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Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse

by Tahanan Sta. Luisa, Inc.
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Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
Empower Filipino teenage girl survivors of abuse
The girls work hard to learn sewing skills
The girls work hard to learn sewing skills

11-year-old Christine (not her real name) takes great pride in being able to create wallets, bags, and dresses all by herself. “I am very happy and thrilled because I can already tell my mother and my aunt that I can sew these accessories,” she said.

Through funding and support from kind donors, Tahanan Sta. Luisa is able to run a sewing center social enterprise. The program aims to train the girls to create quality machine-sewn and hand-sewn items that will develop their sewing skills and creative talents, teach them a good work ethic, and enable them to earn income while learning. 

It takes a community to build the next generation of girl leaders, and many stepped up to help our girls gain the strength and confidence they need to lead productive lives. A fully functional sewing center was built. A skilled sewing teacher taught the girls to use industrial sewing machines and edging machines with safety precautions. Soon, the girls were sewing simple tote bags, coin purses, pouches, pot holders, headbands, table doilies, and pillow covers.

Visitors and volunteers who came to the center bought the items. Volunteer artist groups came around to give lessons on how to paint on fabric or to decorate with beads and buttons. The girls had loads of fun painting and decorating their bags. Donor partners also gave Tahanan opportunities to showcase the girls’ products during their events.

More than a social enterprise, the project is a personal development channel for the resident girls of Tahanan. It is a significant contributor to their overall education and healing. The program helps girls battle trauma from abuse. Through skills training, girls become self- sufficient individuals inside and outside the shelter. They found the importance of treasuring their own skills and improving them. 

Girls show their hand-painted canvas bags
Girls show their hand-painted canvas bags
Girls learn how to make a wallet
Girls learn how to make a wallet
Products made by girls sold at a bazaar
Products made by girls sold at a bazaar
Beautiful tote bag carefully sewn by our girls
Beautiful tote bag carefully sewn by our girls

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Learning is healing
Learning is healing

For many students, going to school is just a regular routine, and they sometimes see it as a chore. But for the girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa, going to regular school opens a world of opportunities - as it helps them gain the confidence to adjust to a new environment and empowers them through learning.

2019 is only the second school year that Tahanan Sta. Luisa enabled the girls to go for formal regular schooling, when previously only an informal arrangement through home-based schooling under the government’s Alternative Learning System was offered. The move has produced dramatic and happy results for the girls, particularly in terms of their personality development.  

Going to regular schools helps girls heal from the trauma of childhood abuse by making them realize that it is not too late to fulfill their dreams of getting a good education. With counselling and confidence-building, a 21-year old beneficiary is not anymore scared to go back to elementary because of old age. Instead, she is making the most out of learning from leadership tasks assigned to her and talking to her schoolmates.

Some of the girls are also enrolled in a school’s Special Education Section. Through this endeavor, the girls gain the ability to overcome speech difficulties. By communicating with other school mates, the girls become more assertive, articulate, and confident. They learn the value of friendship and enjoy participating in school activities.

By going to regular schools, the girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa are developing good study habits that allow them to excel and get good grades. More than academic achievements, they are able to be independent and productive on their own, while also learning how to work well with others and be mindful of their needs. Tahanan Sta. Luisa commits to continue empowering girls through education, supporting them in school and helping them become the hard working and kind students they aim to be. 

Learning with and through each other
Learning with and through each other
Learning is growth
Learning is growth

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Sharing a commitment to empower girls
Sharing a commitment to empower girls

Veronica and Cecilia did not know what to expect during their first encounter with the girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa. They kept an open mind and soon found themselves humbled and enlightened by the experience.

“What struck me most is that we had more in common than I expected. Just like me, these girls have dreams and hopes for their futures as well as apprehensions and occasional doubts,” Veronica said. Since then, she and her family have strengthened a long term partnership with Tahanan and committed to a mission to empower street girl survivors of abuse.

“We want their experiences, rather than to hinder them, to give them an immeasurable strength and a unique world perspective. We hope that the girls will grow to develop a sense of self-worth and to wholeheartedly believe in their dreams,” she said.

Veronica and Cecilia are inspired not only by the girls’ stories of resilience and hope, but also by the selfless dedication and passion of the staff members who work tirelessly to help the girls heal and recover from trauma.   

Armed with a better understanding of the challenges faced by the girls, Veronica and Cecilia renew a resolve to support the girls and assure them that they are not alone in their journeys.

“These past years with Tahanan have taught me that the circumstances you were born into matter less than what you make of what you are given. Each visit to Tahanan leaves me feeling humbled because of the realization that if these girls can be happy and have so much faith in themselves and in each other, than who are we to be ungrateful for what we have,” she said.

Veronica admits that going to Tahanan in Antipolo is challenging considering its distance from Manila, but it does not stop her from regularly visiting the girls and supporting them the best way she can. She is moved by how stories can inspire and empower: “I believe in the power of storytelling to evoke compassion and in turn, encourage others to get involved in the mission.”

Girls express themselves through art
Girls express themselves through art
Volunteers empower girls by sharing life skills
Volunteers empower girls by sharing life skills
Volunteers empower girls by sharing life skills
Volunteers empower girls by sharing life skills

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Marvin and the girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa
Marvin and the girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa

His family’s meaningful encounter with the girls ignited his desire to build a community that empowers street girls in simple yet profound ways.

Kuya Marvin, as the girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa know him, has been supporting the organization and its mission for over two years now. He came to know about Tahanan more than a decade ago, when he was visited by the center’s founder, Ms. Tessie Silva.

“She showed me the love and compassion for these girls, their situation, their needs and I immediately fell in love with the cause,” Marvin said of Tessie. Moved by Tessie’s incredible display of motherly love, Marvin promised to visit Tahanan Sta. Luisa and get to see the children for himself. It took many years before that promise was fulfilled, but the opportunity to treat the girls to lunch and provide them with supplies was one that Marvin and his family cherished in their hearts.

“It was a heartfelt, unforgettable experience for me and my family. That is why it was a no-brainer that Tahanan Sta. Luisa instantly became one of our adopted centers,” Marvin said.

Marvin and his group's main goal is to provide development opportunities that empower the youth to create a positive change. Marvin adopted Tahanan as the beneficiary of his own personal outreach programs. He encouraged his friends to get involved since they had a shared passion for educating and supporting the youth.

“We want the girls to feel that hope is not lost and that they can always lean to us,” Marvin said. Our programs and activities for the girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa focus on empowering the girls to be changemakers in their own simple ways. We are helping the girls prepare for their future through skills training.  “We want them to learn to be independent in life moving forward. We want them to become young, active citizens of our communities and create positive change not just in their lives but to people they meet in the future as well,” Marvin said.

Marvin and his group have been engaging the girls of Tahanan through tree planting programs, fund raising projects, and outreach activities.

Kuya Marvin and his friends are looking forward to more meaningful activities and programs with the girls of Tahanan. By sharing their time and presence with the girls, they are able to inspire the girls to push forward in their journey towards healing and recovery. 

“It doesn't take a fortune to help, all you need is a heart. You will never regret helping. It's a great experience immersing with the children of Tahanan and their smiles and hugs are invaluable,” Marvin said.

Outreach activity for the girls of Tahanan
Outreach activity for the girls of Tahanan
Planting seeds of hope
Planting seeds of hope
Planting seeds of hope
Planting seeds of hope
CarDrawling activity
CarDrawling activity
Makeover magic
Makeover magic
Spending quality time with the girls
Spending quality time with the girls

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Learning more about dimensions
Learning more about dimensions

What does she get from sewing?

The craft motivates our girls to be more productive, piques their curiosity, and instills in them the values of hard work and patience.

At Tahanan Sta. Luisa, girls enjoy sewing sessions where they are taught cross stitching, patch work, and embroidery. They get to express their love for arts and crafts through colorful and beautifully designed rags and tote bags. But more than the finished product, sewing opens opportunities for the girls to be productive by helping out in their small ways.

The girls love their new sewing room complete with industrial-type sewing machines and worktables. With their own private spaces to work, they are more encouraged to learn about the craft. They learn how to carefully use the needles and threads, and have fun while deciding on the colors and designs. These simple but profound steps help boost their confidence in their capabilities.

Learning sewing skills is also part of their journey towards healing from trauma. It gives them a fresh perspective - something to look forward to everyday - that inspires them to enjoy their childhood. It’s also one of the best ways for them to spend time with friends and get mentored by social workers and house parents.

Tahanan’s sewing livelihood program is powered by loyal supporters who believe in our girls and their determination to be independent and productive members of society. Through the program, our girls are able to gain life skills that are their stepping stones to success.

Excited to use those threads
Excited to use those threads
Getting serious with sewing
Getting serious with sewing
Colorful rags
Colorful rags
Playing with colors and designs
Playing with colors and designs
Simple yet elegant tote bags
Simple yet elegant tote bags

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Organization Information

Tahanan Sta. Luisa, Inc.

Location: Antipolo City, NCR - Philippines
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Maria Fatima Reyes
Antipolo City, Philippines
$43,401 raised of $70,000 goal
 
634 donations
$26,599 to go
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