Atong Pinuy-anan, a home for abandoned and street children

PERSONAL growth starts when we’re young. But how can one develop to one's full potential when you are stripped even of your basic rights?

Take street children, for instance. In Davao Region, thousands of children live in high-risk situations where violence, pollution, and crimes are evident. These street children lack access to care and protection, education, proper nutrition and sanitation facilities, the essentials.

At Purok Takway, Barangay Nanyo in Panabo City, Davao del Norte, Mariphil Children’s Village "Atong Pinuy-Anan Inc.," a registered and accredited child care facility has been providing children without parental care a new home and the chance for a secure and brighter future since 2012.

The target groups are orphaned, neglected, abandoned children. Many of them are victims of maltreatment and abuse and the majority had to survive on the streets.

“The Children’s Village was initiated as a Philippine-German partnership project with a shared investment from the German Government. Within the last four years, we could help already 120 children in a residential-based setting and temporary shelter, as well as address more than 1000 children in outreach and community-based programs. At the moment, the Village provides 54 kids a home but our vision is to be able to help many more children in need,” Nadja Gloeckler, Mariphil Fundraising and Marketing in-charge, said in an interview with SunStar Davao.

She said that for almost four years, even though it takes some time for the children to be able to trust again and let some emotional wounds heal, they have seen a huge development for the street children who were battered, abused and deprived. Some, she said, were turned out to be honor students and leaders.

The two-hectare facility has eight residential houses, which operate as individual family units with a “Mama” per house. The House mamas are supported by three social workers. A psychologist, nurse, and staff complete the multi-professional team that works based on intervention plans to promote the development of the children.

“We give these children who are entrusted to our care a chance to grow up in an alternative family setting and to experience love and a sense of belongingness,” she said, adding that all 54 children enjoy a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment with psycho-social support and access to holistic education.

“It is very difficult to accept that still a significant number of minors are scattered in the streets, homeless and unattended, while the Children’s Village could actually accommodate a total of 80-100 kids if more funds would be available,” Gloeckler said.

She said that to sustain 80-100 children, around P8 million is needed annually to cover the Village’s expenses that offers comprehensive and professional services.

At present, Mariphil is funded 90 percent by German private individuals and firms and around 10 percent from Filipino private companies and personalities.

With this, the child care facility came up with different fundraising programs to sustain the Village’s operations.

"Share the Love T-shirt" Project

Mariphil, in partnership with Reefside Artworks Inc., launched last December 18, 2016 a fundraising project dubbed as "Share the Love T-shirt" Project.

It was supported by the Presidential son, Sebastian "Baste" Duterte.

The project offers "Share the Love T-shirts" made and printed by Reefside for only P480 per shirt available in maroon and green colors of all sizes.

“Reefside partners with us because they want to share to the children. The net profit will go directly to the Village,” she said.

Just weeks after it was launched, over 100 shirts were already sold.

“The project is a chance, not just to get funding but also to raise awareness, increase the network and find people who would like to help and donate regularly. What we are trying to achieve is to encourage Filipino people to help Filipino kids,” said Gabby Sibala, husband of Gloeckler who is also helping her in the Village.

Apart from the project, the Village also has an option for would-be donors -- the Regular Sponsorship Program.

Under the program, donors can share any amount desired on a regular bases: monthly, quarterly or yearly.

“This is the best and most effective way to help because all regular donations pooled together, add up to provide a steady and predictable source of funds that are necessary for us to sustain continuous and reliable care for children,” she said.

With regular donations, she said, chances of catering a bigger number of children in need can be realized.

“Real impact can be achieved with sustainability,” she added.

2017 onward

This 2017, Mariphil Children’s Village aims to ask for support from the Philippine government.

“The German community has invested a lot to help Filipino street kids, hopefully the Philippines will also do the same. We are hoping we can get the support from the government and the private sector” she said.

For those interested to extend help and assistance, email nadja.gloeckler@mariphil.com or call and text 09497490309.
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