Since its grass-roots beginnings in 1993, HOPE worldwide Philippines has greatly contributed to the collective effort to prevent, identify and handle child sexual abuse cases, having implemented a model of child welfare and protection system in the Philippines, integrating community-based programs and services along with the prevention, identification and treatment of child sexual abuse. This system of child welfare touches over 100,000 poor children and youth annually and maintains a sustained attack and safety net while tackling long-long term problems that perpetuate child abuse and neglect.
One out of 3 Filipino children is a victim of abuse, 30-40% of which is sexual abuse. The country’s child welfare systems are overwhelmed by the needs of abused children and cannot accommodate the growing number of cases requiring residential care and protection. Likewise, only few residential institutions employ a holistic and comprehensive program for the treatment, recovery, and reintegration of abuse children. To meet this need, HOPE worldwide Philippines established a Treatment and Residential Facility for abused children in a 2.2-hectare lot in Laguna on 2005.
The Center of HOPE-Laguna provides treatment and residential care for sexually abused and neglected children. The center is a therapeutic place for children equipped with school and multi-purpose building, administration offices, playgrounds, gazebo, huge space for outdoor activities and five (5) residential cottages. Up to 10 children can live in one house together with the children’s house parents and social worker staff who provide the love and emotional support, including spiritual formation and academic guidance on-site, the children need. The treatment intervention of each child is being handled by a multi-disciplinary case management team offering a wide range of skills, including psychological and psychiatric assessment.
Karen (12 years old) and Julia (11 years old), were abandoned by their biological mother while they were four (4) and three (3) years of age, respectively. In their mother’s absence, they had given their trust and love to their father who, later on, sexually abused them for many years. The children were rescued from their house and were admitted to the Center of HOPE-Laguna. The perpetrator was charged of his crime and was put to jail where he eventually died. Karen and Julia stayed in the center for a couple of years and became part of HOPE worldwide Independent Living Program where teen age girls live together in one house under a normal community setting to learn independence.
According to Karen, “life without a family is difficult and sad, but this will not stop me from reaching my dreams. I am thankful that we can study and go to school. I will study hard because I want to graduate and get a good job in the future.”
Our goal is to ensure that abused children receive protection, justice, and lessen the trauma of abuse, and find a loving and supportive family where they can interact constructively and developed a sense of hope which encourages each child to succeed in a normal life community setting. Currently, two residential cottages which can accommodate 20 beneficiaries are in need of financial support for the next project cycle of operation. Presently, 12 children are living in the two cottages. The admission of additional clients will continue upon securing the funds needed for January to December 2017. The monthly cost per beneficiary is P10,000 which will provide each child a safe place to live and will cover other costs such as education, medical care, food, legal case management, psychological treatment, recreation, and other basic services.