For some people, home is a safe place. It’s the sanctuary they turn to whenever life gets bleak or overwhelming. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for everyone. An organization that’s familiar with this is Virlanie Foundation. Working with children in street situations for over 27 years, they’ve come across harsh truths about dysfunctional homes, where abuse and neglect are experienced by children because of their families’ poverty.
Committed to redefining what a home is for these children, the private, non-sectarian group has partnered with Lamudi in providing shelters where kids can feel secured, loved, and taken care of. The collaboration has since built eight homes, housing 33 house parents, 11 social workers, and hundreds of children. The residences are divided into three clusters, catering to different ages and profiles of kids.
For Young Children
For babies and young children, Cluster 1 has four homes: the Babies and Toddlers Home, Marco Polo Care Center, Masaya Home, and Tanglaw Home. All of them are in Makati City.
The Babies and Toddlers Home has taken in 36 boys and girls aged zero to three since 2018. Founded seven years ago, the home has been providing holistic care to children, monitoring their health, educating them through play, and preparing them to be integrated into a permanent family. The staff is composed of one lead house parent, two social workers, 11 caregivers, and a house helper. Together, they create a loving atmosphere for kids.
Meanwhile, preschool-aged children are in the Marco Polo Care Center. In 2018, the residence was serving 32 boys and girls. Similar to the Babies and Toddlers Home, health, education, and integration are priorities in the care program. The children go through regular medical and dental check-ups, as well as individual and group therapy to help them process the trauma experienced at their former homes.
For their education, they go to Virlanie Magellan Learning Center, where teachers address academic difficulties. SiBuHi Center for Creativity and Development also enables kids to express themselves through sports, visual, creative, and performing arts.
Cluster 1’s two other residences are dedicated for kids aged 7-12 years old. Twenty-nine boys and girls in Masaya Home live with four house parents. On the other hand, Tanglaw Home houses twenty-seven kids.
For Young Adults
Virlanie Foundation also provides shelters for young adults in their Cluster 2 residences. Twenty-two women aged 13 to 18 live in Elizabeth Home, including two house parents and a social worker. Most of them experienced physical or sexual abuse or exploitation, which is why psychologists monitor their psychosocial health regularly. The young women go through the Independent Living Program (ILP), where they learn how they can support themselves on their own outside the center. The curriculum involves mentoring and livelihood skills and vocational training.
The other residence, the Ella Yallah Home, exclusively accommodates young men. The home is led by three house parents and a social worker. The teenage boys in Ella Yallah also undergo ILP. Aside from preparing them for independent life, the staff helps improve their self-esteem and discover their role in society.
For Kids with Special Needs
Kids with special needs find a special place in Virlanie. Two homes in Cluster 3 accommodate these children, the Aime Home and the Jade Home. Both residences have occupational therapists helping the kids develop cognitive, motor, and physical skills. They are also being monitored by specialist doctors to check the children’s overall health.
The education in Cluster 3 follows the Special Education Program, where kids would exercise cognitive abilities and understand sense of responsibility. Both Aime Home and Jade Home have two SPED instructors teaching them basic reading and counting, social skills, and independence development.
Aime Home opened its doors in 2006, answering to the growing number of children brought to the foundation. Most of these kids come from families that do not have the knowledge and resources to raise them. Meanwhile, Jade Home, which was initially based in Makati, moved to Cavite to give way to Aime and the increasing number of kids brought in. Situated now in the countryside, the residence provides enough room for therapeutic exercises and gardening activities.
Children deserve a loving, safe home. Unfortunately, terrible things may happen in the very space that’s supposed to care for them. Nonetheless, it’s possible to turn things around and redefine home for kids who suffered abuse and neglect. Join Virlanie Foundation in its advocacy to transform spaces into homes. Help them create a loving family atmosphere in these clusters of residence. For more information, visit Cherish-A-Home-Fundraising.