Save Our Children: Making Our Streets One Less Street-child A Day

Monday, March 2, 2015



I had the opportunity to visit an orphanage for abandoned children aged 0-3 years old. It is one of those privately owned orphanages run by a foundation. I was impressed and amazed because the founder is one of those prominent politicians/political family in Metro Manila and yet, I never heard them mention or brag about this in public. My opinion of them as politicians has completely made a 360 degrees turn.

I have to post it this way since posting of photos of the children in the house are prohibited to protect their identity.


We were there to celebrate a birthday party of a friend's child, as a way of giving thanks for all the blessings. This is home to children from 0- 3 years only, because most of these babies get adopted in a short period of time. The most special thing about this orphanage is that these babies were abandoned and found in the most heartbreaking way. Listening to the stories of each baby was more than enough for us to suppress our tears. I've been to so many homes and yet the effect is always almost the same.


I would also commend the dedication of the women working for the foundation for an honorarium (for transportation) and most of the time, for free. These women in the foundation who serves as mothers to these babies also have families of their own, but they still choose to volunteer and take care of what the others have chosen to abandon.

But they do not only take care of abandoned babies and ready them up for adoption, they also offer counseling for teen girls who are pregnant and confused. The administrator also said that most of the time, when somebody calls them, the first thing they would be asked was “Magkano pag 2 months?” (“How much is the fee for a 2-month old pregnancy?”) The home would be mistaken as an abortion clinic.  And that is when they would start counseling the person on the other line. Most of the time, they would ask the caller to look at her thumb and say that a two-month old fetus would be as big as her thumb. Sometimes, that would make the caller change their mind about abortion. Sometimes, the callers don't call back.



Most of these babies would be adopted within a year or two and mostly by foreigners. But there is a strict set of guidelines and process that the adoptive parents would have to follow. Learning about how these babies’ lives have made a complete turn when they became adopted is enough for me to appreciate and be thankful of what these people are working for without asking anything in return.

In my daily commute, I would see these children on the streets begging , hopping from one jeepney to another (the ones with the envelopes in the Quirino to Vito Cruz area along Taft Avenue), and sometimes I can’t help but feel sorry for them. It is very obvious that these children are exploited by organized syndicates, using them to earn for their own selfish needs. 

Why do I say they are organized? Because if you would pay more attention to the details rather than just shooing them immediately, you will notice that they carry the same envelopes, with the same inscription if any, and they come in two’s. One would distribute the envelopes and the other would sing.

Yes, sometimes, these children can really sing and at some point we are entertained by their voices, but let’s not forget that they do not get everything that they have begged for. Even though I condemn what the exploiters are doing, I still take out one peso or more to give to these children hoping that I was able to help them. Twice I was able to see how these children are being briefed by a woman, at about 9 am in the Gil Puyat LRT Station. It was so obvious because these children were all carrying the same envelopes on their hands. I think they are dropped off in this station daily and would be picked up at night, the same way how I also saw some years ago, a van dropping off one of those blind singers in various overpass or underpass.

In my walks to the office, near San Andres Market,  I would see babies and children sleeping on the hard, cold pavement, with nothing to protect them from the cold but some used cartons, if any. My heart breaks at the sight of this, but after quite a long time seeing this almost every day, you just get used to it. It grows on you and it becomes a normal part of your daily life. And to think that the parents are the ones who make them lie on the cold pavement.

Street Children Issues on Pinterest

The things that irks me most is seeing children naked on the streets. Sometimes, clothed but without any underwear, and sometimes fully naked. I cannot understand how parents can go about having their children run through the streets without any clothing. For me, having clothes on our bodies, is having our dignity intact. Stripping your child off their clothing is like stripping them off their dignities. That’s why I disagree with parents who would use shaming as a disciplinary action in the form of stripping them off their clothes. This happens because I know some people who does this.

Reflecting on it, I started to compare between the children who were abandoned by their parents in the most heartbreaking way (in shoeboxes, under the trees, in restrooms inside the mall, etc.)and ended up in homes; from the children I see on the streets sleeping with their parents but either using them to gain compassion to earn money or just doesn’t care enough for them.

Who are the luckier ones? Or are theyall just victims of the inequality in our society? But this is unacceptable because in my humble opinion, if you are really determined to give a better future for your children, you would do everything to give them just that. And being poor is not an excuse. I am not in the position to judge, but I have been in that situation, and yet I strived harder than I’ve ever strived for something before because I do not want us to sleep in the streets.

So is it really fair for these children to be with their parents who obviously do not care about their  welfare? Or are the ones in orphanages have bigger chances of having a better future?

If you know someone who is pregnant and have some of these problems, you may refer them to the KBF who would review the case and refer them to a house for pregnant women like the Nazareth Home. This is a home not just for pregnant teens but for all special case women who are pregnant, rape victims, women abandoned by their husbands or boyfriends and have nowhere to go or women victims of violence who are into hiding. The women would stay there until they give birth. While inside the home, they are given time to decide whether they would put their baby up for adoption, or choose to raise the baby. I know this because I personally brought someone inside. I think putting these troubled women in homes like this, would be a way to educate them and saving another child from being abandoned.

If you are interested in adopting, there are many homes that have these cute little babies waiting for you to become their parents. I may just have to remind you that it should be done the legal way. Most would want to take a shortcut and do things on their own, even having to produce a new birth certificate. Please remember that this won’t give you or your adopted child the protection you need and deserve. The legal process may be a bit challenging but there are agencies aside from the DSWD that helps in facilitating adoption like the Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), which by the way recommended the orphanage that was mentioned above. 

If you know someone who is having some pregnancy problems and other issues who would need counseling, please refer to the list below:

Home for the Angels Caring Foundation 
2306 Coral corner Augusto Francisco Streets, San Andres Bukid, Manila City,
Metro Manila, Agusto Francisco, San Andres Bukid, Manila, Metro Manila

Dr. A. Santos Avenue, 1714, Sucat, Paranaque City, Philippines
(+632) 826-4790

Home of Joy (Missionaries of Charity)
1030 Tayuman Street, Tondo, Manila
(+632)255-0832

56 10th Avenue, Cubao 1109
                     
Nazareth Home (Home for Troubled Pregnant Women)
(check this with KBF)

Any action we could do to make our streets one street child lesser a day would be a great help towards the future of these street children. 

Keep the Faith,

Mei

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