Hero photograph
Leticia tends seedlings growing in coconut shells.

Gifts that Grow Hope


Christian World Service has launched its ethical giving catalogue for 2021 with four new gifts.

Every gift comes with an optional card or e-card to pass on to someone special. The cards show how the donation will grow hope for families.
Choosing a Parachute will fund a group psychosocial care programme in Gaza for a month. A Covid Kit will fund facemasks, hygiene supplies and food rations. A Sewing Co-operative will fund small businesses for Indian women and Start a Garden will give tools and resources to a family in the Philippines.

One person who knows what difference such gifts make is Leticia. She lives on the coast of Panay Island in the Philippines and has benefited from Fruit Trees, a gift that organises planting drives across the ten barangay (villages) where CWS partner, Developer Foundation, works. To help more families in a country that has been hit hard by Covid-19 and climate change, CWS has added Start a Garden as a new gift to help families like Leticia’s.

For generations these families have depended on the plentiful fish found amongst the mangroves on the coast. But with the removal of the mangroves, Typhoon Haiyan and now climate change, fish numbers have fallen. Leticia’s husband could not catch enough fish to support them. Salty water was ruining the land around their home. Crops would not grow.

Developers Foundation had been working to improve their livelihoods and the economic development for everyone. Working together the barangay has achieved much. The people talked through their options and realised that they had to change their approach. Like many others, Leticia raised her garden.

“To make elevated planting beds, we used anything we could get. Rocks, bamboo, old plastic containers and coconut shells,” she said. They collected soil from further inland and took part in the planting drives organised by Developer Foundation.

Most days the family has plenty to choose from. “We grow banana, papaya, string beans, bok choy, bitter melon, eggplant, squash, winged beans and other leafy greens. We now have food to eat,” she says.

“The planting drives have been a huge success. Tens of thousands of trees and tubers have been planted. This new gift takes it another step, providing tools like garden machetes, seeds, twine, scales and fertiliser so they can grow food and sell it to the neighbours or at the local market Developers has set up with a CWS grant,” says Trish Murray, International Programmes Coordinator.

CWS sends a tax-deductible receipt as well as an attractive gift card. Check out the website: www.gift.org.nz 

Caption: In the Philippines, CWS partner Developer Foundation, is working with locals to create raised garden beds to improve crop yield. Leticia tends seedlings growing in coconut shells. Photo courtesy Developers Foundation