From the Heart
Tim and Pam Baker are making their home in Mérida, Mexico. Active in their community, they are true to their passion for helping children. They continue to direct Philip Hayden Foundation and work directly with vulnerable children and families living at the edge of their town, building a sense of belonging. Their son, Nate, serves with them.
Tim met Dr. Eder Abreu, a local physician, several months ago. Dr. Eder is passionate about meeting the health needs of children and families, even when they cannot pay for services. Dr. Eder is affiliated with Red de Ciudadanos de Mérida, a local charity providing food, medical care, and vocational training to impoverished local families. Philip Hayden Foundation is collaborating with Red de Ciudadanos de Mérida for local health fairs. Beyond health fairs, Dr. Eder has presented PHF with opportunities to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable children and their families. Many local families live in homes like the one shown below.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Eder shared the heartbreaking story of Ángel, a young father of five. Ángel and his wife, Maria, have five children – including two adopted sons with special needs. Yisel and Sinaí are 11 and 10 – one has autism, and the other has a hearing impairment. Ángel is only 30 years old and is the sole provider for his young family. He works as a gardener while his wife cares for their young children.
Ángel was walking home from work when he was tragically hit by a car, which then fled the scene. The vehicle ran over Ángel, breaking both legs between the knee and the hip. His recovery and rehabilitation will take six months, or even longer. Repair of the broken femurs required surgery and a rod to be inserted into each femur. This break is excruciating; the muscles take a long time to recover and the bone to heal. Unfortunately, government agencies are not in place to step in and help Ángel and Maria – and their children. Dr. Eder asked if PHF could help.
Filled with compassion for this family, PHF immediately responded yes. This family’s needs are precisely the kind of hands-on help that PHF loves to provide. We purchased a wheelchair for Ángel and will also provide food for the family. Because of your donations, this family will stay together as Ángel recovers and can return to work.
New Horizons for Trudy
Trudy lived at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village off and on during her teen years while undergoing plastic surgery to treat burns on her face and hands. She was not an orphan but still needed medical care and vocational training. Philip Hayden Foundation became extended family to Trudy, offering support and encouragement when she began to look for her first job. Her dream was to work in a restaurant. Trudy returned to PHF in 2019 at the age of 18 for help in finding a job. Trudy shares, “I was so excited and full of happiness. I felt like I was home.”
Holding a job provides more than income. It also offers a connection to other people and a sense of belonging. These are crucial to long-term flourishing. Trudy was very nervous as she began the job search with the help of Teacher Wang. Trudy remembers the discouragement as business after business said, “do not hire her – it will affect our business.” Trudy was so thankful for Teacher Wang, who continued to encourage her and remind her of her capabilities. The support of a mentor was crucial for Trudy during this daunting process.
October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month in the United States. In the US and other countries, those with disabilities who want a job are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as the general public. However, according to the United Nations, it’s hard to track because “Data on persons with disabilities are hard to come by in almost every country. Specific data on their employment situation are even harder to find. Yet persons with disabilities face the same predicament everywhere.”
Barriers to Employment for People with Disabilities
The United Nations has defined a person with disabilities as an individual with a functional difficulty that limits their participation in society. Disabilities can be physical, sensory, or cognitive impairments. In most cases, a business must make accommodations in the workplace to hire a person with a disability. However, a company may fear that such changes are expensive – and not worth the investment.
The United States and Mexico have enacted federal laws to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities, while China has enacted quotas. For example, China requires businesses over a specific size to have 1.5% of their workforce have disabilities.
Holding a job provides more than income. It offers a connection to other people and a sense of belonging, which is crucial to long-term flourishing. But negative attitudes and fears in society are often a more imposing barrier to employment. Another barrier is low levels of education and skills. Philip Hayden Foundation is working in China and expanding into Mexico to address these two barriers.
Encouragement Overcomes Fear
Let’s continue Trudy’s story. Finally, Trudy found a restaurant looking for a dishwasher, and they agreed to give Trudy a chance. Trudy remembers her fears, “The day I found it, I was very happy, excited and hesitant. I’m afraid I can’t do well in this first job in my life. But with their [PHF staff’s] encouragement and reminding me, ‘this is like what you do at home. As long as you work hard, the hotel owner will know.’” Trudy worked there until 2021, when she returned home to help her mother.
Trudy’s first job experience helped her when she began to look for another job in her hometown in 2022. She recalls, “I came out to find a job by myself. At that time, I was looking for a job for several days. Later, I finally found a restaurant to work in. I heard the boss say that the girl will not affect our business, and he also said that recruiting people is not a beauty pageant. She can work, and she has work experience.” The encouragement from Teacher Wang and her success at her job in Tianjin gave Trudy confidence in her job search, resulting in a good position.
Big Steps for Tao Tao
Little Tao Tao lives in the countryside with his mama, baba, grandparents, and great-grandparents. He is the pride and joy of his whole family.
At 3 years old, Tao Tao’s parents noticed that he wasn’t reaching the usual milestones of his peers. They took him to the hospital, and the doctor diagnosed him with a developmental delay.
Tao Tao started receiving therapy, but the therapy center was very far away and the cost was high. His Dad worked hard to provide for everyone in the family and keep up with therapy fees. Eventually, it was too much and they had to discontinue Tao Tao’s therapy.
After some time, a new therapy center finally opened near their home. The therapist told them that their son must have therapy if they didn’t want Tao Tao’s situation to get worse and worse. But they still couldn’t afford it.
Thankfully, this therapy center is partnered with Hope Station to provide financial support for families that want therapy but can’t afford it. After hearing about Hope Station’s Family Strengthening Program, Tao Tao’s family joined right away.
Now, thanks to your support, TaoTao is getting therapy every week! “There are definitely some changes,” his mama wrote right after starting therapy. “Now he can complete a simple painting independently, walk more steadily than before, and at the same time he can help me do some things within his capability. The progress has indeed been made, and our whole family is very happy.”
Belonging to a Community
In addition to getting therapy at the therapy center, being part of a community of special needs families has encouraged his mama to try teaching him more things at home, too.
“Last week, I taught him to use a spoon to feed himself… Both his father and I were very happy. In the past, TaoTao has always been fed by teachers in the kindergarten, and the teachers have told me many times that they hope I can teach TaoTao to eat by himself. I have been worried about this. I am worried that my child will be rejected by the kindergarten because his self-care ability isn’t good enough. But now it’s so good that TaoTao can eat by himself. I’ll put this worry down.”
What a report! This is the power of your generosity at work, providing therapy for a child in need, and support and encouragement for his family. Thank you!
Humanitarian Aid Changes Lives
In August, your donations to Philip Hayden Foundation purchased a commercial washing machine for an orphanage in Asia. The staff reports, “It can wash 25 kilos’ laundry at a time with three independent functions: washing, drying, and dehydration. According to the orphanage, the washing machine works great!” A heart-shaped card is attached to the washing machine, which reads, “thank you very much for your concern and support, love and help to our orphanage. We guarantee that the washing machine is used for kids living in the orphanage.”
PHF also purchased two washing machines and a refrigerator for another orphanage in Asia. While we can’t share the photos for this facility, we can report that everyone had big smiles! Thank you for your donations which transform the lives of orphans in Asia.
Your donations are also encouraging to our partners and the recipients in both countries. PHF is building trust with local charities when we can immediately fulfill their needs. Would you consider donating this month for humanitarian needs?
Philip Hayden Foundation is getting ready for Thanksgiving…and Giving Tuesday! This year, Giving Tuesday will be on November 29th, and our focus will be on Humanitarian Aid, both in China and Mexico. The focus for Mexico will be our collaboration with Red de Ciudadanos de Mérida and the community healthcare outreaches. In China, the focus will be on children with disabilities – both orphans and unsupported children. Look for the full story in our November issue!