PH embassy raises funds for global charity

by Patrick Camara Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at May 23 2012 10:04 AM | Updated as of May 24 2012 08:08 PM

LONDON - The Philippine embassy in London joined over a hundred diplomatic missions in the city to raise funds and awareness on behalf of a global charity for vulnerable children.

Staff from the embassy were at the International Spring Fair at Kensington Town Hall to help sell and promote products from the Philippines, including pearls, jewelry, notebooks, glassware, woodwork and mats.

Hundreds of countries participated at the fair to promote their culture whilst raising proceeds for Children and Families Across borders (CFAB).

“It’s a good way to reach out to the general public in London, and to showcase Philippines as a country, its products and its people,” said Myla Macahilig, cultural attache at the Philippine embassy in London.

“For the Philippines to be part of this is an opportunity to be part of a worthy cause. And also to make sure that we are participating and making representation in the country that we are in. It’s our way of contributing to the host country, and to be part of the general community of nations.”

Each country was designated a stall on which to showcase their goods, from traditional clothing and accessories, to home decor and stationery, to special delicacies and beverages. Countries like Panama, Finland and Indonesia also highlighted their distinct national costumes.

A selected few were given the opportunity to feature homegrown performers promoting their traditional music and instruments, including a band from Columbia, a musician from China, and a singer from Poland.

“It’s a wonderful expression of international solidarity for some of the most deprived and vulnerable people in the world. We’ve got 112 stalls here from around the world. It’s an extraordinary recognition of the internationalism of this problem,” said Lady Davies, chairman of CFAB’s International Spring Fair.

CFAB, the UK branch of international charity network ISS, aims to protect children who become vulnerable due to conflict, migration, trafficking, abduction, asylum and family breakdown.

Founded in 1959, its services include legal aid, case assistance, liaison support, and training for international social workers, as well as running the Advice Line providing vital information on child care and protection.

“We help up to 2000 cases of separation a year and, as you can imagine, this cost a lot of money. This event raises money for all that work. Last year we’ve raised £80,000, and this year we’re hoping to do better,” Lady Davies added.

In 2010-2011, the UK-based charity worked on over 400 cases across 130 countries. According to its annual review, 33% of cases were about children in need of protection, 26% were in support of children in care, and 23% on dealing with abduction and mediation. The rest involved foster care and asylum (10%), adoption (4%), child trafficking (2%) and vulnerable adults (2%).

Since 2009, CFAB has raised over £1.5 million for its projects and services through donations, fees, grants and special events including the annual International Spring Fair.