Who are we
"We aren't raising orphans, we are raising sons and daughters"
Ministries Philippines Inc.
or HHM is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO)
for children in crisis situations who need a safe refuge, assistance,
an intervention, trauma informed care, psychosocial support, medical help and someone to advocate for their rights.
HHM believes that children belong in families and so we work hard at family preservation whenever possible and after exhausting every effort to keep a child in their biological family or in Kinship care, we support adoption, both domestic and international.
Our main why is that “we love because He first loved us”! - 1 John 4:19
Helping Hands Ministries began as a result of a young woman seeing a great need that no one was filling within the local hospital and acting upon it. In 1998, Claire Goudy from Moira Pentecostal Church in Northern Ireland decided to go and spend six months working in Philippine Outreach Center’s children’s home in Subic Bay, Philippines. She ended up spending almost 3 years there. Little did she realize that this would become a consuming passion and a potential lifetime’s work.
In September 2002, Claire then began Helping Hands Healing Hearts Ministries, Philippines Inc. It was initially based in James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo City. There, Claire and some volunteers cared for sick and dying children, their siblings and their parents. They offered to “Bantay” or attend to the patients so parents could go home and rest. They also bought medications for those who could not afford to provide for their children. This is a short synopsis of the work and how it has grown in the subsequent years since then.
After initially setting up the Ministry, Claire worked alone for 6 months until she was sure that the Ministry was viable and sustainable. She then began to employ local people who also had a heart to help sick children. Currently HHM have around 45 paid staff and many more local volunteers. Many visitors also come from abroad to inspect the work and to offer expertise and advice to those who work for the Ministry.
In January 2005, after firmly establishing two offices within James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital to screen and interview clients; dispense free medication and offer counseling, Claire proceeded to hire a registered Social Worker and to set up a Children’s Recovery Unit – Olongapo at the same time.
HHM purchased a property in Olongapo City and renovated it to become a unit in which sick children could be referred from JLGMH for further physical, nutritional, emotional, spiritual build-up and for the completion of oral home medications. This idea came about due to the vast numbers of children who had been helped by the Ministry but had been observed to return to the hospital soon after release because they had not been given their follow-on medications and due to lack of budget had not been adequately fed upon return to their home environment. It was apparent that follow up care was badly needed and that temporary shelter was the best option to offer such care. CRU Olongapo officially opened in January 2005 and the next day, the Children’s Recovery Unit (CRU) was already home to 14 meningocele patients referred from James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital. In the first 7 months alone, Helping Hands housed 60 patients referred from JLGMH; DSWD including OCARE, RSCC, SDC and the hospital based Social Worker from JLGMH and finally from San Fernando Provincial Jail (Children of inmates who were also residing in the jail) and others have come from the local churches and other local NGO’s who do not normally cater for sick children. The purpose of the CRU was to offer the kids temporary shelter until they were well enough to be returned to their families or to the care of the DSWD. In the following months, they also broadened their scope slightly to include children who have been abandoned in the hospital as they also need temporary shelter until their parents can be located or until they can be housed at RSCC or another NGO.
In July 2009, the first branch of CRU was set up in Baguio in order to help children in CAR and nearby provinces. HHM rented a place for the 1st branch of CRU and had the opening ceremony which was officiated in December 2009. It started with 7 staff who began to network with Baguio General Hospital and Benguet General Hospital with a once a week evangelism program. These hospitals together with CAR DSWD are the sources of referrals for the CRU – Baguio.
Within the walls of CRU Olongapo, many lives were changed for good. Many children’s lived were saved and many were able to be reintegrated to their families. Of course there were tragic losses too. Children succumbed to their illnesses and hearts were broken. But the focus of the staff remained the same, help save the lives of those who are brought to us by doing what we can and leave the outcomes to God. It was with great sorrow that we finally had to close the doors of CRU Olongapo in June 2019 due to staffing issues. We simply couldn’t find any more nurses as most had gone abroad and many had taken high paying jobs in local call centers. The rest of the staff were heartbroken but we were able to give severance pay and many were able to start small businesses and find other work. The children were transferred to CRU Baguio or to Children’s Home Baguio and some were reunified with family because their treatments had come to an end.
CRU closure was no light decision, and we felt the weight of it even more as the time drew closer but with hindsight, it was indeed the right decision for the Ministry as a whole. In the 14 years of existence, CRU was able to offer shelter to over 600 patients. It was our honor to serve Region 3 for that many years. DSWD let us know that we are welcomed to return anytime if the door was to reopen in the future.
The CRU in Baguio Continues to thrive.
Children’s Home came about in a different manner. For a while, HHM had been considering starting a children’s home as we had encountered a growing number of kids who could no longer be reunified for various reasons. Some families flat out refused to take back their children, especially when they had been left with significant special needs. Some children disclosed serious abuse they had encountered at the hands of their families which meant returning home was no longer a viable or safe option. Some children were orphaned while staying at CRU. One child in particular lost her mother to an ectopic pregnancy and soon after her father had a stroke. Another little family who were with us for severe malnutrition lost their mother to rabies and the father absconded after the funeral to be with another woman. Another mother died in childbirth and the father died soon after of cancer. Some families were crushed by natural disasters, illness, job losses, jail sentences etc and because of the major change in circumstances, they could no longer pass the Parenting Capability Assessments conducting by the LGU’s and so, we had to look for alternative care plans for the children.
In July 2013, an American Missionary couple approached HHM asking if we would consider taking over their orphanage in Baguio as they wanted to return to the USA. We told them we would but only if they allowed the transition to happen over a period of 6 months to ensure it was viable and they had no regrets. We wanted the children and staff to feel secure and not rushed. So by Jan 2014, Claire Henderson assumed the role of Executive Director of Safe Harbor International Philippines (SHIP) and slowly helped transition SHIP to Helping Hands Healing Hearts Children’s Home (CH). There were 14 kids and 9 staff. All transitioned well and within the year, they were excited to be part of HHM and its vision. Some staff gradually moved on and others joined the team. We transitioned in the Assistant Center Head of CRU to become to Center Head of CH and we promoted the senior house parent of SHIP to become the social worker of CH. She was qualified and merely needed to renew her licence. The mix of familiar faces and the existing HHM experienced staff helped make the transition smooth. To date, all of those 14 children bar one, have been adopted or reunified. Most went abroad in Intercountry adoptions, a few were locally adopted and some went back to extended family members or parents. One vulnerable young adult remains in our care. She has autism and other cognitive delays and we don’t forsee moving her to any other home as there is none available for her age and level of need.
The current Children’s Home is set in Camp 7, Baguio City, right next door to the CRU. This makes working together hand in hand so much easier. There are 24 children living in CH at this time and 11 of those children are on the waiting lists for adoption. Adoption seems to be our strength at HHM. Over the last 6 years we have been able to place over 45 children into families through local or Intercountry adoption. We still love to pursue reunification where possible and work hard at trying to exhaust all viable family members before deciding on adoption for a child. We limit our number of children to around 25 as we find that’s about the right number to enable us to maintain a family feel and avoid feeling like an institution. When we go much higher, inevitably, we have to be more rigid and put more routines and structure in place. Our goal is for CH to feel like a large family home where each child receives lots of love, care, attention and is able to thrive. To do this we maintain decent staffing levels and ensure that the quality of care remains high.
In 2018 we began homeschooling our children as so many were very far behind in their grades and struggling to attain their levels in school. We initially began using the School of Tomorrow program but transitioned to Homeschool Global Program in 2019 and have been very satisfied with the results we have seen in our kids. To run the homeschool we had to employ 6 teachers. This was a mammoth undertaking and meant that it wasn’t necessarily cheaper to homeschool than to send everyone to regular school but we reaped the benefits. The children began to love learning and thrived in their new way of studying. Grades went up and the kids felt less stressed in general. Homeschooling also meant that our sick kids from CRU could carry on their schooling. Many of them couldn’t attend regular school because of their illnesses, loss of limbs, rashes, cancer treatment schedules etc BUT with the flexibility of homeschool, they were able to enroll and study once again. We have 21 students currently enrolled.
Claire Gina G. Henderson
"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes"
- Radical by David Platt
Marissa V. Dela Peña
Psalms 127:3 "Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him."
It's a joy to hear a child calling me "nanay marissa" - It's music to my ears.
Forever grateful for this calling;
Serving God through these children."
Marie Grace B. Demandante
Children's Home Center Head
"No trauma, no pain, no darkness past is ever too great to be overcome by the Lord's healing love”
Annalee P. Mapalad
1 Timothy 1:12 (KJV) "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;"
It's a great honor and privilege for me to be part of this ministry
Jemimah Jewel A. Posnayan
"As the Twig is bent, it is how the Tree will grow, as the mind is planted, it's how the heart will know, if you Lead a Child to Jesus, that's where it goes."
- Alexander Pope
Volunteer, Life Coach
"My goal is to teach the children practical and spiritual skills to prepare them for their future."
Volunteer, Life Coach / PE Teacher
Kanny Rem C. Mijares
Children's Recovery Unit Center Head
"God heals and does miracles. I have seen and experienced it. It's what He does, It's who He is"
Jovita M. Liu
Senior Social Worker
"Not all days are smooth and sunny but still i find it great and fulfilling to be in this Ministry. It is not just work, but part of my life already."
Mina L. Manaois
" It is an honor and privilege for me to work in this organization as a social worker where the Love of Christ is the center of everything. Children are being raised as sons and daughters."
Flohelda S. Crispin
"Galatians 2:20 , "And I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Herbert Lenhert Plaatjies
Fundraiser & Sustainability Officer
Caitlin B. Demandante
Admin Finance Assistant
"It is such a privilege and a blessing to witness and be a part of God's miraculous works through the lives of the children. Ecclesiastes 3:11"