Designing Care for Children to Fit Their Needs
20 July 2022
It was through a community immersion of five sociology students at Light and Life Bible College that this ministry was born. The ministry first responded to the street children of Butuan city, and after a few years of operation, children expressed leaving the street life, thus this home for boys was opened. It was a very simple beginning with only five boys and an indigenous house.
How the Community Ministry Became a Reality
In 2010 I attended a module on Trauma and Crisis Care from CCTI. The topics on the Cycle of Violence and the STOP model greatly impacted my life. Through the class, God showed me a vision of a community care center; different from a typical orphanage. This vision and the dream in my heart and mind I shared with my staff and asked them to join me in prayer. After years of praying the center started to be a reality, the land was purchased and Homes for Boys and Girls were constructed. As the years went by, there were more expansions. Aside from the residential program, a community-based, child-sponsorship program was also born.
But Challenges Were Present In the Early Day of the Community Ministry
As children were endorsed and admitted to the center, pertinent papers like birth certificates, health, school records, and other identity-related documents were insufficient if not completely absent. This led to a very challenging situation for our staff to establish the child’s identity. This led us to a decision that whoever endorses a child must have the pertinent documents as a requisite for admission.
Another challenging situation is the continuance of the court trial because most of the time, the relatives of the abused child would ask the mother or adult who filed the case to withdraw or not to appear during court proceedings. This scenario would lead to the dismissal of the case. In situations like this, a conference with the family and the child was made to ascertain that they would never give up their pursuit of justice.
But Why Did These Children Need Placement?
Abandonment, extreme poverty, and being abused, and orphaned are the reasons children need placement. As children were admitted into the center, the workers found that they needed skills according to the children’s needs. These include counseling, awareness of laws related to children, and the means to provide for the total needs of the children.
How Does the Community Ministry Help These Children That Needed Placement?
Knowing the need for sustainability, the center started Income Generating Projects to help support the needs of the center. The Income Generating Project hit two birds with one stone because children are acquiring skills as they engage in the Income Generating Project and at the same time generating income for the center.
About the author:
Rev. Teresita S. Chua; President- Philippine Social Ministries,Inc.; Administrator- Philippine General Conference of the Methodist Church