When we met Rina (Escosura) Miller in 2006 she was one of 75 or so young students at a college we visited in the Philippines who was eager to be trained in how to be a minister to those in the neighborhoods from which they came.
Since that time, Rina has shown herself a faithful friend to our organization. Over the past seven years she has spent multiple weeks each year with the teams we have on the field serving as a translator and cultural liaison.
Since meeting Rina, we knew that she had a desire to work in the field of social services, particularly as an advocate for disadvantaged children. In 2009, as an organization, we aided Rina in enrolling at Columban College, believing that such an education could empower her to be a legal advocate in the social services arena, an area of service in great need in the Philippines.
After four years of diligent work in college and 1000 hours of active field work, we are thankful to report that Rina has passed her board exams and is now a licensed social worker. In the Philippines, as in any developing country, the need for social services is in high demand because of the lack of welfare infrastructure and resources in place to benefit the most vulnerable. Having come from such a background herself, Rina is driven by the opportunity of assisting the next generation and empowering them to transform such trends. We will continue to work with Rina into the future as she works to become an asset to the people of the Philippines.
From education to healthcare, the Philippines Statistical System has noted a marked deterioration in the care of children in the country. While the Millennium Development Goals noted the need to respond to issues of primary education becoming more widely available and
reducing infant mortality, the National Statistical Coordination Board in the Philippines has observed a lack of improvement in these two fundamental arenas. As we work on a grass-roots level to assist those in the neighborhoods in which we live in the Philippines, we recognize that education and healthcare for children is imperative to progress. Rina's involvement in the legal arena as an advocate for such services to be available will enable us to demonstrate what benefit can come for a society overall as emphasis is placed on taking care of the children.
In addition to her focus on children, the Philippines penal system, which often has overly extended due process, needs people like Rina who can ensure that the rights of the incarcerated are considered. Our involvement in working with prisoners this summer in Luzon has informed us concerning the need for formal advocacy in this arena.
As a development organization, we can work alongside Rina en route towards changing the trends that exist for the most vulnerable of demographics in the Philippines.