Since 2018, ROHEI Foundation has been on a mission to end the orphan crisis. On April 1, 2023, we celebrated our last 5 years as ROHEI Foundation and introduced our expanded vision through our relaunch as Generations—Home. We partnered with Victory Katipunan who graciously welcomed us and offered their venue for the event.
It has become clear over the years that the true answer to the orphan crisis is for children to be welcomed home by families who will love and support them. Though institutional care does keep children sheltered and fed, it is only a band-aid solution in the long run. In bringing children home, it is not only their lives that are impacted, but the lives of the generations that follow them. This is where our new name and vision were born from: we want to bring generations home.
We spent the morning celebrating with almost 250 members of our community including government leaders, partners, adoptive and foster families, and our team of volunteers. Leading to and upon entrance to the venue, volunteers held up signs that reflected the event’s general air of warmth and familiarity. In the lobby, guests enjoyed the food from our concessionaires Vidare Provisions, Mommy Tin’s Home Kitchen, and Must Be Mom’s. Volunteers managed booths where attendees could get involved in different ways such as taking home brochures and connecting with our upcoming brand partner Common Good. The atmosphere was one of excitement as our community reunited with old friends and made new ones.
Everyone was invited to experience BlackBox. This was an immersive experience we launched on that day to give a glimpse of the harsh realities of orphaned children. Our team of professionals led this project: our producer Kalil Magtoto, experience architect Architect Bighani Minimo, writer Tristan Ortega, sound engineers Presh Capistrano, Owen Castro, and Ben Ayes. The team of voice actors comprised Hannah Paguila, Sam Cobangbang, Aned Samsom, Patricia Custodio, Bianca Custodio, Joshua Custodio, Chico Cabotage, Shirley Majait, Glenda Mesa, Ellin Capistrano, and Presh Capistrano. The production team was design led by Arct. Bighani and consisted of Janina Astilla, Joanna Felonia, Mariah Wong, Rachel Panis, Ging Martinez, Dawn Asuncion, Chico Cabotage, Carissa Moran, Kath Gino, Nathan Panis, Iris Holgado, Jethro Bugay, CJ Tiambeng, Crisha Guillermo, Rain Lazaro, David Paddit, Sam Rodriguez, A’gay Fabellar, Nikita Ligot, Jianna Francisco, and community members of Victory Katipunan.
The program was hosted by Janina Vela, a passionate advocate and content creator. The program began with a round of applause for all the social workers present in the room, to honor the work that they do. Dr. Jun Escosar, a pastor and adoptive father, followed with an opening prayer. Afterward, Generations—Home’s Director of Partnerships and Advocacy and co-founder, Jasmine Buen, took to the stage to acknowledge our partners and the food sponsors for the event.
We were honored to hear from our speakers. Undersecretary Janella Ejercito Estrada from the National Authority for Child Care, Senator Pia Cayetano who is the co-author of Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act and Foster Care Act of 2012, Issa Tica from Philippines Without Orphans, and Moises Labajo from Kids With Purpose International.
The short film of Generations—Home produced by Studio Impact and directed by Tristan Ortega was then premiered, telling the parallel stories of pregnant women in crisis, children stuck in institutional care, and aged-out individuals.
Afterward, the organization’s Executive Director, Chrina Henson, took to the stage to talk more about the change of name and our expanded vision. With 1.8 million orphaned children, 105,000 official cases of child trafficking in the Philippines, and the Philippines being the global epicenter of online sexual exploitation of Filipino children, the bottom line is that children need families, and one of our goals is to increase the age of preference in potential adoptive parents.
Chrina made it clear that we all have something to offer, if we make do with what we have. Her hope is that any part of the event had awakened within attendees an urgency to respond. The segment closed with a prayer over the team by Bishop Manny Carlos of Every Nation Philippines.
As the event drew to a close and the energy within Victory Katipunan began to wind down, some attendees still trickled over to the volunteer-manned booths and Black Box, hopefully having taken all the speakers’ words to heart. Overall, the relaunch event was a reminder of the community and relationships we’ve built over our brief but meaningful history as an organization, and of all the work that is left to do in the coming years.
Our 5 years of impact as an organization was made possible by ROHEI Learning & Consulting for helping us establish our work, Consuelo Foundation for fueling our Pregnant Women in Crisis Program, Operation Compassion for their early trust in our vision, International Justice Mission which fights for children’s rights alongside us, Philippines Without Orphans for unceasingly advocating for families with us, and Podcast Network Asia for amplifying our voices.
We would not be where we are today without you, and we look forward to journeying with you until we end the orphan crisis together.
Photography by Aian Agtay, Rain Lazaro, and Sam Rodriguez