At Pearl S. Buck International’s Living the Legacy Fundraising Breakfast, Gina F. Rubel will speak about her family’s role as a sponsor of a child in the Philippines and how that commitment has given them an insight into the lives of others around the world.
Gina attended this breakfast for the first time a few years ago to support a friend and client who was adopted into an American family as a result of Pearl S. Buck’s efforts. But her family’s interest in Pearl S. Buck International spans several generations.
Gina is a local community member who became a Pearl Buck Child Sponsor at the encouragement of her father-in-law who had sponsored children for years. Gina and her husband have two children so they thought it would be great to match them with a child in need overseas. Gina’s family was matched with Loubelle in the Philippines.
In Gina’s own words, “Sponsoring Loubelle as a family is a very rewarding experience. If she were not sponsored, Loubelle would have had to quit school to get a job to support her family – thus continuing the devastating cycle of poverty and under-education.”
According to Loubelle, “Ma’am Gina (as she fondly calls her) and her family have changed my life. My family is very, very poor. Before Ma’am Gina and her family sponsored me, there were times when we had to beg for rice from neighbors so we could eat. Some days we did not know where our next meal was going to come from. Thanks to Ma’am Gina and her family’s sponsorship support, we no longer have to beg for our survival. In addition, I was able to buy a new school uniform, school supplies, and attend tutorial classes so one day I can reach my dream of becoming a teacher and helping children like me.
In October of 2012, my father just collapsed and became unconscious. Our family was shouting for help hoping our neighbors would bring my father to the nearest hospital. Later that day, my mother called me from the hospital to tell me my father died. When I heard the news, my entire body became numb. It felt like a bomb exploded inside my chest. It was so difficult to breathe. My father was a good man. He was the sole breadwinner of the family. Without him, we didn’t know how we could support our needs. We didn’t know if we could still pursue our education.
I was so confused. I didn’t want to continue my studies. Everything in my life was so dark….I almost gave up. And then Ma’am Gina’s letter arrived. In her letter she told me, ‘Loubelle, I know how you feel because I recently lost my father.’ When Ma’am Gina told me that, I felt that I was not alone. I felt that there was someone who truly understood what I was going through.”
She said, “Her letters gave me comfort. Her words gave me hope. Her love made me stand up again.”
For this alone, Gina knows that she and her family were destined to sponsor Loubelle.
According to a spokesperson from Pearl S. Buck International, “Ma’am Gina’s support and Loubelle’s resolve would help her overcome another major challenge. When Super Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines and tore through Loubelle’s community. While her family sought shelter in a local school, she returned home only to find that it was destroyed and all of their personal belongings, including her school uniform and supplies, were washed away. Her world was dark once again. Within a few days, however, Loubelle received word that Ma’am Gina and several other child sponsors raised funds to help her family and others who were left homeless. They were able to buy food, water, blankets, medicine and a new school uniform and supplies and her family has since rebuilt their home.”
Loubelle has since graduated from high school thanks to the support of her family and her sponsor family. In Loubelle’s words, “My life is a lot better today. My heart is overflowing with gratitude, love for my family and my sponsor and hope for my future. I just feel so special.”
As for “Ma’am Gina” and her family, they have now decided to sponsor Loubelle’s younger sister Lina, so her life, like Loubelle’s, can be forever changed.
In Gina’s words, “As a Pearl Buck Child Sponsor, the greatest gift our family has received is knowing that we have helped save one human being from a life of poverty, disease and despair.”
Please consider attending the Living the Legacy Fundraising Breakfast, becoming a child sponsor or supporting Pearl S. Buck International in other ways.