My SOS Journey: Discovering That Love And Happiness Are Just Around The Corner


(From left to right: SOS Friend Ms. Tet Defensor, SOS coworker Katleen, and Ms. Tet's daughter Mia during a short visit to SOS Manila in 2019.)

My journey with SOS is a happy surprise, even for myself. I never thought I could be actively involved with any organization other than the company I work for. I would consciously limit my activities so I can focus all my energy on my work and my family. But somehow, SOS changed all that.

I remember my first encounter with SOS. I was in a mall and I remember feeling very, very happy that particular day. I cannot remember why I was in high spirits. I think it had something to do with work. As I was basking in quiet revelry, I was politely approached by Eric Pagkanlungan from SOS.

Since I was such in a good mood, maybe even smiling from ear-to-ear, I probably looked very friendly. I was all alone and was waiting for my husband, and so I decided to listen to Eric’s short presentation.  He swiped his iPad from left to right, patiently explaining how a small donation can go a long way.

I was in high spirits and I did not want to stop the cheerful momentum by turning Eric down.  I agreed to sign up right there and then.  At the back of my mind, I told myself I can always choose to discontinue my donation.  All I have to do was inform my bank.

A few days after I signed up, I received the most heart-warming email welcoming me to the SOS family. I am sure it was a standard communication tool, but it effectively imparted a feeling of warmth, as if I was suddenly embraced by over a hundred children. It felt so good and inspiring.

The emails were accompanied by calls from SOS representatives, sharing more good news. I remember telling them that I am only donating a small amount. For some people, the amount is just a “Starbucks budget.” I would always tell them that they do not need to waste their time on me. But of course, the SOS team has always been so thoughtful and accommodating.

Early this year, I had a chance to visit the village with my daughter. The children weren’t around, but I was amazed at the devotion of the staff and the Aunties in creating a home for the children.

I am not a CEO or a business owner who can simply write a donation cheque to any institution. I am a regular worker with responsibilities. Whatever I utilize or share comes from my hard work. But being part of a team like SOS, who works tirelessly to provide love and attention to children, brings generosity to a different level. 

SOS is now part of every special moment in my life. My birthday or Christmas will not be complete if my SOS family is not part of the celebration. On days when I am challenged by reality, I simply read the emails from SOS or play the birthday greeting from the children. It works like a reset button that reminds me that love and happiness are just around the corner.

Thank you, SOS, for giving me a reason to smile every day.

-Tet Defensor, SOS Friend since 2019