Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children

by Childhope Philippines Foundation, Inc
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Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Donate a "FUTURE" to 300 street children
Street child graduates with a degree in tourism
Street child graduates with a degree in tourism
The cemetery is a place of grief, isolation, and sometimes, danger. We go to cemeteries to pay respects to the dead. For many poor families, cemeteries have become their homes. It’s where they live, survive, and thrive.
 
But a 21-year old lady who lives near tombs is out to prove that hope can be found in this gloomy place. If only we look deeper.
Khay has just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in tourism from the Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology. This, after 16 years of selling sampagita around Metro Manila, prayers, and kind-hearted souls.
SELLING SAMPAGUITA TO SURVIVE
 
“Ang buhay po ng pamilya namin sa sementeryo ay sobrang hirap. Kailangan po araw araw kumayod at magbenta ng sampagita para may makain kahit papaano. Minsan wala talaga. Minsan, yung pagkain po namin ay hihingiin ng iba at ibibigay po namin (Life at the Manila North Cemetery is very difficult. Every day, we need to sell sampaguita so we can buy food. Sometimes, we don’t earn anything so we don’t eat at all. Sometimes, we share the little we have to those who are hungry),” Khay said.
Besides scarcity of food, there was also a lack of water and electricity. At the cemetery, it can really go dark.
 
At three years old, Khay was already roaming around plazas, stores, and churches around Metro Manila to beg. At five, she started selling sampaguita and walked under the grueling heat to go to different churches in Cubao, Quezon City to España and Dangwa Flower Market in Sampaloc, Manila so she can bring food for her family.
Khay’s parents struggled to provide for the family, and their earnings were not enough to send her to school. Khay understood the family’s situation. As the eldest of five siblings, she knew she had to persevere to help her family, and at the same time pursue her dream of getting a good education.
 
“Nung nag umpisa akong mag aral sa elementarya nagtitinda pa din ako ng sampagita. Tinda sa umaga pasok sa school sa tanghali o kaya naman pasok sa school sa umaga at tinda naman sa tanghali. Ganyan lang kung umikot ang aking buhay (I was still selling sampagita even when I was in elementary school. I juggled selling sampagita in the morning and going to school at noon and vice versa. My life revolved around that routine),” said Khay.
 
“Minsan kahit walang baon o pagkain, pipilitin ko pa rin pumasok (Sometimes, even with little or no food and money, I still go to school),” she added.
HOPE IS NOT LOST
 
The struggle is real for Khay. At times, she thought she could not make it. She felt the financial and emotional challenges were too much to bear.
 
“May mga panahon po kasi na down ako at feeling ko hindi sapat ang ginagawa ko. Pero mahal ko ang nanay at tatay ko, and ginamit ko ang mga salita nila bilang inspirasyon at motibasyon. Ang sabi ko sa sarili ko balang araw makakapagtapos din ako at matutulungan ko sila (I was down because I felt my efforts and sacrifices were never enough. But I love my parents, and I tried to challenge myself and I used their words as inspiration and motivation. I told myself that someday, I will prove to them that I can help them by finishing school),” Khay said.
Khay found another opportunity for learning through Childhope Philippines’ street education program. At nine years old, she started attending sessions led by street educators. While on the streets, she was learning about her rights and responsibilities as a child, proper hygiene and basic health care, and values like hard work and determination. While still selling sampaguitas and going to school, she managed to actively participate in Childhope’s activities.
 
Khay was chosen by Childhope to be a Junior Health Worker (JHW) when she was in second year high school. As a junior health worker, she helped fellow street children in basic first aid and proper hygiene. Childhope saw Khay Ann’s leadership potentials, and honed her skills.
“Every meeting, assembly, at iba pa umaatend po ako para may mas matutunan. Mas lumakas ang loob ko, mas nagtiwala sa sarili (I tried to actively participate in every meeting and assembly to learn, to trust in myself, and to build my self-confidence),” Khay said.
 
One of Khay’s biggest breakthroughs came when she was in third year high school. She was chosen to be a beneficiary of Childhope’s Educational Assistance Program (EAP). Under the program, generous donors supported her schooling so she could finish college.
 
“Ang saya ko po kasi hindi ko po inaasahan na makakapag aral pa ako lalo na po na makakapagtapos ng college. Sinikap ko pong pahalagahan ang pag aaral at huwag sayangin yung pagkakataon hangat may tumutulong, sumusuporta. Natuto akong mangarap hindi lang po para sa akin kundi para po sa pamilya ko (I was very happy because I thought I would not make it to college. I was all the more motivated to pursue a good education because of the kind people who supported me. I learned to dream not only for myself but also for my family),” Khay said.
WILL TO SUCCEED
 
Still, Khay was caught in financial struggles. What she earned from selling sampaguita was often not enough to pay for her expenses in school and her on-the-job training. Sometimes, she had to make do with only fifty pesos (P50.00) in hand to fulfill her OJT requirements in Quezon City and Paranaque City. But Khay is proud of her poverty.
 
“Masaya ako sa ganitong buhay ko kasi dahil sa paghihirap ko nagkaroon ako ng pangarap sa buhay, hindi lang para sa akin kundi para sa pamilya ko at sa mga taong nakapalibot sa akin. Nagawa ko yung misyon ko sa buhay --- ang makapagtapos (Because of the hardships I experienced, I learned to dream not only for myself but also for my family and the people around me. I was able to fulfill a mission in life --- to finish school and get a good education),” Khay said.
 
Helping street children in proper hygiene
Helping street children in proper hygiene
Celebrating graduation milestone
Celebrating graduation milestone

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Basic Computer Literacy sessions for street kids
Basic Computer Literacy sessions for street kids

Ricky is getting used to formatting laptops. The 21-year old already knows his way with operating systems, software, and key combinations. He has been one of Childhope’s go-to persons whenever its laptops needed fixing.

Ricky is on his 3rd year pursuing a degree in Information Technology (I.T.). He continues to be fascinated with how computers work and the different data and software. He is very determined to explore how he can use technology to his advantage.

Ricky still has more to learn, but he has gone a long way. He used to be a street child who would go to PISO-NETs (computer shops where people can use a computer for a peso) around Pier 15 South Harbor Manila just so he can use a computer.

“Tumitingin tingin ako dati sa mga piso nets kung paano nila ginagamit yung computer, yung mouse. May mga nakikita akong gumagawa ng resume at nag-Youtube. Doon ako natuto (I just wandered around piso nets to look at how people were using the computers and the mouse. I saw people doing resumes or watching Youtube videos. That’s how I learned to use the web and the computer),” Ricky said.
 
The curious young Ricky had no idea then that he will soon be working on computers and the internet for his career goals.
ALTERNATIVE LEARNING OPENS OPPORTUNITIES
Ricky grew up as a street child in Pier 15 South Harbor Manila. He and his grandmother, father, uncle, and cousins got by even without a permanent place they could call home. His father tried his best to provide for the family with the little he earned as a cigarette vendor. Ricky never knew his mother since his parents have been separated since his birth.
 
“Nakatulong din po ako sa mga bayarin sa bahay kahit papaano nung nirefer po ako ng Lola ko sa kakilala niya at nagtrabaho ako bilang baby sitter. Nagaaral po ako nang 3rd year high school pero kinailangan ko pong tumigil dahil nagkasakit po si Lola at hindi kakayanin ng budget (“I was able to help pay some of our expenses when I worked as a baby sitter after my grandmother referred me to someone she knew. I was already in 3rd year high school but I had to stop attending school because my grandmother got sick and we had to pay for her medicines),” Ricky said.
Ricky was invited by one of his cousins to join and attend Childhope’s mobile education van sessions in Ermita, Manila. Ricky was hesitant at first, but was convinced when he found out that there was a feeding program and they will be given groceries. He was happy for he had something to bring home to his family.
 
Since then, Ricky was drawn to Childhope’s alternative education sessions. He learned from Childhope’s street educators the importance of his rights and responsibilities as youth, the basics of proper hygiene, and important values like friendship, team work, determination, and patience. The street educators saw Ricky’s potential, and guided him in becoming a child leader and an active participant in the sessions. Soon, he was part of the batch of Childhope beneficiaries attending the alternative learning system classes.
 
“Ang daming modules na tinuturo sa ALS, minsan parang mas marami pa sa school. Na-expose kami sa maraming topics tungkol sa pagkatao (There were a lot of modules in the ALS sessions, sometimes more than what they have in formal schools. We were exposed to different topics on holistic development),” Ricky said.
“Pero gusto ko talagang makatapos ng pagaaral. Hindi pwedeng pakalat kalat lang, kailangan ko ayusin ang buhay ko (I really wanted to finish my studies. I realized that I could not just go on wandering around, I had to change and fix my life for the better),” said Ricky.
 
Ricky finished all the ALS sessions. But when it was time for him to take the exams to know if he can move forward to college, he had a lot of doubts and fears. He was not planning on taking the exam, but his cousin was bent on persuading him and gave him PHP 100.00 just so he can go to the testing center.
 
Out of the 10 street children participants of Childhope who took the ALS examination, only Ricky was able to pass the level for high school. He was qualified to go to college.
TECHNOLOGY AND DREAMS
“Halo halo yung naramdaman ko. Masaya at hindi makapaniwala na nakapasa. Pero kinabahan ako kasi ano na ang susunod na mangyayari, wala naman kaming pera na pang-college ko (I had mixed emotions. I was happy and I could not believe that I passed the exam. But at the same time, I got scared. I wondered what will happen next. I knew we did not have enough money for me to go to college),” Ricky said.
 
Through his hard work and the help of generous sponsors, Ricky became a beneficiary of Childhope’s Educational Assistance Program. He continues to maintain good grades in Access Computer and Technical College while being an active child leader, giving back in his small ways by assisting in teaching fellow street children like him.
 
Ricky describes his schedule as ‘hectic,’ as he and his batch mates are already working on their thesis. If not for the Dell laptops he has been using, Ricky says he could not imagine how he would be able to finish all his requirements for school.
“Ang Childhope, sa partnership nila sa Dell, ay nagpapahiram sa aming mga EAP beneficiaries ng laptops na maaari naming gamitin sa school. Ang laki ng tulong niya kasi lahat ng files, programs na ginagamit ko ay nandoon. Minsan nagtataka yung mga kagrupo ko, saan ko daw nakuha yung laptop (Childhope, through its partnership with Dell, lends EAP beneficiaries the laptops they can use for school. It helps us a lot because all the files and programs I need are there. Sometimes, my classmates wonder how I was able to get a laptop),” Ricky said.
 
Ricky’s top priority now is to finish his studies, and hone his skills in programming and information technology. He also plans to gain skills and knowledge in all types of designing --- from web design to fashion and interior design. Nieco believes that in the long run, his education will enable him to provide a better life for his family.
Basic Computer Literacy sessions for street kids
Basic Computer Literacy sessions for street kids
Basic Computer Literacy sessions for street kids
Basic Computer Literacy sessions for street kids

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A street child learns how to be healthy
A street child learns how to be healthy
Vince  may just call Divisoria as his second home.
 
From early afternoon until night, he is always out on the streets of Manila, talking to street children and their families. His main business: to counsel street children, listen to them, and help them lead better lives.
 
Vince has been a social worker for Childhope Asia Philippines for almost a year now. He says he does not regret leaving a former stint in a government office.
“Stress Absorber”
 
“Ang normal na reaksyon natin iiwasan ang mga bata, kasi madumi at delikado (People would normally avoid street kids, because they are dirty and dangerous.) But with my profession, I get to see them smile and change for the better. It gives me comfort,” said Vince.
 
But Vince acknowledges the journey can often be difficult. He describes social workers as “stress absorbers” of the street children.
 
“I put myself in the street children’s shoes every time they ask for help about their problems. You have to be a good confidante and a good listener so you’ll understand them and know how to effectively help,” said Vince.
Burden and blessing
 
Vince says being a social worker is both a burden and a blessing. And most of the time, the burden is hard to bear. He says everyday he is faced with a choice to be swallowed up by the harsh realities of street life, or to try to change the system for the better.
 
As a social worker, it is Vince’s duty to take care of the psychosocial well-being of the street children. These are children who have suffered from different kinds of abuse ---- being beaten up by their own family or friends, being lured into using solvent or substance abuse, and some may even be victims of sexual abuse.
 
From January to August 2016, Childhope’s Street Education program reached nearly 700 children. Most of them participated in various group and individual counselling sessions. Social workers help the children to process their thoughts and emotions, and deal with the different kinds of abuse they face every day.
 
Vince admits, the sufferings of street children take a toll on him.
 
“When street children share their problems and experiences, it affects me because I want to be able to help them more. But there’s only so much that I can do. There are limitations,” said Vince.
 
“Ang burden doon is ikaw na ang nagiging magulang ng bata (The burden here is you have to take responsibility for the child as if she or he is your own),” he added.
 
13-year old Michelle is one of hundreds of children whom Vince takes care of everyday. Vince says Michelle is very smart, she is very eager to learn, and is a potential student leader. She actively participates during Childhope’s alternative education sessions. But she needs help and special attention because she has been sniffing solvents, and is very vulnerable to being lured into prostitution.
 
One time nakita ko sila mga pitong bata sa isang box, lahat sumisinghot ng solvent. Nakakapanlumo (One time I saw seven children trying to squeeze themselves and fit in a cardboard box. All of them were sniffing solvent. I felt so down seeing that),” said Vince.
 
Vince says the hardest part of his job is dealing with bad parents, those who do not care about the future of their children. “It’s difficult to handle parents who are stubborn. You want to get their permission to have their children transferred to shelters, but they don’t want to. Even if the child wants change. It’s worse when parents force their children to beg, steal, or even get into prostitution,” said Vince.
Smile
 
Vince says his job is difficult but it’s all worth it. He gets happy every time he refers a child to a shelter, knowing that in one way or another, he has helped that child to make a fresh start.
 
Michelle is now staying at Tahanan Sta. Luisa in Antipolo City, a crisis rehabilitation center for abused street girls. Vince believes that there, Michelle will be better taken care of, will get a break from the streets, and grow up to be a responsible and productive citizen.
 
“When the children smile at me and thank me for the little that I’ve done, all the stress goes away. That’s where I get the drive to improve and do well,” said Vince.
 
Vince says when he is down, he just remembers the words of an anonymous author wh

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Mobile education for street kids in Manila
Mobile education for street kids in Manila

Steven and John  are alike in many ways. They are both studying in high school, and are very determined to pursue their dreams. It seems like a long shot, but they are holding onto a promise that there is life outside the streets.

Steven and John both have mothers who try to make ends meet by selling peanuts around Lawton in Manila.

“Pagkatapos ng klase, diretso na ako kay Mama para tulungan siya magtinda. Kumikita si Mama ng mga P400 sa isang araw, hanga ako sa kanya kasi kahit anong hirap, hindi niya kami pinababayaang magkakapatid (After my classes, I go home to help my mother sell peanuts. She earns around P400 a day. I admire her because despite the hardships, she is doing her best to take care of us,” said 16 year-old John.

John is proud of his mother because despite their poverty, she is able to raise seven children. John says he is torn between choosing a career in engineering or accountancy. Either way, he will try to finish with flying colors and help his family.

Steven and his family live under a bridge. Despite this reality, Steven is hopeful that he and his family will be living in a decent home someday.

“Minsan po nakakapagod kapag naiisip ang mga problema, pero hindi naman po kami susuko. Magaaral po ako para maging accountant at makatulong sa pamilya (I get frustrated when I think about the problems, but I won’t give up. I will study hard so I can be an accountant and help my family),” said Steven. 

MOBILE EDUCATION: BRINGING THE SCHOOL TO STREET CHILDREN

Before they entered formal school, Steven and John learned while they were on the streets. Not having a classroom was not a problem at all.

A dedicated team of teachers and social workers has been bringing the school to the poor children of Manila.

It can be at a park, near the rail tracks, inside the church or even on sidewalks, parking lots, and warehouses. These places are being converted into places of learning for hundreds of street children who cannot afford to go to formal schools.

Childhope Asia Philippines’ alternative education sessions seek to make a difference in the lives of street kids, by giving them the chance to read, write, and learn. The program gives street children opportunities to earn grade school and high school certificates accredited by the Education Department even though they are not in school.

“More than teaching the street kids the basics of reading and writing, our street educators also instill in them the values they need so they can grow up to be caring, confident, responsible, and resilient men and women,” said Childhope Asia’s executive director Dr. Herbert Carpio.

Street educators ensure that lessons are holistic. They use modules to teach street children about a wide-range of lessons: from the importance of sanitation and proper hygiene; good morals and character, the need to protect themselves from getting into substance abuse and drugs, to their rights and responsibilities as children. 

“We use our mobile education vans so street children can experience an interactive kind of learning. We let them watch videos, and engage them through activities like storytelling, games, and other ways to enhance and develop their skills,” Carpio said.

From January to August 2016, more than 400 street children participated in Childhope Asia’s alternative learning sessions. Thirty seven of Childhope Asia’s beneficiaries are also now in formal school, most of them are doing well in elementary and high school, and nine of them are finishing their courses. All 37 are being supported by Childhope through its education assistance program.

Street educators promote education without borders
Street educators promote education without borders

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PJ at work
PJ at work

The Power of Perseverance

This is PJ.

He is a machinist. He dreams of creating two things: (1) metal parts that will make people’s lives easier: (2) a brighter future for his family.

Many years ago, PJ never would have thought that his life would turn out the way it has today. Floods, hunger, homelessness, broken relationships, and worthlessness were just some hurdles he had to deal with growing up. But despite all these, he persevered. He wouldn’t have gotten this far if he hadn’t.

Life through hopeful eyes

When PJ was a child, he used to roam around the streets all day. He would get up bright and early to help his mom out with her store, and then would eventually resort to begging from people, just so he and his family could have enough to eat for the day. Instead of focusing on his studies, he was compelled to play the role of a father because his real father and stepfather failed to do so.

Everything changed when one of PJ’s friends introduced him to Childhope. At first, PJ was a bit reluctant to join because he couldn’t grasp why strangers would waste their time helping kids like him. He was also a bit frightened that they might arrest him and the other kids for loitering in the streets.

His life finally changed for the better.                                                     

Once he finally joined Childhope, he began to realize the importance of education, and soon decided to make something of himself. Seeing his sudden and vast improvement, one of Childhope’s Japanese donors decided to help him out by providing him with a better place to stay, in exchange of him becoming their guide and bodyguard in the Philippines.

After a year, his social worker asked him to apply for a scholarship in a prestigious school in the Philippines. He passed the exam, and was granted a full scholarship. Despite that, however, he was often mocked by his peers and teachers for not having a good command of the English language.

This didn’t stop him from persevering.

PJ decided to use these very people as motivation to succeed. And soon enough, those who once criticized him realized what he was capable of. This was when PJ learned that there will always be people who will try to bring you down, but the best revenge is to not allow them to put out your spark, but to instead shine even brighter than you ever did.

Despite being quite busy with school, PJ still found time to give back to the community. Every weekend, he would go out of his way to teach kids. He mentioned that seeing the joy on their faces once they finally understood their lessons was more than enough to motivate him to help them even further.   

It was soon time for college.

His hard work all these years paid off when Propeller Club Manila provided him with an opportunity to apply for a full scholarship. Among 400 exam takers, only 25 got in. And he was one of them. Childhope helped him out as well by providing him with a daily allowance to manage his other expenses.

A New Beginning

PJ has finally graduated from college! He is now working for Childhope as a street educator, and in a few months, he will begin his new life at sea. Everyone here at Childhope is extremely proud of him. He proved to the world that you are the sole creator of your future; you are the only one who has the ability to create a life that would make you genuinely happy.

“I don’t just want to make my life better, but my family’s as well.” More than anything, PJ wants to put an end to his mom’s struggles. He hopes to someday fulfill all of her dreams and give her the life she truly deserves. Realizing the importance of education, PJ also wants to help his nephews with their fees in school, so that they could someday have a bright future as well.

“By not giving up in the face of adversity, I assure you that you will become stronger.” PJ wants all street children to realize that they can only live a life worth living when they finally decide to face all of their fears and take the first step forward.

Life has definitely been difficult for a street child like PJ. The people around him knew that he wasn’t responsible for his situation, and so they decided to help him create the future he rightfully deserves. And, well, they succeeded!

Just imagine, if every single one of us helps all these underprivileged children, just like how the people in PJ’s life did, soon enough, we might, just possibly, break this cycle of poverty. Don’t you think so, as well?

PJ's Graduation Picture
PJ's Graduation Picture
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Organization Information

Childhope Philippines Foundation, Inc

Location: Manila, N/A - Philippines
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ChildhopePH
Project Leader:
Mylene Lagman
Resource Mobilization and Communications Manager
Manila, Philippines

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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