Heroes for Better: All-embracing mother Nilda Cochrane

Nilda Cochrane
Photo via Heroes for Better
Sorsogon native Nilda Cochrane is among Western Union’s Heroes for Better.

Heroes for Better is a campaign that aims to celebrate and recognize the efforts of Filipinos around the world who, in their own little way, have given their time, money, skill or expertise to make a positive change. It also aims to showcase them as role models to inspire others to likewise take positive action to help create a better world. This is an advocacy about ordinary Filipinos who were able to achieve extraordinary things through their small acts of giving and heroism.

Nilda’s is a refreshing story of a migrant Filipino worker returning to her homeland with more than
just stories of success.

More than three decades ago, Nilda Cochrane gave up her job as a computer programmer in her home
town of Sorsogon, to pursue her destiny in New Zealand. It was here that she got married to a New Zealander, who after 9 years, passed away. It took several years before Nilda finally got to meet John Cochrane, her second husband. His active involvement in ethnic councils, mission work and orphanages awakened in Nilda the desire to make a difference in other people’s lives. In the face of the comfortable life they led, she knew she could do more.

Upon returning home to visit Sorsogon, the couple saw the perfect chance to share their blessings, particularly to homeless children in the community. As luck would have it, the timely offer of Nilda’s mom to use a parcel of land that belonged to the family showed them God’s hand in the plan. In 2007, preparations were made to establish their very own orphanage in the Philippines. Picking up lessons from similar missions they’ve had in Thailand and Vanuatu, Nilda and John hooked up with friends to organize the Oasis Christian Children’s Home in Sorsogon. Since 2009, the initial batch of
6 children has now grown into a household of 24 empowered kids, many of them are doing well in school.

What makes the couple truly empowered is the positive change they have seen both among the orphaned children, and the people who have been assigned to care for them. The kids are reared to study well and do their duties in the orphanage. The adult volunteers and paid staff, on the other hand, realize the fulfillment in caring for kids who seriously pursue their dreams. When visitors and distant relatives of the children visit them and express amazement at their transformation, Nilda and
John believe they have done the right thing.

For Nilda, the orphanage is a first big step in paying it forward to the land of her birth. Along with
other charitable activities like fund drives in Tacloban, she fully supports the work of John in evangelizing communities and empowering them to become active educated citizens when they grow up. Indeed, the oasis she has searched for, has become the home she now fosters.

Nilda is just one of the millions of Filipino migrants around the world. Each one of them is a hero, striving to make life better for their families, their communities, their country.

To show your support for Nilda in Heroes for Better, visit