Heaven knows how they are miserable now

In the aftermath of the strongest typhoon ever hiting the Philippines, we would probably find more and more children and their families living in the streets again. For those who luckily survived this calamity, the path to a brighter future is not already over ... warm thoughts to the filipino nation during that time of disaster suffering. We haven't forgotten you !

Indeed, the SDC children have been benefiting from many improvements. In addition to maintaining the activities that we have already implemented, we have helped to renovate and equip a dormitory which can now accommodate more healthily more or less twenty children (the youngest in priority) . We build colorful concrete beds and benches, made 9 twin bed size washable foam mattresses, put mosquitos screens and doors and finally repainted all the dorm in friendly colors coming along with a beautiful mural painting. That latters would surely give them more energy to develop theirs ideas to how to ponder their future. This dynamic support and active solidarity, thanks to the help of the City of Bacolod and local private partners , the center has been equipped with seven brand new showers and led lights in every rooms powered by panels solar. However, it remains further efforts and resources to be provided in order to complete the rehabilitation of the remaining damaged dormitories, especially the one for girls, and the creation of a kitchen and dining room. According to the future donations that we can raise, we would also like to allow a steady supply of hygiene and health items to the children, medical check-up and continue the educational and physical sports activities which will have undoubtedly a very positive impact on their behaviors and values acceptance.

New dormitory for having seet dreams !

Doc, I don't feel well but I want to go school !

Can I go and wash my room ?

I can no longer have a house ... and a street


Positive feedback on CHR's involvement at the SDC

Since early August, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Bacolod City has been providing weekly services to the Social Development Center and the children taken into protective custody. This public organization, introduced in an article last month, has partnered with SDC and HOST-NGO. The CHR aims at raising awareness on children's rights and ensuring that these rights are fully observed within the center.

Following the first two months of this partnership, we have conducted a quick overview of the activities led by Mr. Romeo Baldevarona, CHR supervisor, and Mrs. Gina Alli, investigator and CHR officer. The first sessions have been dedicated to raising awareness on their own rights for every child catered at the SDC. The objective is to inform the children on their right for protection, especially in case of child abuse or exploitation committed by adults. The issue of child labour and child trafficking was also discussed by the CHR members and the children at the SDC. These activities showed to be perfectly adapted to the youth's needs and challenges as many of them have a disadvantaged social background and have been facing such issues. Our young beneficiaries have been carefully listening to the various testimonies and advice, and even shared their own experience with the other participants.

The CHR has also been conducting two sessions on individualized legal support targeting the children in conflict with the law who are dealing with a court case. This activity aims at informing each targeted child on his/her particular situation, rights and duties, so that he/she understands the issues at stake and take the necessary decisions to fulfill his/her own interests. As of today, a dozen young people have been supported thanks to the CHR's useful explanation and advice, in addition to the daily follow-up provided by SDC's social workers.

The coming activities will be dedicated to carry on this awareness project while working on another important topic: staff training on issues related to child-rights protection. Seminars will be held by the CHR members to help SDC's team to offer better services to answer the specific needs of their young beneficiaries and reduce the risk of child abuse.


Profile of our social work trainees at the SDC

Katherine Joyce, Lyka and Sherrish are three students, aged around 20 years old, registered in 3rd year of social work at the University of UNO-R in Bacolod City. They are currently undergoing a practical internship within the SDC. Involved into the center four half-day sessions per week over a whole semester, they follow the daily life of the most disadvantaged children of Bacolod City. «Our mission aims at assisting the SDC staff to empower the vulnerable children and the children in conflict with the law through case work activities. Our goal is to promote their social functioning as individuals, to instil good values to them, and render other activities, such as educational film showing followed with debates, group dynamics, lectures on self-discipline, etc.».

They shared that they felt a bit nervous at the beginning of their internship though they were fully confident about their mission objectives. «We had already visited the SDC with our teacher and our classmates, and we had the opportunity to exchange with the former trainees and share their experience. That is why we were familiar with this new work environment and we were impatient to start implementing on the field what we learned at the university.»

The young beneficiaries of the SDC are often marginalized due to their fragile social situation (children living and/or working in the streets) or their problems facing the law (young delinquents). The lack of information related to their specific issues often leads to the community members feeling frightened by them. Katherine Joyce, Lika and Sherrish know the children now and they feel empathy and concerns for them. «We try to help them solving their daily issues and improving their vision of life. The main purpose of the SDC is to fulfill the basic needs of the children in order to offer them a better life», they explained. They added that «most of the children at the center lack of support and guidance from their family; some of them are even deprived of it. It is then essential for us to address these needs the best we can, and build a relationship based on trust and honesty with them. In addition, we have to work with the families in order to create or improve the family bonds, which the children need to develop themselves ».

When asked on their motive to study social work, the students explained that they want to help the people in need and empower them, as it is challenging and exciting. They also want to provide good services and programs for the welfare of the communities. The mission of these young and dynamic women at the SDC is a real illustration of the achievements generated by the partnership with UNO-R. 

HOST-NGO team wishes them success and fulfillment in their future professional life!


A new step toward the rehabilitation of the SDC

The rehabilitation of the SDC, which was planned by the city of Bacolod earlier this year, has been ongoing over the past few months. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of SDC's Center Head, the city engineers and Virlanie-Bacolod team, the achievements will help lifting up the living conditions of the children by improving the level of comfort and hygiene within the SDC.

Over the past few weeks, the electrical system has been repaired. Solar panels have been installed to supply part of the daily needs of the center. The comfort rooms have been unclogged and repaired, and new showers are ready to be used. The shower room has been built outside the dormitory building in order to facilitate its monitoring and maintenance. All year long the sun is rising down quite early in the Philippines and the lighting will clearly change the dark and long evenings.

New shower rooms at the SDC

Following these improvements, the safety level has been reinforced within the whole compound and especially in the dormitory. The mission of SDC's house parents during night shifts has been facilitated for the direct benefit of the most vulnerable children. An other direct outcome is the sustainable implementation of the aïkido activity program, led by volunteers from Warriors for Peace, a local NGO.  The sessions are now being held every Thursday evening. The activity room, which is located on the first floor of the dormitory building, has been renovated last May and is now equiped with electricity. It is the perfect environment to hold aikido activities and enable the self-development of each child participating into this program.

SDC's new activity room
This crucial step toward a successful rehabilitation of the SDC follows the ongoing actions which have been implemented by Virlanie-Bacolod team for two years already. Every accomplishment will help the SDC complying with the environmental requirements which apply to the Philippines. 

As a consequence, it will help reaching a higher level of safety and well-being for our disadvantaged children in Bacolod City!


Soon: a documentary showing our projects in the Philippines

From July 8th to 15th, our team warmly welcomed Victorien and Virginie over a week in Bacolod City. Our French friends wished to contribute to our development program to show their interest and consideration to the issues addressed by HOST-NGO in the Philippines. Their visit emphasizes the spirit of our organization, encouraging everyone to join and apply his/her own “TOUCH” by sharing with us passion, knowledge and/or skills.

The mission of Victorien and Virginie aimed at designing a video documentary dedicated to illustrate the projects implemented in the Philippines and promote our activities to the public. HOST-NGO would like to foster the involvement of mew volunteers and also introduce our work environment and our beneficiaries to current and potential partners and donors.

Several shooting sessions were organized throughout Bacolod City and at the Social Development Center, to show the life and issues encountered by the children currently or previously taken in care by  the SDC. This video will present the local environment and constraints, especially the challenges faced by the street children. Meanwhile, it will allow to testify the progress made to help the vulnerable children, mainly thanks to the various actions implemented in collaboration with our local partners. Or course, we also want to share with the public the remaining milestones in a realistic but optimistic way!

Victorien V. is a French young and promising film director. He already proved his talent in two short films made in Burkina Faso, which have both been nominated in 2012 and 2013 Cannes Film Festival (Short Film Corner). His first movie, Living in Tengrela, has received the jury's “Coup de Coeur” in 2012. Virginie, his life partner, works as a first assistant. She shares her artistic fine taste and sensitivity to let this new challenge be a full success, besides her life partner, Victorien.

Our team and beneficiaries would like to give a warm “SALAMAT” (thank you) to Victorien and Virginie for their involvement and generosity. We hope to be able to continue our adventure with their loyal support. HOST-NGO would like to wish them a great journey and the achievement of their respective projects!


Education & learning to build a sustainable future for the youth

9:30am at the SDC: a group of children is heading to the classroom with their individual school pack (notebook, pen and paper). After eating their breakfast, they get ready to participate into the educational program proposed within the frame of the Alternative Learning System (ALS), launched last January at the SDC.

Three half-days a week, the children taken in care by the SDC over a long period of time, have access to specific learning modules: language (Tagalog), mathematics, history, etc. Two teachers assigned by the Department of Education (DepEd), Jayson and Carlito, are preparing the children to take an exam next October. The objective is to ensure the continuity of education for every child, in order to facilitate his/her reintegration into the formal education system upon exiting the SDC, and to ensure his/her future professional success. Some of the young participants will soon be transferred to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY), located on Guimaras Island, and run by the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD). They will be able to continue the educational program at the RRCY, and enhance the knowledge gained at the SDC.

In order to maximize their chance to pass the future exam, the SDC local team is organizing study time sessions, three times a week, to complete the ALS program. The house parents are responsible to help the children reviewing the topics taught by the teachers from DepEd. “There are only 14 weeks left before the exam”, Jayson told the children this week, raising their concern on the upcoming challenge. Building a sustainable future is a tricky process for our young beneficiaries, who are now on the way to becoming active and responsible citizens, thanks to the Alternative Learning System at the SDC!


Bacolod City’s legal authorities to care for SDC’s children

Last June, the SDC welcomed Hon. Judge Anita Chua and her staff for a short visit. Judge Chua is one of the three judges who are in charge of handling the court cases of the children in conflict with the law (CICL) at Bacolod City’s Hall of Justice. Since juvenile detention was separated from adult detention a few years ago, Judge Chua has been witnessing the evolution and progress done at the SDC as well as the difficulties encountered. This visit was the opportunity to assess the living conditions of the kids on a daily basis, and the range of services and activities offered to them by the center and by our partners.

Children in conflict with the law usually face the Court every two months for judicial proceedings related to petty crimes. Judge Chua’s initiative to meet with them in their current living environment shows her will to consider them in the early stage of becoming individuals who need guidance, follow-up and support, definitely not a life sentence. Judge Chua acknowledged there the efforts generated by the center to provide the children with activities promoting education and individual development, i.e. a critical prerequisite to the success of their future rehabilitation.

To celebrate her visit, the children organized a welcoming show with the creative support of the three current social worker trainees from UNO-R, one of our main partners. The ‘Music Day’ atmosphere was re-created by the children who entertained the Judge and her staff with a joyful choreographed dance, and who were warmly thanked by the audience for this sweet attention.

There are currently around 10 children in conflict with the law who are waiting for the proceeding of their court case in order to be enrolled into a rehabilitation program. One of our main objectives is to provide these kids with services aiming at starting their rehabilitation process via education, training, listening and guidance, as well as empowerment, right upon their admission at the SDC.


Learning good hygiene & sanitation at SDC

Within the frame of our rehabilitation project conducted at the Social Development Center (SDC) in Bacolod, our team has been devoting increasing time and energy to help the local staff building a safer and healthier environment and a particular focus has been set on nutrition and sanitation. In partnership with the City of Bacolod, toilets and shower rooms are now under construction at the center. Thanks to the support of Fondation Ensemble and HOST-NGO’s fundraising campaigns, the dorms will also soon be renovated and the kitchen should follow. As part of our waste and water management program implemented at the SDC, Annie D., HOST-NGO volunteer specialized in education and childcare, has been conducting a mission of two weeks in June, which emphasized on addressing the children’s hygiene issues and offering training support to the local team around four topics: hygiene & sanitation awareness, education & social development, waste management, as well as team building and training.

 Related to hygiene and sanitation, the overall objective was to encourage a healthy daily behaviour to prevent common diseases (such as food-borne and water-borne diseases). Several activities were organized by our volunteer along with the three UNO-R social workers trainees and the SDC team on that topic. The design of posters, games, drawings, and other recreational activities helped raising the children’s awareness on the importance of personal hygiene and sanitizing. 

To complement this thematic, another set of activities was proposed to the children on issues related to waste management and recycling: what are the different types of waste, how can we collect and dispose of waste, how can we reuse waste, etc. The children designed posters representing the different forms of organic and non-organic waste and the processing and sorting of these waste items. For instance, the children learnt what kind of waste can be transformed as fertilizer and can be used in the garden.

Finally, our HOST-NGO volunteer focused on providing the street children, who are SDC’s most vulnerable children in terms of lack of education and childcare, with educational activities dedicated to promote their individual development. Activities such as origami, drawing and writing, collective games aimed at enhancing their knowledge and social skills while opening their mind and curiosity.

It was overall a great success especially for the street children, often the youngest of the center, who really enjoyed Annie’s daily visits over these past two weeks. She devoted great energy and positive attitude, which was much appreciated by SDC’s staff and our own team!

HOST-NGO wishes to welcome many more committed volunteers, who can involve with us on their own time, sharing their own skills. Feel free to contact our team if you wish to participate into this exciting adventure! contact@host-ngo.org


What’s new at the SDC?

Thanks to ALL OF YOU, our amazing friends and supporters, we raised over US$6,000 during Global Giving Open Challenge last April. However our fundraising campaign is not over yet as our final goal is to reach US$20,000 in order to successfully support the street children in Bacolod City, Philippines.

Since the beginning of the year, we have been able to design and conduct educational and recreational activities, which are vital for the individual development of these kids. At the Social Development Center (SDC), we have facilitated the launching of the Alternative Learning System (ALS). It aims at providing out-of-school children with basic education in order to enable their future reintegration into the formal education system. Besides, tutoring sessions, film and documentary showing are completing the ALS program. A comprehensive vocational training & lifeskills program has also been designed and offers the children various activities such as: macramé, cooking/food processing, organic gardening, mats making, etc. Art, music and dance therapy, aikido and other sports activities have been introduced and/or reinforced to specifically promote the individual physical and emotional development of the kids. In addition, psychology support is provided to enhance the children's creativity, cooperation and thinking skills, helping on their social and emotional concerns, regaining their self-esteem and facilitating their social integration, teaching them about their social roles and responsibilities, and developing coping skills.

Our team has been devoting time and energy to help the local staff building a safer and healthier environment and a particular focus has been set on nutrition and sanitation. In collaboration with the city authorities, toilets and shower rooms are under construction at the SDC, while the dorms will soon be renovated, along with the kitchen. A waste and water management program is being designed to allow better sanitation conditions and prevent the common diseases affecting the children in the Philippines. An activity room has also been renovated at the center and it is a perfect match for aikido practice as it requires a calm and remote setting.

As part of our specific program to help the street children, a new HOST-NGO volunteer will be conducting this month a mission of two weeks emphasizing on answering these kids’ needs and offering training and support to the team on-field. The mission objectives will include four thematics: hygiene & sanitation awareness, education & social development, waste management, as well as team building and training.

June 12th, 2013: Global Giving Bonus Day

Global Giving is launching a Partner Rewards Bonus Day this Wednesday, June 12th. Online donations of up to $1,000 per donor, made to our project “Remove 500 Filipino children from the streets”, will be matched 30% starting at 9:00 am EDT (3:00 pm in France) on June 12th and ending at 11:59 pm on the same day (5:00 am on June, 13th in France).
If you wish to support our project dedicated to the street children, you can donate via the following link: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/remove-500-children-from-the-streets-in-philippines
Global Giving will be matching $0.30 each and every dollar donated online during that timeframe. For instance, a donation of $100 will be raised to $130 by Global Giving… So do not hesitate to take advantage of this Bonus Day to help the disadvantaged children in the Philippines!

HOST-NGO team and beneficiaries would like to warmly thank you in advance for your generous and loyal support!


Bringing good vibes to the SDC!

Our friend and artist, Kalayo (“fire” in Hiligaynon, one of the local dialects spoken in the Philippines), offered to share his positive energy to help the children to express themselves at the SDC. His goal was to awake their self-consciousness via various therapy methods: dancing on percussions, freestyle dancing, group dance games and relaxing inner dance.

Every activity session held by Kalayo starts with a speech to discuss on who we are and how to try to find the answers to our questions, which are hidden inside our own mind. Then on the beat of the drum the children start to release their stress, feeling more comfortable with themselves as well as with the others. Some dance games were quite appreciated by our young participants, especially whenever they had to partner to participate into mirror dancing, or whenever they were asked to imitate animals.

Kalayo is using his energy flow to introduce the children to the concept of “inner dance”, which aims at leading to an intuitive exploration of the true self through increased self-awareness of the body, the mind and the emotions, which are transformed as energy. The three workshops already held had an amazing positive impact as the children expressed one by one their feelings following the various sessions: “I feel relieved”, “I think I understood something today about my situation, how can I know more?”, “I want to keep this positive feeling!”, “It was an unexpected experience, can we do it again?”.

The good vibes were definitely spread throughout the SDC. The children even showed their deep appreciation of Kalayo’s involvement at the SDC with a warm group hug when the latter was about to leave the premises. We are sincerely hoping that Kalayo will be able to come back for further sessions at the SDC according to his busy schedule.


A success story: UNO-R students supporting SDC kids

The summer holidays have started as it is getting increasingly hot in the Philippines. The first batch of UNO-R students have now completed their volunteering mission at the SDC. Over the last six months, two social worker students, two psychology students, and a group of criminology students have put a lot of energy in supporting the SDC.

The psychology trainees spent time and devotion for the SDC children within a comprehensive support program, which included various objectives: enhancing the children's creativity, cooperation and thinking skills, helping on their social and emotional concerns, regaining their self-esteem and facilitating their social integration, teaching them about their social roles and responsibilities, and building coping skills. The skilled and passionate young social workers offered their dedicated and tailored support to the children. They worked on developing their physical and creative skills, assisting the children’s concerns regarding the status of their legal cases, helping them to reconcile with their families, and also emphasizing on the importance of education. Also, the criminology students effectively helped to improve the children's awareness on legal enforcement and childrights, to develop the children’s physical skills through sports activities, as well as to ensure the children's safety and security within the center.

A 'despedida' (local dialect for 'farewell') was organized at the end of their placement at the SDC last month. The Peace Corps volunteer, deployed at the center, along with Virlanie and HOST-NGO team, awarded the students with certificates of appreciation. This farewell party was quite emotional as the kids thanked them for their involvement and gave them plenty of hugs! The University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) also organized a recognition ceremony for their partners, which include the SDC. As a fully involved organization at the SDC, our team was requested to share with the audience the importance of the students' resources dedicated to this public center, and to explain how the People-Private-Public Partnership (PPPP) concept could benefit to every stakeholder.

Our team is now looking forward to welcome the next batch of UNO-R students in June to share new knowledge and experiences with the children and staff at the SDC.


Aikido at SDC: a healthy mind in a healthy body

Since the launching of aikido activities at SDC last August, the interest of the children has been growing despite the initial doubts raising from the local staff and some neighbouring communities. Indeed a few people have been worried that this new program would actually promote the use of violence for these young teenagers who are already invoved into a violent environment. However it rapidly proved that there would not be any negative outcome generated by this activity. Mostly used to practicing basketball, the children really appreciate this new way of getting conscious of their body while stimulating their mind. Mind setting is a major factor in the practice of this martial art which was created in the 1950's aside to ju-jitsu, kenjutsu (art of saber) and aikijujitsu (art of harmonizing energies). A healthy mind in a healthy body: these are two inseparable and complementary entities!

Week after week, around 15 children have been initiated to the various self-defense techniques taught by the team of volunteers from Warriors For Peace (http://bacolod-partners.blogspot.com/2012/08/conflict-management-prevention-with.html). The latter made sure that the children were mature enough to adopt a non-violent approach in order to prevent any risk of incident between the young people and also toward the staff.

The 12 matresses required for the practice have been funded by HOST-NGO, thanks to our generous donors. In order to educate the children on the importance to preserve the equipment at the SDC, and also as a way of reducing the costs, they have been involved into the making of the matresses. Kenneth L. Materum, volunteer from Warriors For Peace, and one of our volunteer from HOST-NGO, have run the workshops teaching to the children how to assemble the plywood slabs with the layers made of rubber and styrofoam, which were then wrapped with vinyl plastic.

The frequency of the sessions has been increased to twice a week at the SDC. The practice room has become an actual Dojo with this new equipment, which enabled to set-up the same routines as the ones to be found all over Asia and throughout the world. The practice has also been enhanced with the viewing of documentaries on aikido. This program is already successful as some of the young participants are willing to enter a Dojo when they will leave the center. Warriors For Peace is committed to help them achieve that goal. This will be an amazing reward considering the patient and passionate contribution from Warriors For Peace, which has been striving for years to promote peace and dialogue between the communities on the Negros Island.


SDC's young skilled gardeners

The dry season started a few weeks ago and the SDC's organic garden has been blooming very fast. Thanks to the involvement of some house parents, dedicated to the protection of the nature, the children are now used to take care of this garden, twice a day, and they enjoyed this activity. It is located in-between the girls dormitory and the nipa-ad, which is the traditional bamboo house that serves as a watching and meeting point in the center of the SDC courtyard. Last year, they had been planting medicinal seeds, which allow to treat minor infections. This year, the children can now eat their own eggplants, pumpkins, green beans, chilli peppers, and chinese cabbages.

Mrs. Edna Garde, the Filipina volunteer, who has been coordinating that project on a weekly basis, has definitely succeeded in her mission to raise the awareness of the children on the benefits of gardening. The children genuinely love looking at the veggies growing up. Over the last few weeks, they have been planting tomatoes on the soil previously enriched with compost. They should start producing a new compost with the support of CAPGEM, SDC's partner, whose team will provide all the equipment needed.

Upon six months of running activity, the initial objective has almost been reached: to educate and train the children of the SDC on gardening technics. The first results have already been observed. Four young boys, aged 15 to 17 years old, who were regularly involved and showed lots of attention to Edna's gardening sessions, will enter a community-based rehabilitation program with a gardening certificate signed by their teacher. They have succeeded to acquire the knowledge and skills shared by Edna, which offers them better opportunities to find a job in the future. The labor market of the Philippines remains very informal and every asset counts for a potential employer.


SDC conducts a team building seminar

On March 20th, the first team building session was held by Daniel Ress, US Peace Corps, and Kenneth Lee O. Materum, Warriors For Peace, at the New Government Center of Bacolod City. Twenty members of the SDC staff, including Mrs. Gina Castro, Center Head, along with a few volunteers from HOST-NGO and Virlanie Foundation participated into this one-day workshop.
The seminar is part of the SDC capacity building program implemented in collaboration with SDC's partners, HOST-NGO and Virlanie Foundation. Following an assessment phase, several tools have been designed to be used at the center in order to reinforce the team motivation: 'appreciation board', 'Employee of the Month award' and 'community plan'. The objective of the day was to introduce a positive culture within the SDC and to give the opportunity to each staff to express himself/herself.

The working atmosphere was friendly and the seminar started with an ice breaker, “The Boat Is Sinking”, which illustrated the necessity of team cooperation and good communication. After this activity, the appreciation board was created to underline every little thing that the team is doing on a daily basis, which contributes into making the center a better place for the kids to live and for the adults to work. The Employee of the Month award was welcomed with enthusiast by the team. Each member was involved to decide on the selection criteria, based on attendance, behavior, listening skills, commitment to work, capacity to take initiatives, etc. The discussion led to the staff agreement on the policy, voting process and type of award. Upon lunch break, the Participatory Analysis for Community Action (PACA) methodology was used to identify and list the strengths and concerns at the SDC. This participatory process resulted in community mapping, calendar, assessment of needs and priority ranking. The children's safety has been ranked as foremost priority to be addressed at the SDC.

Overall this seminar was a success and it highlighted the necessity to conduct such sessions in order to motivate and commit the staff members. Team spirit is indeed one of the most important values to be promoted to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of our support in development projects.


West Negros University supporting SDC's education program

West Negros University has a National Service Training Program in Literacy Development. As part of this program, they ran six Saturday tutoring lessons with the children of the SDC. We were happy to have 22 Teacher Education students help our residents. The children were divided into two groups, those enrolled in ALS and the younger children not enrolled in ALS. The ALS students focused on activities to supplement the ALS curriculum. The other children worked on functional literacy skills that varied according to the children’s wide-ranging abilities and academic experience.

It was very exciting to see this program not only as a welcome addition to our growing education program at the SDC, but also as a support to the building culture of learning at the SDC. The children are very eager to learn and to progress academically, and turnout at the optional tutoring sessions is always above 90%. Even after the tutors left the sessions, several of the children would keep working together to practice and teach one another skills.

It is now summer break for schools in the Philippines, so tutoring from West Negros University is on hold. However, we hope to solidify a formal partnership over the summer so that we will have tutors during both semesters next school year and in the future. This program holds great promise as a means of bolstering the ALS program and in providing basic literacy education services to the street children and other children at risk at the center, as well as in providing hands-on teaching and community outreach experience to teaching students at West Negros University.


Bacolod City to start renovating the SDC

The direct intervention of Virlanie-Bacolod and HOST-NGO at the SDC, which started early 2012, has already resulted in some improvement of the living conditions of the children sheltered at the center. The water supply has indeed been secured thanks to the building of a deep well along with the installation of a water pump.

However, the major part of the rehabilitation strategy is still on-going. The City of Bacolod has recently allocated 500,000 Pesos (about 10,000 Euros) for the most urgent renovation works: renovation of the sanitation facilities (shower and toilets), water drainage system and electricity supply (solar panel and lights for the dormitories).

The City has recently taken this budgeting decision, following the collaborative effort spent on assessing and designing the rehabilitation process by the SDC Center Head, the public engineers and Virlanie-Bacolod team earlier in 2012. The local authorities are now calling for bids with the intent of starting the construction works in March.

The children of the SDC will be able to witness the results of this community approach, which will directly benefit their well-being. Very soon, they will be able to enjoy decent sanitary conditions thanks to the new showers and toilets to be set-up for them.


The Alternative Learning System (ALS) is back!

Going to school and learning is one of the fundamental children's rights. The Republic Act 9155 and the Executive order n°356 define and institute a framework of governance for basic education in the Philippines. Today, 20 million children are enrolled in primary and secondary education, but two million will give up or fail, even though education is free in the Philippines. 1

Children present in the SDC are out of school and it can have a very negative effect on their future lives, especially for those present in the center for a long term, such as Children in Conflict with the Law who have court cases. Teachers had refused to continue teaching in the center for security, hygiene and organization reasons in 2008. The children’s lack of educative follow-up since then has made their rehabilitation much more difficult.

Following the report from the Virlanie Human Rights Coordinator and in order to satisfy their needs and rights, HOST-NGO coordinated and facilitated the return of the Alternative Learning System to the SDC. On Friday 18th of January 2013, there was a launching ceremony for ALS. Two city counselors, the Assistant Superintendant of the Department of Education and community representatives (including a Barangay Captain) were there.

Starting in February, fifteen Children in Conflict with the Law will benefit from the classes of the two teachers, Jason and Carlito. An initial test will help to identify the education background of the children, in order to adapt the classes. The program will be divided into several modules, taught according to the educational level of the child. The objectives of ALS are to develop critical thinking, build communication skills, expand one’s world vision, etc.

In order to ensure the quality of the program, HOST-NGO committed to providing the educational material necessary (crayons, drawing books, rules, scissors, etc) and the classroom furnitures (chairs, tables, and whiteboard). The school year can start!

1 http://www.unicef.org/philippines/supportunicef_9857.html