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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
Reading and writing as powerful tools for healing
Reading and writing as powerful tools for healing

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives in ways that may seem unimaginable. But even though there is growing fear about the uncertainties ahead, there is also hope and love. The young girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa teach us a thing or two about how to cope with the new normal through education, creativity, and positivity.

Having more time indoors opens more opportunities for girls to love reading and writing. These powerful tools can help children deal with trauma. At Tahanan, we make reading and writing essential parts of the healing process because they empower children to express their experiences and learn about others. This way, girls become more empathetic and connect with other people.

The girls also took the time indoors to enjoy role-playing. They learned more about Adam and Eve and the Bible's story of Creation. Our girls love telling stories - it is one of the most effective ways that enable them to communicate and express themselves. Role-playing is a therapeutic approach that helps them cope with their worrles in this difficult time. Through role-playing, the girls are able to open up and make better connections with themselves and with each other.

The girls also enjoyed paying tribute to the country's rich culture and heritage with heartfelt performances of some of the Philippines' well-loved traditional folk dances. Besides giving them opportunities to hone their skills in art and dance, these performances empower our girls by boosting their self-confidence, celebrating their talent and diversity, and giving them unique experiences they won't easily forget.

Most importantly, our girls learned more about the value of gratitude. They became fond of writing thank-you letters to their nanays who play significant roles in their growth and recovery. From being mothers and mentors, to the best listeners, fronliners, and friends, our girls' nanays take their roles to heart to ensure that our girls get all the love, kindness, and understanindg. 

Role-playing as a therapeutic approach
Role-playing as a therapeutic approach
Art and Dance To Boost Confidence
Art and Dance To Boost Confidence

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Paying it forward: Educating girls
Paying it forward: Educating girls

The community quarantine in most parts of the Philippines has also taken a toll on children’s physical, mental, and social health and well-being. But the young girls of Tahanan Sta. Luisa can teach us a thing or two about how to cope with our new reality through education, creativity, and positivity.

Schools in the country are closed, but the learning (and the fun) never stops for the young girls of the organization. Thanks to Angel, one of Tahanan’s beneficiaries who is now pursuing her studies in college. Angel decided to pay it forward and make the most of her time indoors by helping the girls catch up with their lessons and not fall behind in their studies.

The girls also developed a deeper understanding of the value of playtime. They realized that playing can counter the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by helping them mitigate stress, strengthen relationships, and build resilience.

Learning how to make their own blouses, skirts, shorts in sewing class also kept them busy and productive. Through this initiative, the organization aims to empower girls by letting them know that they have the power to learn new skills and build self-reliance.

Cherishing playtime
Cherishing playtime
Sewing their way to empowerment
Sewing their way to empowerment

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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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Organization Information

Tahanan Sta. Luisa, Inc.

Location: Antipolo City, NCR - Philippines
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Maria Fatima Reyes
Antipolo City, Philippines
$51,483 raised of $70,000 goal
 
713 donations
$18,517 to go
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