say no?
THE JOURNEY SO FAR ...
We are excited to be partnering with ...
Cerebral Palsy Epilepsy Family Support, Philippines
Jessa Marmol and her husband have a little boy Theo with Cerebral Palsy. Realising many parents need support caring for their children with CP and Epilepsy, they set about organising Awareness seminars. With help from volunteer Physiotherapists and business sponsorship they have given help and hope to hundreds of parents and carers. We’re excited to share ideas, expertise, and resources and to help with funding of some of their events. See their Facebook page Cerebral Palsy Epilepsy Family Awareness Support Group.Ph Inc
October 2013 - Treloars School
I visited Treloars School near Alton, Hants. The Treloars Trust provides education, therapy, medical support and independence training to young people with physical disabilities. The children had highly trained 1:1 carers and individual learning plans which were supported by excellent resources and facilities. This is something we MUST aspire to.
April 2014 - First visit to our land
Imagine our excitement when we saw our land for the first time - before that we had only seen maps and pictures!
We arrived in Bohol on Wednesday 2nd April 2014. In the afternoon we took the short journey from our hotel to our land in the Barangay of San Isidro.
April 2014 - Arms of Love
On April 5th 2014 we paid a short visit to Arms of Love orphanage just outside Tagbilaran, Bohol. We were made very welcome and given a short tour of the site. One of the staff gave us very helpful advice on setting up a work with children in the Philippines. Thank you!
April 2014 - Chosen Children Village
14th April, 2014. After returning to Manila from Bohol, I was accompanied by Jifelane's brother Jimmy to visit the Chosen Children Village, Cavite. This NGO work has been established for over 25 years, caring for orphaned children and young adults with Cerebral Palsy. Seeing their facilities gave me some clear ideas of what we might achieve in Bohol.
On July 20th I paid a brief visit to the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy. It was a 'reccy' to learn about the kind of facilities and programs we will need. I was made very welcome and hope to develop a partnership as Shekinah grows and develops.
November 5th, 2015 we met Jifelane's uncle at the airport, who brought with him the much awaited Title to our land in Panglao, Bohol.
We had a wonderful welcome at the Philippines Cerebral Palsy Inc. headquarters in Makati, Manila.
We talked practicalities, vision and potential partnership.
The governing document for Shekinah is FINISHED and ready to be checked when we register for Charitable status.