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Philippines, Asia

PHI09 - The Cappuccino Club

Partnership Ref.:



Arnold Mercado



Funding Status:

No Current Donor

Partnership Type:

Training / Education, Orphans & Vulnerable Children

Funding Size:

$3,000 - $7,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 6,204


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Funding Contact:

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Population: 93.6 million

Life Expectancy: 71.6 years

GDP: US$1845 per capita

Unemployed: 7.2%

45.0% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact

5 families are being assisted

5 people are in vocational or agricultural training

Partnership Overview

The Cappuccino Club aims not only to place squatter children into university but also to provide a mentoring programme through the context of the local church. Their desire is to develop young men and women of influence from within some of the most impoverished environments imaginable and to see these young leaders grow up to become agents of change in their communities and beyond.

The name 'Cappuccino Club' came about because for the same price as a cappuccino a day a Filipino student can attend university.

History Of Partnership

hard place to liveMark and Valerie Smith are New Zealanders who lived in the Philippines from 1990 until 2002.  For the last five years of their stay they lived in a squatter community in the provincial town of Baliuag, approximately one hour north of Metro Manila.  Living amongst some of the poorest people in Asia allowed them the opportunity to express the love of Christ in some very tangible ways.  During their time there they established a high school sponsorship programme that provided high school education for more than 20 deserving children.  They envisioned that such a programme would go some way to alleviating poverty by providing better employment opportunities for the graduates.

However when they made their first return visit to this community in April 2008 they were saddened to see these bright children, having graduated from high school, still working in the open markets selling fish or worse still, working as bar girls in night clubs.  It soon became apparent that high school education alone, although extremely beneficial, did little to alleviate multi-generational poverty in the home. 

Mark and Valerie had always desired to make a lasting difference in the lives of these gracious and needy people.  It distressed them greatly to see brilliant children living under the curse of poverty usually through no fault of their own.  They determined that day to do something tangible to help these children have the same opportunities that they would want their own children to have.

From that resolve The Cappuccino Club was born and in June 2008 two students were funded to university.  Both Lorenzo (four year degree in Christian Ministry) and Joanna Marie (Bachelor in Secondary Education) excelled academically through the course of the year and also developed in character.  They are willingly serving their fellow squatters in a way that is transforming the greater community. 

In September 2008 Mark and Valerie approached Bright Hope World with a view to us partnering with them in this venture. 

In 2013 Mark and Valerie ceased to be involved in the partnership and a new team was formed in New Zealand to promote fundraising.

changed livesBeneficiaries

Filipino squatter children who have graduated from high school and who have an aptitude and a desire to study further are the direct beneficiaries however this partnership will also have a flow on effect to their families and communities.  The full impact of this investment in a student's life may not be fully realized for many years to come. 

What We Like About The Partnership

There are great people on the ground who really know the children and have concern for them.

The programme is church based so there is accountability for the students to stick to their studies and continue contributing.

The structure is well set up and there are many volunteers involved in identifying, selecting and mentoring the students.

The students are doing really well and many have gained employment.  

Key People

Leadership Profile

mentoring young peopleArnold Mercado is the key person on the ground in Baliuag. He is a pastor in the local church on the edge of the area where most of the students live. As well, he is the coordinator of TCC and oversees the growth and development of the students, mentors them and runs the organisation. He gave up the role of associate pastor in a large church to come to this place and loves the hands on involvement with the young people. 

Ruth, his wife, is a teacher and works in an education publishing company. They have two children. Ruth's father is the pastor at the church and her mother runs a school in the church building. They are in the process of building a school on the church property which will provide employment for some of the graduates from the programme. 

Other People Involved
The Filipino church leaders who will be overseeing this programme are:  Dino Tienzo, an elder from Justinville Community Church, Patrick del Prado, an elder from Agape Community Christian Fellowship and Pastor Rey Cervantes from Bahay ng Pagasa Community Church.  Under their leadership the programme will be administered and the students will enter into a regular mentoring programme to develop them as men and women of integrity and influence both in the local church and out into the greater community. 


Vision And Annual Strategy

involved in churchThe aims of the Cappuccino Club are:
- to provide better employment opportunities for Filipino poor
- to serve to alleviate multi-generational poverty amongst impoverished families
- to develop future leaders through education, mentoring and transformation

The strategy involves:
- providing university level education to Filipino young adults who would otherwise, due to financial constraints, be unable to pursue tertiary level studies. 
- moulding the candidates into influential people of integrity through a contextualized mentoring programme, in order that they might be developed as leaders in their immediate communities and beyond

Candidate Selection Criteria
Academic considerations: The tertiary course to be studied must not exceed the academic ability of the candidate in question.  A suitable course must be found that is most suited to the academic ability and ambition of the candidate.

Ethical considerations:  The candidate has shown in the past a good work ethic, discipline and self-motivation and has a genuine desire to further their education and assist their family out of multi-generational poverty.

Financial considerations:  The candidate must be incapable of meeting the costs for university level education due to their impoverished circumstances. 

 For more information see The Cappuccino Club website


Annual Budget

Bright Hope World has currently committed to sponsor five students through university.