“I have just returned from 6 extraordinary weeks spent with the children and girls of the CAMELEON center in Passi and I won’t forget it !

Corinne, volunteer in France since November 2017, went to the Philippines last April to help during the school holidays for children : manual activities, games, but also training in hospitality and catering for the older children.

Becoming a sponsor at her return in France, she tells us her experience : 

“When I made my request for a short mission to CAMELEON, I put forward my professional skills in the field of hospitality industry and catering offering introductory modules to these trades in the form of role plays, and as tips for attending a job interview and completing a resume.

Since this period was that of the school holidays in May, I also offered to set up courses in plastic art without having special skills in this area but by trusting my creativity and Pinterest as well as other sites of the genre!

Once on site I was (like any volunteer) warmly welcomed from my first evening by a show of high quality welcome, mixing dances, circus arts, songs, hair combing, new hairstyle and all that at the same time and just for me ! The 2nd day, a little intimidated, I settled in one of the kiosks of the center with some leaves, markers, coloring frieze and magnetic games brought back from France. A girl, then 2, 5, 10 came to join me, taking an immediate pleasure in coloring while asking me questions often commented in Hiligaynon (local dialect) between them. Good mood and application were at the rendezvous, it started well. Easily and in a very good atmosphere.

With the organization in place, I alternated daily activities in both centers. I was looking for project ideas: themed drawings, paintings, diversions of objects (rolls of toilet paper, cardboard plates, polystyrene balls etc…) and I proposed workshops of pearls and flowers in different materials (scoubidous , modeling clay etc…). From a model I encouraged them to give free rein to their imagination, and gradually it worked better and better, so much so that I discovered real talents of ingenuity in some, artistic in others. Their obstinacy and tenacity in front of the difficulties to be overcome completely amazed me, their competitive spirit when I set up a prize for the most successful objects or drawings made me impressed!

I took a lot of fun to accompany them, to share bursts of laughter, excitement and success! I have seen very rarely the abandonment because these small are strong and whatever the difficulties, they are obstinate and seek solutions.

At the same time, I gave my hotel and restaurant classes to some young girls from the center and other young people in the village, who were also financially supported in their studies by CAMELEON. The courses took place in a happy but attentive atmosphere and it was a pleasure to transmit my skills in such pleasant conditions. Thanks to Merlen, Program Manager, for the very good organization.

My experience although short was very rich and I was very attached to the girls of the center. Incidentally I also greet the precious “House Mothers” (surrogate mothers) who do an excellent job of supervision while being very close to girls. They often made it easy for me by getting information and materials with such kindness!

I returned really shaked of this stay during which I also met Laurence Ligier who gave me some of her precious time, to tell me her attachment to this country, these children, the difficulty of raising funds, to shake the people and mentalities. All these achievements accomplished, all these little ones whose life is repaired, all these young people can access to studies, these families taking a little dignity, this next center in Negros soon open, all that is Laurence and of course its formidable teams.

I am full of this emotionally rich holiday and I am already thinking of returning next year to find those children who touch me and miss me a lot.”