Abused Children on the Road to Recovery
Child abuse, the worst thing a child can endure, is at an all time high in the Philippines. Sadly, the number of incidents are only increasing. An alarming 7,000,000 children per year are sexually abused, 20% of those victims are under the age of 6, according to Cameleon-association.org.
For over a decade, Children's Hunger Relief Fund has continuously supported our partners at the centers of HOPE; who, amongst other things, address the needs of child abuse victims at any stage of their recovery. Today we take a look back at when CHRF's CEO, Brant Doner, led an inspection team to the Philippines to see first hand the effects of our work.
Communities in the Philippines are densely populated with families residing in self constructed shacks often made of discarded wood, metal materials, and concrete. The unemployment rate is extremely high and those who are employed work at very low rates. One family the team spoke with, a single mother and ten children, worked together to peel and prepare garlic to be sold at the market. For every satchel of garlic prepared, they received $1. Marcus Begley, our project coordinator, spoke about how he remembers watching children playing in the landfill while their parents were rummaging through the garbage, looking for any recyclables that could be sold. Many of the children in these families attend school at the centers of HOPE.
Thanks in part to the help of our caring donors, there are several locations in the Philippines where children who are in need of special protection, specifically those who are victims of child sexual abuse, can go to receive help and begin to heal.
Angel (not her real name), was referred to the Center of HOPE-Laguna at age five because she was abandoned by her mother. Upon arriving at the center, the HOPE's advocacy team put on a puppet show for the children. After the puppet show, Angel felt comfortable enough to open up to the advocacy team about everything she had gone through. Angel watched her mother sell her siblings, she was raped by her father and her mothers boyfriends, she was malnourished and tortured. A five year old witnessing and experiencing these things are simply unimaginable. Fortunately, Angel was brought to the right place. After a few years of intervention, Angel was reunited with her grandmother and will forever cherish the love, care, teachings, and guidance shown to her at the center.
Located on several acres of property in Laguna, Philippines there are five homes for children, a feeding program, several school buildings, and plenty of recreational space. Some come daily to receive care for the education and feeding programs while others reside full time in the Center's homes. The loving staff provides around the clock therapeutic care and the children live amongst each other as a family.
The CHRF team was greatly impressed by the children's homes. Each child has their own bed, clothing, blankets, and toys. They all learn life skills and gain a sense of responsibility by helping with chores and learning to cook. Every morning and afternoon over 300 students attend sessions where they learn to read and write, are taught English, and are given a daily meal. The center has a library full of books, several lap top computers, and art supplies.
While visiting the center, the CHRF team joined the children at the facility outdoors for recreational time. Despite all of the tragedies these children have faced, they shared love and laughter while they played basketball and participated in a very competitive sack race. After spending the day outside with the children, the team headed inside to assist the staff with their daily feeding program handing out a tasty and balanced meal of rice, noodles, vegetables, and chicken.
Because of your help this is all possible.
"The most amazing thing about our partner program is the full transformation of children, who have been victims of abuse and neglect, turning into healthy adults. Thanks to all those who support CHRF, and our project partners who provide them with nourishment, shelter, education, and God's love." - CEO Brant Doner
Thank you for keeping all of these children in your hearts and prayers this Thanksgiving. Many have stories similar to Angel's, and with your help, they too can overcome their past and grow into healthy, amazing adults.