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.

wilmar

malcolm

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!)

olympic6

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).

Smokey Mountain

Smokey Mountain

smokey view

Here on top of a hill of compacted rubbish, full of disease and toxic with fumes exists a community of people. Children strangely happy to play, filthy dirty and barely clothed.  Respiratory problems common, a wasted away mother breastfeeding her baby in front of us whilst making sure her other children got sweets from the team.  A church, school and meeting place, one small open sided room with chalk board at front and no more than 25 foot square looks over to the skyline of wealthy Manila with its swish hotels and business offices.

smokeyskyline

This is a difficult place to be.

It is a complex situation where alternative accommodations have been offered to residents who may have then sold them and returned to what they know as home. Children who have on this tip more freedom than the cramped conditions of the alternative high rise flats below the tip with tiny floorspace and no where to play but in the streets below.   One child on the tip asked a team member with real meaning why they looked so lonely and sad? What a question and what a challenge.

A mix of contrasts as one child carries his mobile phone, another his skateboard and yet the majority content with chasing each other and playing in the rubbish with nothing much.

This is a difficult place to be.

We are all so deeply affected by Ate Sol who has relationship with so many on this heap of rotting human consumption. Sol has asked a lady to lead us across the tip who she had originally rescued from there and is now a trained teacher who exudes grace and confidence. Lead by such a lady we are quietly assured that this awful place can also be one of hope.

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I am writing this in the middle of the following night, full of thoughts, pain, prayers and yearning for this tragic world we live in. God has placed us here to make a difference.

What will we do with the short visit he gives us on this small planet where such inequalities exist?

David McDougall
Rector of St Mary’s Bletchley Milton Keynes

Safely Arrived:

The 21 strong team from the UK has arrived safely in Manila and, as always, hit the ground running.  They arrived at Benitez House, the temporary shelter in the heart of the Malate District of Manila, as the staff and helpers celebrated the achievements the children have made within the programme.

Andrew, one of the Streetlight Trustees on this trip decribes the day.

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‘A great first day at Benitez Street.  The main event of the day was the ‘Recognition Celebration’ for all the children at Benitez Street.  It was an emotional afternoon with hardly a dry face in the house at times!  I realise just how much the work means to the staff when they are crying along with the kids.  Jasmine, the social worker, who leads the team at Benitez Street, needed a Kleenex or two from Kuya Ian.

 
Each of the Streetlight team was asked to accompany one of the children to receive their awards. That was a wonderful expression of how we are a family, even though thousands of miles away.  Some of the parents came to celebrate their children’s achievements which was lovely , but there was heartbreak for one or two children whose relatives didn’t turn up.  One girl was dancing the flamenco with one of the Spanish volunteers holding back the tears, sad that her mum hadn’t come.

DSC_0079As ever, the welcome from the staff was brilliant and we have all been made to feel at home.’

 

 

 

 

Please continue to support this team with your prayers.   They will be able to see the comments you are leaving on this blog and that will be a great encouragement to them.