Malnourished Mel Overcomes the Odds

By John and Gela Basiwa, Manila Children’s Home

When Mel* was rescued from the streets at age nine, he was underweight and had severe health issues. Having spent years on the street with his family, he was diagnosed with primary complex disease, a precursor to tuberculosis.

Mel’s outlook was bleak. The third of four children, Mel had begged on the streets to survive since he was five years old. He and his siblings slept on the sidewalk using cardboard as a mattress and blankets for warmth. When his father couldn’t sell enough cigarettes and candy on the streets, Mel would go hungry.

Following some rough years in a government institution, where he suffered from abuse, Mel found himself several grades behind in school and without hope. That was before he came to the Manila Children’s Home (MCH).

Mel’s Turnaround

Mel had to undergo six months of treatment to keep his primary complex disease from turning into TB. With medical treatment and good nutrition, Mel’s health improved dramatically.

Mel received daily tutoring and the compassion from the MCH staff, which helped him jump from grade 1 to grade 4, an encouraging achievement. In fact, his overall progress has been remarkable.

“From the day he first stepped into the children’s home up until now, there were a lot of developments with Mel,” said Gela Basiwa, MCH co-director. “One area of great improvements is his studies. He began excelling in academics. He is full of energy and excitement.

“Mel is really good with numbers so we let him join activities that will develop his skills,” she added. “In fact, he got an award of being the ‘Best in Math’ during the Mathematics Association of the Philippines Program at his school.

“In school and even in tutorials, he is enthusiastic. He actively participates in class and joins other extra-curricular activities.

“He is also diligent in completing his school projects so his grades have improved in other subjects. The effort he exerts to do well in school is driven by his goal to receive awards at the end of the school year.

“Indeed, his hard work paid off when he finished his Grade 3 with the first honorable mention of his class. He is now in Grade 4 and works hard to achieve his goals in life,” she said.

Today Mel has garnered numerous awards at school and  believes he can help himself and his family. His dream is to become an architect someday.

ER is in the process of purchasing the MCH by May 31 to assure the boys will have a secure home for years to come. Would you consider helping us purchase the home and take more kids off the streets? To donate in the U.S., click here. To donate in Canada, click here. Please designate your gift “MCH Purchase”.

*Mel is a pseudonym to protect his privacy.