In a country like the Philippines, which is economically growing fast, the rights of children and youth from the poorest families are often not respected. The number of abandoned, abused, exploited, neglected children and youth living in the streets can only be estimated. Manila is one of the places in the Philippines with the most children who work on the streets but do not live there, make their homes on the street or are abandoned (have no family ties and are entirely on their own). Needless to say, these young people face numerous health hazards (HIV/AIDS, prostitution and sexual exploitation, drugs) and have no access to their most basic rights. Their situation has become even more dangerous under the new president Rodrigo Duterte, with the risk of greater sanctions and arrest, less rights, and even the threat of extrajudicial killing.
The Virlanie Foundation was established in 1992 by the French social worker Dominique Lemay. Through its various programs and services, the Foundation strives to build a better future for children in need of special protection – those who are among the poorest of the poor, the abandoned, abused, exploited, neglected, and orphaned. Its vision is to protect and empower these children by (1) taking care of them towards independence-enabling; and (2) advocating and lobbying for their rights. Virlanie has various programs to respond to the needs of these children and youth: 1. For young people living in the Foundation (Residential Programs provide children and youth with a home), 2. For young people living in the streets (Outreach Programs provide health care, education, housing assistance, etc. and are composed of street-based and community-based programs). 3. Support Services complement the Residential and Outreach Programs and help all children and youth with their academics, psychological and emotional well-being, as well as personal development. 4. Additional Exit Support Programs are designed to support children and young adults to return to their families or live independently when they are old enough and capable.
EMpower’s 2nd grant will enable the Virlanie Foundation to strengthen the Independent Living Program (ILP), which will equip 52 at-risk youth and young adults from Manila with the necessary skills, attitudes and knowledge to become independent and socially responsible young adults once leaving the Foundation. A smaller group of young adults who will exit the residential care or go to full independence next year will receive specific job readiness training and job exposure. This grant will also built capacities of core ILP staff.
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.