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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and everyone is getting in the spirit of giving love to their families, friends, and partners. Places will be swarmed with love and warmth this February.
While Valentine’s Day is usually celebrated by giving away chocolates, flowers, and other trinkets that will make one’s heart skip and melt, there are other ways to share love that don’t require expensive gifts–and goes beyond romantic love.
One way to show love is to be involved with Virlanie Foundation, a non-sectarian and non-profit organization that reaches out to marginalized children all over the Philippines. Virlanie supports basic needs, sponsors education, provides health services and shelter to disadvantaged kids, and empowers young adults with livelihood opportunities.
Homes Full of Love
Since its founding in 1992 by French social worker Dominique Lemay, Virlanie has helped over 22,000 children. While this is no small accomplishment, it is a sad reality that Metro Manila doesn’t run short of disadvantaged children who don’t get access to their basic needs such as regular meals and safe shelter.
With children being the core of Virlanie, the Foundation’s Residential Homes are where these kids can heal and have the chance to live a healthy and enjoyable life–a life where they can feel safe, play, make new friends, learn, and enjoy being with loving parents. By becoming a Virlanie sponsor or donor, YOU can help the foundation provide the needs of these children, and raise them in a safe and loving environment so they can develop their full potential and integrate to society.
While sponsors and donors don’t exactly get to physically raise Virlanie’s children, giving assistance and support is more than enough to propel a positive change in these kids’ lives. The combined efforts of the Virlanie Foundation and generous sponsors and donors help in providing better lives for marginalized children and families.
Safe Havens for Kids with Special Needs
Part of Virlanie’s advocacy is to cater to children with special needs. An ideal setting for special children is an environment that is safe, clean, and nurturing.
One of Virlanie’s seven Pillars, the Residential Pillar, provides loving homes and loving house parents to abandoned, abused, and disadvantaged children. The Foundation’s Residential Program dedicated to serve children with special needs is Jade Home in Dasmariñas, Cavite, which provides a conducive environment for the therapeutic treatments and honing of skills of children with special needs.
Another residential dwelling that is designed to cater to kids with special needs is Aime Home in Makati City. Aime was launched in 2006 and takes care of children who have developmental issues (Down Syndrome, ADHD, FASD), intellectual disabilities, and mental health issues.
Building homes that cater to children with special needs sends a message that we can make everywhere a safe and loving place for these kids.
Empowering the Abused and Abandoned
Virlanie Foundation also caters to teenagers and young adults. Children growing up in abusive environments and being abandoned by their parents inevitably suffer trauma that is detrimental to their development and overall well-being.
The Elizabeth Home, founded in April 1993, caters to young women who have suffered from physical and/or sexual abuse in their own homes. The home has sheltered women aged 13 to 18 years old and has helped them cope with the trauma through individual and group therapy.
The Ella Yallah Home, on the other hand, was founded to accommodate young men. As of 2018, it houses 21 boys aged 13 to 18 years old who undergo trainings that teach them to support themselves when they will leave Virlanie. Each tenant is supervised by three house parents and one social worker. The young men learn to develop their self-esteem and rediscover their purpose in society.
In each Virlanie home, house parents show that, despite not being related by blood to the children, they can nurture each child’s development and care for their overall health.
Nurturing a Child-Safe World
Children are the future leaders that will determine the direction of the Philippines. It is crucial to foster an environment where they can freely grow, discover themselves, and foster responsible stewardship for their future.
A world that caters to the needs, health, and safety of children also helps them develop meaningful connections and relationships with other people.
Sharing is Caring
This Valentine’s Day, you can share love to children housed in Virlanie’s Residential Homes. The season of hearts is an ideal way to celebrate love of all kinds, specifically for families and single individuals who wish to spread love beyond teddy bears and flowers.
Virlanie’s shelters are in need of household items, kitchen utensils and appliances, and furniture to help improve the living-environment of their residents. You may also donate to Virlanie Foundation’s accounts to help in empowering our future leaders, and aid them in rediscovering their purpose and existence. Visit lamudi.com.ph/cherish-a-home-fundraising for more information.