STREETLIGHT TRUST’S 10TH BIRTHDAY

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THIS MONTH STREETLIGHT TRUST CELEBRATES ITS 10th BIRTHDAY

We want to give thanks for everything that has happened at Streetlight as we celebrate our 10th birthday this year.

When we first met in the living room at Andrew’s house in Great Brickhill, we were trying to work out how to raise the £6,000 a year that our friends at Kanlungan needed to replace the funding they were about to lose from Bethany Children’s Trust.  Last week, with our latest regular gift to Kanlungan, we passed the £400,000 of giving milestone.

On behalf of all the Trustees, we want to thank all of you for being with us every step of the way.  Your support in so many different ways has been amazing.  Thank you.

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PARTNERS DAY:

And now a date for the diary :

21 May 2016 when we will be hosting a Partners Day at

         St Mary’s Church Bletchley, Milton Keynes

                 from 1- 5pm followed by a cream tea

All our Supporters are warmly invited to come together to celebrate, learn more and pray for the future of Streetlight Trust.    

 

 

Kanlungan featured in Philippine Tatler Magazine

Following on from last years Streetlight visit to Kanlungan one of that team has managed to get at article about Kanlungan published in this months edition of ‘The Philippine Tatler’.

We never know what doors God is going to open next and we share in the Kanlungan Staffs gratitude for this unexpected opportunity.

As one of the Kanlungan staff put it.

Kanlungan was featured in Philippine Tatler on their January 11, 2016 issue. Isn’t that posh?! 

Our deepest appreciation to Ate Charlotte  for opening doors to the foremost society magazine in the Philippines’.

 

You can view the article in The Tatler at http://ph.asiatatler.com/life/advocacy/a-warm-refuge

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A Warm Refuge

Kanlungan sa Er-Ma Ministry Inc helps abused children develop their sense of dignity.

By Eirah Ople on Jan 11, 2016

Children are our future; they must be led to a more promising world. This is the mission of Kanlungan sa Er-Ma Ministry Inc. For almost 30 years, this organisation has served as a parent to misguided and abused children. Support from World Vision and former President Cory Aquino’s social fund started the drop-in centres of Kanlungan in the late ’80s, which served as temporary shelters for the abused children.

Although these centres eventually closed down, Kanlungan did not lose faith. Programmes such as the teaching of important values through story-telling, creating fun activities for children to participate in, counselling and bible studies were also conducted. For long-term assistance, volunteers also referred the children to the appropriate social agencies.

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                                                  Children in Kanlungan sa Er-Ma Ministry compete in a sports festival with children from other centres

 

Sol Balbero, the executive director, says that there are residential care programmes for both girls and boys located in Laguna and Cavite, respectively. “Of course we also prepare [for] these children who have finished high school or college. Then we try to create jobs [to help] them,” says Balbero. “The whole programme of Kanlungan is based on the premise of continuity from the streets to the communities, to the drop-in centres, to residential care programmes, and onto independent living.”

One of the long-term help programmes Kanlungan sa Er-Ma came up with is offering children a two-year vocational college programme which can assure an eventual means of livelihood in the future. They established income-generating projects which could take in the children after they finish their vocational courses.

 

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A young girl from the streets of Manila was given food by Kanlungan

There are a lot of problems begging to be addressed. The organisation is aware that they have yet to overcome a huge hurdle. “The biggest challenge, however, [is finding out] how [to] restore the broken lives of the children who were exploited,” says Balbero. For more information, please contact +632.526.1733 or +632.523.0825

 

Thank you Ate Charlotte for making this possible…..
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Run to Feed – How could you help?

On Saturday 17th October 200 children from the Kanlungan projects are taking part in a Charity Fun Run in Centre Manila raising awareness and money for the Kanlungan Feeding and Health Education Programmes.

The children are really excited about the event and we are so proud of them for taking part.

YOU CAN SUPPORT THEM……..

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Could you organise your own charity event on the same day.   You could run, walk, or just drink tea and eat cake.

 

E-mail   info@streetlight-trust.org.uk For an event organisers pack.

 

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SPONSOR A KANLUNGAN CHILD WHO IS RUNNING IN THE FUN RUN

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Just click the My Donate button here to make a donation.     All money donated goes directly to the Projects in the Philippines.

Don’t forget to GIFT AID if you can!….

RUN TO FEED – Sponsor a runner

 

 

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17th October 2015

Kanlungan sa Er-Ma Ministry are organising a charity FUN RUN in Rizal Park in the centre of Manila.

RUN TO FEED will be raising money specifically for the feeding, health and nutrition program of all the children under the care of Kanlungan.

As well as local supporters of Kanlungan it is hoped that 200 children from the Kanlungan projects will be able to join the 3K or 5K run.

The children would love to be sponsored for this.    We would like to raise £10 for each of the children who takes part.    Please spread the word and encourage your friends to support this event.

Click to donate through our BT My Donate page. my donate button

 

 

 

Or……
You can donate to Streetlight on your Mobile Phone!phone donate

 

Just text the word SLTR12 £10 to 70070

(or whatever amount you want to give)

This is a free service provided by Vodafone JustTextGiving.

Pearl’s Story

The Streetlight Trust visit to Kanlungan last month brought the team into contact with a number of people who, as children, received life changing support from Kanlungan and who’s success stories of lives transformed were an inspiration.

Mary, one of the streetlight trustees shares just one of these stories.

PEARLS STORY

Pearl is the eldest of eight children, her family moved from Samar to Manila to find work, money being tight she dropped out of school. However met up with Kanlungan by attending a Vacation Church School run by the ODC. From there she attended Home School with Teacher Bing , which led to her being supported by Kanlungan though the state school system until she successfully graduated High school.

She went on to do a 2 year IT course, all the time being encouraged and supported by Kanlungan.

Pearl was offered a 3 month internship with MAA Assurance, a large assurance company in the Makati district of Manila (the chairman of the company has for many years spent his birthday with the children at Benitez House)

They were so pleased with her work they offered her a job, and today when we visiting her at work I found out she came second in ‘ the best new comer award ‘

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Pearl now supports her family financially and buys food for them. She  lives independently in a boarding house, just a Jeepney ride away from her office, she often helps Wilma and the street team giving her testimony and encouraging the children.  She also call at Benitez House in her office clothes to encourage the children to continue to study.

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Final thoughts from the Streetlight Trustees

As Mary, Malcolm and Ian prepared to leave the Kanlungan Family at the end of the 2015 Streetlight Trip these are Mary’s final thoughts.

 

As the 2015 trip draws to a close we have once again witnessed the wonderful work that Kanlungan are doing with the underprivileged families and street children in the Philippines. To witness young lives being transformed never ceases to touch our hearts.

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This year seems to have been a year where our paths have crossed with many of Kanlungan’s previous children that are now adults, all making some kind of living from street vending, traffic cop, lawyer, social worker, scavenger, to name but a few. Regardless of their life path it is so evident that the values taught by Kanlungan are still close to their hearts.

 

 

Also to be reminded by those we met of the valuable contribution that Streetlight is making to transform the lives of street children.

We would also like to thank all those that joined us this year  in making it a really successful trip

Regards

Mary, Ian & Malcolm

Final Thoughts.

The majority of the Streetlight Team arrived safely at Heathrow airport this morning, Sunday. The Streetlight Trustees have stayed on an extra day to attend teacher Bing’s wedding.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support during their trip.     We will allow the team time to sleep and process their throughts before asking them to blog about their trip but before they left Andrew sent his final thoughts.

 

 

Here I am sitting in the hotel reception waiting to leave with our group. It was an action packed last day culminating in a staff meal at the Aristocrat restaurant in Manila.  Misnamed I think !  There were so few waiters assigned to our party of 52 that some of the Kanlungan staff started clearing up the plates with us.  Another illustration of their instinctive desire to serve.

final nightWe had been allocated a private room which was a good job.  Ian, with his great sense of fun, had started buying some light- up toys from the outside street vendor. The fish that turned bright green and “swam” around the table was a highlight. But pride of place went to the “disco swans”.  The disco lights were a signal for the lights to go out and the impromptu karaoke to start !  Kanlungan staff and their Streetlight friends do like a good party !  A joyful end to our week !

 

IT’S JUSTIN BEIBER.

Every young white male on a Streetlight team as been mistaken for Justin Beiber, or simply called ’1 Direction’ as no-one knows the individual band members names.

Earlier in the day our teams ‘Juastin Bieber’ (otherwise known as Jacob Greg Harris, part of the Keynsham Parish team on the trip).had taken the time to talk to the team…….

Andrew : so what’s all this about Justin Bieber?

Jacob : well I don’t think I look like Justin Bieber.  It’s just that everyone at Kanlungan takes one look at my hair and things it looks like Justin Bieber’s

Andrew : Ok, well that’s cleared that up.  What was your best moment of the trip?

Jacob : the mini-Olympics.  Fronting the girls team to victory in the crocodile walk.

Andrew : what about your biggest surprise?

Jacob : the street community living under the bridge.  It was shocking and a real eye opener.  I still can’t understand why anyone would want to live there.

Andrew : summarise Kanlungan in one word

Jacob : incredible.  They care for the children as if they were their own…incredible kindness

Andrew : which story touched you the most?

Jacob : I don’t think there was one specific story.  I did find the sexual abuse that some of the children have suffered shocking.  There were lots of stories which were amazing in their own way.

Andrew : thanks Justin, I mean Jacob. Hope the exams go well this week !

 

With every blessing from a very hot Manila.

Andrew

 

 

Time To Reflect

It’s hard to believe but today is the last day for most of the group. Yesterday was more of a relaxing day, with a morning shopping trip to the Balikbayan Handicrafts emporium where our group rediscovered their flair for finding bargains.  The attraction of 65 per cent off was just too much for us!

But a bit of space in the day gives a bit more time to reflect on our previous day at Tunasan and the girls home in Laguna.

For now I wanted to reflect on another story from the Tunasan Centre

“The Voice”

I don’t know about you but I’m a fan of the Voice. There were some memorable performances this year, but at the Tunasan Centre we heard from two girls who would have had four turns from the judges.  Their song was part of a wonderful presentation of a music and dance. I could write about any of the performances : the amazing dance to the song Potters Hand for example. But I’m going to focus on a song performed by two girls, Emmaline and Charity, who are 11 and 9.

What is it that music does to us? The song was in Tagalog so I didn’t understand a word. But I found myself moved in my spirit. After the girls had finished, Roel the leader at Tunasan explained that it was a song about a mother’s love for her children and their love for her. I didn’t give that too much more thought.

At lunchtime, I had a photo taken of the girls with Ate Sol and she explained the back story to the song. This cut right through me. The girls had sung it at their mother’s funeral in 2013. This song felt like a form of healing for them. A way of pouring out their love for their Mum.

So often, we can feel like we’re not “doing stuff” on a trip. But just being in the audience for Emmaline and Charity was  “doing stuff”, being part of their long term healing.

Emmaline was wearing a bandana round her hand. She unwound it for me revealing quite a nasty burns wound. She had picked it up at home when the electricity shorted….another little insight into life for street families.

Do pray for Emmaline and Charity to progress in their schooling, and please continue to pray for Roel and his team as they lead the work at Tunasan.

Andrew

Tunasan Drop in Centre

Tunasan is Kanlungan’s community drop in centre in a southern district Manila.   The centre offers a wide range of education and healthcare to the poor in that community.

In recent years the outreach teams from Tunasan have worked hard to seek out isolated slum communities which have been forgotten by the outside world.   Offering feeding programmes and healthcare and working to improve the impoverished conditions of these communities th teams are bringing light and hope into some of the worst, forgotten, corners of Manila.

Yesterday some of the Streetlight Team visited Sitio Lubog, which translates from Togalog as ‘the suken city’ to see, first hand, how direct action from the Kanlungan teams is changing lives.

 

Andrew writes:

Sunken City
Last year I went to the ‘sunken city’ of Kekova whilst on holiday in Turkey.  We visited it on flat bottomed boats and dived down to see the  old ruins. It was an idyllic day in the hot Turkish sun.

Yesterday I was also in the hot sun visiting another ‘sunken city’ (Sitio Lubog as it is known in Tagalog) which is served by the Kanlungan Tunasan team. This is definitely not on the tourist trail in the Philippines. In fact, Sitio Lubog is an improvised shanty community of 45 families who make their living as tricycle  drivers and street vendors.

Kekova and Sitio Lubog have something else in common. They have both been affected by. Natural disasters. Kekova became sunken through an earthquake back in Roman times. Sitio Lubog was completely flooded after one of the many typhoons that hit the Philippines.  Given that there are around 30 storms a year to hit the lovely islands that make up the Philippines maybe it’s no surprise this one never made the news in the UK.

When the extreme flooding struck, all the families had to seek emergency shelter and lost their homes and all of their possessions. They had to leave for seven months. their world was turned upside down, but During this time they received help from Kanlungan and other organisations. Practical stuff : clothing, cooking pots, food.

Some families decided to go and live elsewhere but 45 families returned to rebuild. And talking to Ate Grace (community leader — sorry that sounded very Citizen Khan-ish!) Sitio Lubog has come back stronger. When I asked her what the biggest achievement had been since coming back, she said that the families were more united. That’s an area where Kanlungan, through the able leadership of staff member Jess, has made a difference. Bible training has been part of it, and the community is linked in to a local church, Friends of Christ. But there’s more to it than that. Young people are involved, having been organised by Kanlungan. As a result they are playing a positive, practical role : delivering health and hygiene training  and education for the little ones.

This tiny community is one of a number that Kanlungan serve from Tunasan.  Unlike the Open Day Centre where the street children walk to the centre, these communities are too far away. Instead, the Kanlungan minibus comes to pick them up, or Kanlungan goes to run activities in the community.

Live is tough in Sitio Lubog but with wonderful leaders like Ate Grace, and the help of Kunlungan, there is hope.

Do pray for Tunasan.

Andrew

Fun and Thoughts at the Mini-Olympics

Wow, what a day we had yesterday at the Kanlungan mini Olympics held down at the farm south of Manila.  When I say “Olympics” think ( for those of a certain age) more “It’s a knockout” but without Stuart Hall and Eddie Wareing.  If that cultural reference passed you by, just read on!

The competition was fierce.. Lots of shouting and cheering from each of the teams and some very competitive behaviour from the leaders (Jayne from the girls home at Laguna was especially keen to file protests to the judges about some infringement of the rules by the Boys Home or Tunasan teams!)

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The best games were the caterpillar ride which was like a 5 person cross country ski on concrete ( I am still feeling the pain of all my team falling on top of me several times ) and the water collecting game which finished up as the most enormous water fight (which the SLT team loved as it was so hot out there).

 

The team will all have their personal highlights but I think we were all agreed that the cheerleader  competition was brilliant!  Some of the teams had been rehearsing for a while. I think Benitez knew that the little ones wouldn’t win any of the games so they should focus on the cheerleading.  Their dance routine to Tony Basil’s one hit wonder “Hey Mickey” was fantastic and their pleated skirts and ties made out of newspapers were so inventive.

SLT were asked to form the judging panel, and were given 5 criteria in which to judge.  The staff were certainly taking it all very seriously.  We were all a lot more generous than Craig on Strictly and gave Benitez Street 100 out 100 narrowly ahead of the Girls Home and the Boys Home.

The effort put into everything by the staff just shows how much they care about the kids.  I’m so glad SLT funded the whole thing..the kids had been looking forward to it for weeks and Benitez Street were up at 4am this morning with excitement!  For them it really is like Christmas Day.  What a privilege to be able to share it with them.

 

A Personal Reflection:   A Level Playing Field.

Yesterday Al Wernham and Alyanna Ayiang were on a level playing field, on the same Street Educators Team at the mini Olympics down at the Farm.  Today, their worlds felt much further apart.

Al is on his first Streetlight trip as a member of St Mary’s Princes Risborough. When he’s

back in England he’s a quantity surveyor, commercially managing large construction projects. Home is in Princes Risborough itself where the average house price is £500,000 ( and an average mortgage to suit).

IMG_1254Alyanna (I don’t think I can also call her Al for short !) is 18 years old. Her home has been  under a bridge for as long as she can remember. Now there are bridges and bridges.

 

I can think of some lovely ones in Wharfedale in my home county of Yorkshire, and I can hear the sound of water as it swirls on down between the rocks. But Alyanna’s bridge isn’t like that.  We couldn’t hear any sound of running water…more a semi stagnant pool of polluted gunge which smelt truly awful. A river filled with all sorts of garbage, but where a few roosters still managed to find a few scraps to eat.

Al and Alyanna were on a level playing field yesterday but not today. But there is real hope for Alyanna thanks to Kanlungan’s help and her own determination. Thanks to the Kanlungan street educators like Suzette (also on Al’s team yesterday) discovering this bridge community, Alyanna has had support to get her college degree in IT. She now needs to get some on the job training before, hopefully, getting a job. She would love to do encoding work for one of the many outsourcing companies now operating out of Manila. Or maybe works for Samsung.

Let’s pray for Alyanna’s success, rejoice in the dedication of workers like Suzette (herself once a Kanlungan girl) and hope that one day the playing field will be as even as it was at the mini Olympics.

Andrew.

PS : Al would like to point out that the Street Educators were an amazing team and finished second overall at the Olympics ( beaten only by the home team from the Boys Home).