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Children are at the heart of the Filipino family. One only has to look at the number of child-centric celebrations we have every year to see just how valuable the little ones are to our society. On top of being the future of the Philippines, children also give families joy and hope. Especially during the Christmas season, there is much excitement about the activities children can participate in all over the country. This time of the year, there is much fanfare about new clothes, toys, and a wide assortment of gifts.
This is not a luxury, but unfortunately, not all children get to experience Christmas in a festive environment every year. Depending on a child’s situation, they may end up separated from their parents, or perhaps their family belongs to a marginalized community. This is why Virlanie Foundation, a private, non-profit and non-sectarian organization that reaches out to marginalized children and communities all around the Philippines, was founded.
Virlanie’s 7 Pillars
The needs of marginalized children vary, and to address them, Virlanie has seven pillars with different goals:
Virlanie’s seven pillars of expertise start with the Community pillar, which supports family development to keep children away from situations that will result in an abusive and neglectful household. Then comes the Street pillar, which provides education services to the children that need it most. The third pillar, Residential, has a focus on creating a loving family atmosphere for children. With the help of their Social Services team, Virlanie conducts street case management, community case management, and residential case management to support each child and family’s well-being and development.
It is not enough for the foundation to support children through their community, street, and residential efforts. This is where the next three pillars come in, to offer holistic support to all children that the first three pillars have cared for.
In the current Philippine landscape, changes are necessary to protect children now and in the future, which makes Virlanie’s seventh pillar, Advocacy, an important step in childcare. It has a focus on defending and promoting children’s rights.
Virlanie’s Residential Pillar: Giving Children Loving Homes
In an ideal setting, each child will have a home and loving parents to share the responsibilities of caring and raising their children. The environment should be healthy, safe, and nourishing. The children’s needs are met and they can easily come to their parents when they need anything. The reality, however, is very different.
Virlanie sees firsthand the children who come from dysfunctional families and who have experienced abuse and neglect in their previous home setting. Virlanie wants to give these children a better home, one where they can feel loved, secured, and cared for. The organization believes that this is an important step in the child’s future development.
Without love and guidance from a loving family, children may end up in a misguided path. To support the child’s journey to a better life, Virlanie has eight homes designed according to the psychological development and age groups of children. The homes, grouped into three clusters, provide a small and organized setting that is designed to resemble a family. Each home has house parents, aunts, cooks, and laundry personnel, as well as a registered and licensed social worker to assess and monitor the child’s situation. Virlanie and the social workers develop the most suitable care plan for each child, and they go beyond the standard of DSWD in terms of social case management. This sets apart Virlanie from other organizations, as they ensure the holistic development of children, making sure they get the best care in terms of psychological, health, educational, and social integration services.
Currently, Virlanie’s open homes are the Babies and Toddlers Home for children 0-4 years old, the Marco Polo Care Center for children 4-6 years old, Tanglaw Home and Masaya Home for children aged 7-12 years old, Elizabeth Home for girls from physically and/or sexually abusive situations, Ella Yallah Home for teenage boys, Aime Home for children with special needs, and the Jade Home in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Virlanie’s previous homes, Mother & Child Home and Toddler Home, closed to give way to Babies and Toddlers Home, which was created in February 2013. Aime Home, a home for children with special needs, was opened in 2006 to address the increasing number brought to Virlanie, including those that came from the Reception and Action Center (RAC) of Manila or other institutions.
Virlanie Foundation has already helped more than 17,000 children since 1992 but with your help, more children can get the support they need. Virlanie accepts donations through PayPal, UnionBank’s UShare, or a bank transfer to their BDO account. To know more about Virlanie Foundation, visit virlanie.org.