Neighbors cursing at each other early in the morning, fistfights erupting out of nowhere, and police chases that end with deaths do not make an ideal picture of a neighborhood where children should be raised. Not only do these pose physical danger to the children, these also compromise their emotional and mental wellbeing.
However, this is the everyday reality for a lot of children belonging in poor families. Poverty harms them in more ways than we can imagine. These children are in need of help, and they are counting on us to rescue them from their unfortunate living conditions.
Let us share to you Joan and John’s* story – how their search for a safe place brought them to Mama Malou’s loving home in SOS Children’s Village Manila.
At only 11 years old, Joan took the responsibility of caring for her 7-year old brother, John, when their mother was sent to jail. During the first few months of their mother's imprisonment, they relied on the kindness of a few relatives in order to survive.
With no parent to cook for them, Joan and John would go to houses of nearby relatives to eat and fill their empty stomachs. Walking to their relatives' houses while hungry had been challenging for both Joan and John. To add to that, they regularly had to pass by people indulging in unhealthy and illegal vices on their way to get food.
Joan knew that staying in such a community, especially without a guardian, was unsafe for her and John. And so, through the help of a cousin, she reached out to social workers to express her concern.
The siblings were temporarily brought to an institution for neglected children. Although they had to stop going to school for a while, the siblings were thankful to the institution for providing them with food and shelter.
Soon after, their social worker shared exciting news to the siblings: they will be transferring to SOS Children’s Village Manila. The siblings were thrilled after their social worker explained what it will be like in SOS Manila.
“I was very excited to go to SOS Children’s Village Manila. I was excited to meet Mama Malou and our new siblings. We were also told that we can now return to school. I was very happy.”
Joan and John first arrived at the village last May. Since then, Mama Malou has been cooking them delicious lunches to bring to school. Among their favorites are Mama Malou’s pinakbet and pork adobo. Just like any daughter, Joan loves accompanying Mama Malou to the market every weekend.
“I am very thankful to be here at SOS Manila because I was able to have a new family. Mama Malou acts like a true mother; she is serious when necessary and always tries her best to make us happy.”
Joan and John no longer have to worry about their safety. In SOS Manila, they are in a secure and supportive community. To add to that, they now have Mama Malou who fondly watches over them and their other SOS siblings.
We want to help more children like Joan and John. And we need your help in giving them a comfortable and happy childhood.