Taking a Huge Step Forward

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The Benitez Street Reception centre offers a safe haven for children rescued from the streets in Manila.    Over the first few months the children are supported by teachers, social workers and house parents who work to assess if reconciliation with family is possible or if a permanent home within the Kanlungan family will be needed.

At the end of each summer a number of children from the Benitez Street Centre move on to live at their permanent homes at the girls and boys homes in the outskirts of Manila.    For vulnerable children who have found safety and security at the reception centre, possibly for the first time in their lives, the move can be very daunting and needs to be very carefully handled by the staff at the boys and girls homes.

This summer 12 children were transferred tot heir new homes.  9 girls 3 boys.Eunice Dipasupil, Kanlungan’s Comunications Officers reports of the children’s progress so far.

“Most of the children needs a sense of normality and continuity  in their lives.  The transfer to either the Girls’ Home and the Boys’ Home changes the children’s environment, the people they mingle with and even the rules and routines that they need to follow.
 
For some of the children this adjustment has been really hard and in turn this causes disorder and disruption in the whole centre during the transition period. 
 
The staff needs to be more patient and understanding and formulate new strategies to reconcile the differences between the newly transferred children and the older ones.
 
The children have been excited to start school.   we are thankful that they are settling well in school, meet new classmates and making friends. Even if they need to wake up early to get to school and have homework to do when they return home after school.”
 

The "Mini Library" at the Girls Home

The “Mini Library” at the Girls Home

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A typical classroom at the state school the girls attend.

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A place for everyone’s shoes.

 

  • Please pray for children and staff at each of the residential homes as they settle into new routines.

 Lyn-Lyn’s New Beginning

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When you visit the Girls’ Home, you quickly notice Lyn-Lyn, the youngest girl at the home. She’ll be turning 6 years old this month.   

In 2014,  Lyn-Lyn’s mother left their family. Left with her father Lyn-Lyn and her two older sisters were neglected and abused as Their father became dependent on alcohol.

Lyn-Lyn and her sisters were referred to Kanlungan sa Er-Ma’s RCTC1 last year where they have stayed for 10 months before moving up to the Girls’ Home. 

As the youngest child Lyn-Lyn seemed shy and timid at first.  But as time has gone by she has grown in confidence and is now seen mingling and playing with the other children with no trace of shyness. 

Just like the other children, Lyn-Lyn was excited to be transferred to the Girls’ Home.  At her young age, she knows that transferring to the Girls’ Home means being able to study in school.  Her uneasiness about leaving the people and staff she was used to see everyday didn’t overshadow her excitement about what she had to look forward to at the Girls’ Home.

She loves the idea that in the Girls’ Home, she is with her two “Ate” (sisters) and that the other girls will become her new ‘sisters’.   She also feels safe being in Kanlungan and she does not need to worry where her needs will be coming from.

Lyn-Lyn is still in Preschool.  Even though she has a long way to go with her education, she knows how to value it by actively attending her classes and doing her school works. She has never missed a class since June.

Among all her activities in school, she loves art the most.  Her teachers say so concentrated well when drawing and coloring.

Lyn-Lyn  says she wants to become a teacher someday.  When  asked why she said she wanted the children to learn how to write, read, and draw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Return

The Streetlight Trust team have safely returned to the UK after a 24 hour stop off in China to visit the Great Wall.

We are all thankful for your financial support and prayers that made this trip possible.

Once we have recovered from our Jet lag I’m sure we will all have reflections on the trip that we will share on the blog.

In the meantime. Don’t forget the Streetlight Trust Partners Day on 21st May at St Mary’s Church, Bletchley, Milton Keynes. You are all very welcome.

The Mini-Olympics …

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We had an amazing day yesterday at the third Streetlight / Kanlungan ‘Mini-Olympics’. Each of the Kanlungan Centre’s competed against each other to be crowned ‘Mini-Olympic Champion’. Members of our team were distributed amongst the different centres with Kuya Ian as a judge alongside Ate Sol.

 

Games included ‘Chase the Dragon’s Tail’, ‘Water Balloon Toss’ and ‘Three Legged Race’. One of the strangest games was the Caterpillar Race where two teams of five were. It was all great fun and the Boy’s Home ended by being victorious (with Simon and I proud to be part of the winning team!!!)

There was some fantastic food and a wonderful time of praise and worship at the end. Best of all was seeing the joy on the Children’s faces as they enjoyed such an amazing day, though it was hard to think of the chuildren from the Open Day Centre and the Street Education Programme going back to such difficult circumstances, though we thank God that so many were also able to go back to the safety of the Kanlungan Residential Centres.

We want to say thank you to all of our supporters for making it possible for the children to share such a joyful day and we thank God that together we are able to be part of this amazing family. 

Mark

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Just like ordinary girls, perhaps.

Yesterday the full team spent the day at the Laguna Girls Home.    There are about 20 girls living as part of the family here at the moment and more will move up from mbenitez house next month to start the new school year.

Their home is a 4 storey house in a quiet residential street where they are cared for my house mothers and a social worker.   They are beautiful teenage girls. A little shy when we arrived but very soon joining in games, telling us about their lives and asking questions about life  in England.    We were treated to another beautiful presentation of dancing which every girl join in and again the streetlight team performed their theme song ‘my lighthouse’.

Naomi and I had the honour of staying over with the girls.    It was a everning of giggling, painting nails and watching dance routines on YouTube.   They are such happy girls and a real testament to the love and care of the kanlungan family who have patiently lead each child through so much to begin to heal and grow into beautiful young ladies.

Now it is 5am.   The girls are all up and happily doing chores.   Every chockerel in Laguna province is doing its thing.    It is the kanlungan sports day today so we are all off to the farm at 6am to join teams from every centre in what I am sure will be a very competitive day of sports, dance competitions and lots and lots of giggling and cheering.    It’s going to be so hot but I can’t wait.

We may be too tired to blog tonight but we will write again tomorrow.

X Helen

Too much, too hot and too tired

Today has been our busiest day yet.   Out of the hotel at 9am and I’m just crawling into my bed now at 11.30 and the temperature has been up in the high 30′s.

 

We spent this morning visiting the Smokey mountain dump site community, this afternoon we spent time at the Tunasan Day Centre and visiting some of the children’s homes along the railway line.  Tonight we spent time with an amazing group of boys and young men who meet in the park most evenings to practice street dance.

 

Tomorrow we will try to explain the full mixture of emotions we’ve felt today but for now we are all well and happy to be in our beds.  Looking forward to visiting the girls home tomorrow.

 

X Helen

 

 

 

 

Pray and Play

Today was spent at Benitez House.

This morning we were able to join the staff for their weekly prayer meeting. It is inspiring spending time with the staff who are so commited to the children and faithful to the calling that God has given to them. It was an honour to be able to pray with our brothers and sisters and for then to pray for us. After another delicious lunch we get time to play with the children. Ball games in the street and bracelet making were the FB_IMG_1459781385939group activities but for some of the children some very special one on one time was a real treat. weekly prayer meeting. It is inspiring spending time with the staff who are so commited to the children and faithful to the calling that God has given to them. It was an honour to be able to pray with our brothers and sisters and for then to pray for us. After another delicious lunch we get time to play with the children. Ball games in the street and bracelet making were the group activities but for some of the children some very special one on one time was a real treat.

A Day of Celebration at Benitez

Today was ‘Recognition Day’ at Benitez House. Children come to live at Benitez House from the streets or from referrals from social services. They stay for up to a year before moving on to the girls or boys home or being reconciled to their families. Today was the graduation ceremony for the children who are due to move on in May (the beginning of a new school year).
Dressing in their best clothes and wearing white graduation robes the children proudly received graduation certificates and performed songs and dances. As well as prizes for school work, children were also rewarded for values such as kindness, helpfulness, cheerfulness and tidiness.
Some children were proud to be able to invite parents or family members to the celebration but for many of the children, who do not have family contact, it was an honour for team members to stand with they to receive their prizes. Personally watching my Zac stand alongside a child receiving the award for ‘most clean and tidy’ did make me smile but I hope that her tidiness will rub off on Zac.
It was a day of great joy and lots of laughter but for some the thought of moving on is going to be very hard. One little girl bravely performed the dances with tears streaming down her face knowing that she is about to move up to the girls home leaving her two younger sisters at Benitez House. But wherever the children are, they will stay within the love and care of Kanlungan and will be encouraged to reach their full potential.
Tomorrow will be quiet day for the team. We will go to church with the staff at the Cathedral of Praise in the morning and then have some free time in the afternoon.
Thanks for your comments and prayers,
Helen x

Day three. Visiting the Bridge community.

Charlie writing –    Before coming on this trip I didn’t really know what to think, I’ve spent the last 5 months travelling the world 2 being spent in South East Asia so I didn’t think I could still be shocked by the conditions that humans live and survive. Today (Day 3) we visited the Bridge Community (literally a number of families living under or beside a bridge)

As much as I was appalled by the smell of the rotting black and grey sewage water the bridge goes over I was equally amazed by the families creativity and resourcefulness in building a multi level homes some that included electricity and washing facilities. Each shanty home housed between 4-7 people from new borns to great grandparents all built using very few suitable materials. Yet the families were still very proud to show us the grand tour of their homes and the children would drag you to show you their bed and things they used for toys.

There are a lot of highs and lows to this trip that all seem to merge into one emotional in the moment thought. Your happy to be playing with the children as many as 5 at a time seeing the smiles on their faces everyday is amazing, but then you think about their old life situations and how lucky they are to be part of Kanalungon and how many other children are out there needing this help and support. The overwhelming feeling is pure delight to be with them watching them being loud and happy and occasionally throwing them in the air because they want to be a spaceship, for me they are my favorite moments
We have only been here for three days but it feels like it’s a lot longer. Early mornings and late nights have kept us busy, The team are great but I’ve learnt playing games with the Taylor family may not always be so light hearted as they can be reacklessly competitive which im sure will give an extra edge to the Kanalungon Childrens Olympics event on Thursday…I can’t wait

Day 2. Walking the Streets.

Mark writes:
Thanks to everyone for their comments, we read them in the coffee shop at breakfast this morning.
Today we have been visiting families who live on the streets and in very poor housing near Kanlungan’s base in the city. It is my first visit here for over two years so there have been quite a few changes and it has been good to meet some of the new staff.
It’s good to be here with Helen & Zac, it’s also good to have Helen’s niece Naomi with us and she is going to share a few thoughts about what she has seen:
“It is my first time visiting the Philippines, I’ve heard so much about it from family and friends who have visited before. It’s such an amazing place and nothing like what I’d imagined it to be, no photo or description could really do it justice. It’s such a busy vibrant city, with every street comes different sights and smells. It’s amazing just to be in a completely different environment and culture.
The staff and volunteers are all incredible people and are so happy, kind, helpful and enthusiastic.
Today we visited two different areas and communities living on the streets of Manila, its so hard to see how people live with so little but amazing how happy and kind everybody is. The children are so lovely and smiley, it’s so much fun to spend time with them and play with them.
Looking forward to spending two more weeks here, getting to know everyone better on the team, staff here and the children”.

 

Tomorrow we have an early starting helping the open day centre (ODC) staff with their feeding programme.

safe arrival

After nearly a full day of travelling we arrived safely at about 1.30am Manila time.   Even in the middle of the night the heat and smells hit us as we walked After nearly a full day of travelling we arrived safely at about 1.30am Manila time. Even in the middle of the night the heat and smells hit us as we walked out to meet our Kanlungan Friends who had patiently waited for our delayed plane. After a fairly short sleep we enjoyed our first morning coffee at KSEM before lunch at Benitez House and time getting to know the children and staff who live there. The children sang to us and introduced themselves, some were very shy to begin with but very quickly the games of rough and tumble began and the children and the team very quickly lost their inhabitions. Ian and Mark then made the icecream run to the local 7/11 returning with 50 cornettos which disappeared very quickly. The sugar rush fortified the tream for more play before returning to the hotel for a well earned shower. Other team members will blog their thoughts as we go so pelase check back each day and please leave comments. We really appreciate the link with home. to meet our Kanlungan Friends who had patiently waited for our delayed plane.

After a fairly short sleep we enjoyed our first morning coffee at KSEM before lunch at Benitez House and time getting to know the children and staff who live there.     The children sang to us and introduced themselves, some were very shy to begin with but very quickly the games of rough and tumble began and the children and the team very quickly lost their inhabitions.

Ian and Mark then made the icecream run to the local 7/11 returning with 50 cornettos which disappeared very quickly.    The sugar rush fortified the tream for more play before returning to the hotel for a well earned shower.

Other team members will blog their thoughts as we go so pelase check back each day and please leave comments.  We really appreciate the link with home.