The Gift of Parents
We welcome warmly the 2020 Ambassadors of Batang Pinangga. It is our source of pride, to have young people getting involved, to care for others, and more importantly, to engage themselves to help the children victims of abuse, abandonment, and neglect, and letting these children know that there is for them a future. Our youth ambassador has to come ten thousand miles from home, literally to the other side of the world, to do this, taking the biggest leap of a lifetime. Behind these brave youth are equally brave parents who offer their support, understanding, and love to their children, by letting them go, too.
Therefore, when the parents of Nina van Vliet, one of the pioneering youth ambassadors, decided to come to Batang Pinangga, we were nervously thrilled. But there was no stopping Astrid and Koen, after many years of sponsoring Batang Pinangga, helping with the Youth Ambassadors’ Program from the very beginning, and hearing the many stories from their daughter Nina.
Astrid and Koen retraced the footsteps of the youth ambassadors, of their daughter. They felt the group braving the hot sun, they smelled the garbage, they saw the look of the poor children. Tears fell.
They were with batang pinangga children. With them, they danced, played, run. The children waited for Papa Koen and Mama Astrid to give them shower. They walked hand-in-hand with the children to school. Mama Astrid baked apple pie. Papa Koen and the other children were there to help. They checked on each child, they knew all by their names. They understand what a child has lost, for example, when they knew that a child has difficulty trusting, after the child experienced being abandoned, or when a child learned to steal as the only way to live.
We are very glad to show Astrid and Koen what the youth ambassadors do in Batang Pinangga. We are very glad that they see batang pinangga with the eyes of a parent.
We are very happy indeed to have the unconditional support of the parents of the youth ambassadors, for they enable the
great success of Youth Ambassadors’ Program. It is a success because of family. That is just right.
For Astrid and Koen, and to all parents of the youth ambassadors, we thank you for the gift of family.
– Butch and Ann