FEAR is a vital response to physical or emotional danger. Fears could be triggered by a trauma or bad experience. If the fear lasts six months or more, it could be a phobia, a type of anxiety disorder. Phobia is defined as an extreme or irrational fear of or an aversion to something.
There are many types of phobias. Some common ones are acrophobia (fear of heights); arachnophobia (fear of spiders); cynophobia (fear of dogs); claustrophobia (fear of small spaces) and so many more. Each person has his or her own fears. Butwe can rise above our fears.
Hermie Luz Alimon, a senior Communications student of University of St. La Salle, conceived a project to promote the plight of the abandoned and neglected children. Her advocacy centers on building the self-esteem of these broken young souls due to the catastrophes of life by using art as a freedom of expression.
Project Rise Above Fear, Overcoming Orphanhood aims to help the orphaned and neglected children overcome the fear of the past, which will help increase their self-confidence by enhancing their God-given talents.
One of her activities was an event consisting of a symposium, spiritual strengthening, and recital for the children of Home of Hope. This columnist was invited to share about the plight of these children.
Children are defined as those who are 18 years old and below; and also children who has special medical needs.
The Los Angeles Times in 2016 reported that there are 1.8 million neglected and abandoned children in the Philippines.
Neglected children are those whose basic needs are unattended, those who are physically malnourished, poorly dressed, and those without a home. They are also usually maltreated or abused – sexually (raped or molested), emotionally (forced to beg in the streets) and physically (spanked or punched). Abandoned children are those who were left by their parents, therefore, with no parental care.
Sadly, every second of every day, a child is abused. It has been made known that there are about 25,000 cases of child abuse in a year.
Philippines is number one in child trafficking in Asia. There are six million malnourished children – one of five children is malnourished in Western Visayas. There are about 1.6 million street children and 60,000 are into child prostitution.
A child who experiences hunger, abuse, and hard labor can develop a lot of fears and low self-esteem.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is the executive department of the Philippine Government responsible for the protection of the social welfare of rights of Filipinos and to promote social development – which of course, includes the children.
There are the rights of the child:
• Right to be born – to have a name and nationality
• Right to be free – to have a family who will take care of them
• Right to have a good education
• Right to develop to his or her full potentials
• Right to have enough food, shelter, a healthy and good health and proper nutrition
• Right to be safe from violence, exploitation and neglect
• Right to be protected, defended and assisted by the government
There are also laws protecting the children:
• Philippine Constitution
• Child and Youth Welfare Code, Presidential Decree 603, 1979
• Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, Republic Act 7610 (1972)
• Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, Republic Act 7877
• Anti-Rape Law of 1997, Republic Act 8353
• Relevant Provisions from the Revised Penal Code Act No. 3815 (1930)
• Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 , Republic Act 9208
• Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004, Republic Act 9263
• Anti-Bulling Act of 2013 – Republic Act 10627
Children who have experienced being abandoned or neglected, know that there is always HOPE. There are people who are willing to help you. You can rise above all your fears. You are loved.
As children rights champions and concerned citizens, we must do our part in protecting the Filipino children who are the future of our country.
There are many ways to help them. Visit an orphanage for the disadvantaged children. There are a number of shelters here in Negros Occidental – Kalipay Negrense Foundation, Home of Hope, Holy Infant, Holy Family, Señor Sto. Niño Orphanage, Girls Home, Boys Home, Missionaries of Charity, Safec, and some more. You can sponsor a child’s education, you can volunteer to spend time with them, you can celebrate your birthday with the children – give back, pay it forward. They need you.
Ms. Alimon’s project is one way to promote the dilemma of these children. Kudos to her! We can do it too!