Remember your teen years? If you’re like most people, you worked really hard to figure out who you were and where you were headed – all while filled with teenage angst and confusion.
Now add to that mix that you live in a children’s home because of abandonment, abuse, neglect or a tragedy that left you as an orphan. Fortunately, you have loving caregivers, a family of brothers and your daily needs are met. However, you are still facing a massive transition by the end of high school.
That’s a heavy load. So at the Manila Children’s Home, we’re planning ahead by launching the Independent Living Program. We’ll start remodeling the third floor of the home this year to create a separate living space for five older boys. Housing these boys away from the younger boys will begin each boy’s personal right of passage.
These older boys will be given different responsibilities and expectations. They’ll experience new freedoms and increased accountability. In order to make a successful transition, they must leave behind some youthful comforts, grow their self-confidence and maturity, and learn to navigate life as an independent adult.
This is a huge life-changing event and we can’t wait to see the boys succeed!
We invite you to go on this journey with our boys in the Manila Children’s Home. Do you have a heart to help vulnerable kids? We need short- and long-term volunteers. We also need donors to help them make the transition.
Children’s Home Celebrates Five Years
(Jan 21, 2019)
It all started as a passion to help street kids in greater Manila. ER Asia staff recognized the opportunity to help the many children who were living on the streets and exposed to every sort of danger. Frequent outreaches were helpful in providing nutrition, support and encouragement.
But we wanted to provide a long-term solution.
That’s when the Manila Children’s Home (MCH) was born. With the support of donors and volunteers, ER rented a house for 10 MCH boys and eventually purchased it in a supportive community in Muntinlupa City. Thus far, 19 boys, mostly street kids, have stayed in the loving home, with nine being reunited with their families, one being adopted and nine more well on their way to successful lives. The boys are thriving in school, earning awards and engaging in lots of recreation and hobbies. Their long-term outlook is very positive.
ER staff gathered with the boys on Jan. 17, 2019, to celebrate five years of life-changing progress. This has required tremendous work by the staff, which has been recognized for its outstanding management.
In fact, our staff has developed such expertise that they are sharing it through the MCH Network – a collection of like-minded children’s homes that aspire to provide greater care for Filipino children.
MCH Boy Wins Award, Buys Groceries
It’s always exciting when a child is recognized for his or her skills. It’s even more exciting when you know that kid has endured a rough start to life and you know every achievement is helping to change his life in a powerful way.
That’s why we’re so excited when the boys at the Manila Children’s Home (MCH) win awards. The awards reinforce all the positive work that is being done by our staff and their schools, giving the boys a real chance to excel and live fulfilling lives.
Recently, one of “our” boys won third place in an art contest. See his work in the photo. Joseph* participated in the Art Contest and Exhibit at Solider Hills Elementary School in Muntinlupa City, Philippines (Manila suburb) and placed third. The theme was “My Mother, My Hero”.
Joseph received a trophy and 5,000 pisos (about $94 U.S.). Profoundly, he used the money to provide groceries and clothes to his biological family – who are currently living in a cemetery.
The boys at the Manila Children’s Home make us feel very proud…and humble. Thank you to all who are supporting our work at the MCH.
*Name changed for privacy purposes.
Accreditation Boosts Kid’s Home Impact
Since opening almost three years ago, Extreme Response Asia’s Manila Children’s Home (MCH) has provided exceptional care for neglected and abandoned boys. Late last year the MCH has achieved a new level of accreditation that will allow it to serve these vulnerable youngsters even more effectively.
MCH Executive Director John Basiwa (pictured at right) and his staff had already helped the home meet Level 1 accreditation in 2015. They recently earned Level 2 accreditation, which includes economic boosts such as a monthly electricity bill discount and cash incentives, as well as certification to train organizations in regional childcare networks.
“It will allow us to share best practices and help our network by providing training, technical assistance in the legalities and accreditation process, and encouragement to achieve accreditation of their own,” Basiwa said. “We will also receive a 40 percent discount on our electric bill every month, cash incentives of P10,000, and connections to donors referred by the government and private sector.”
Basiwa said the government accreditor had high praise for MCH, saying its Level 2 accreditation was the first she had awarded in her eight years of assessing childcare agencies.
“Not all child caring agencies here in the Philippines aspire to accreditation because of all the documentation and other requirements,” he said.
Basiwa and his wife, Gela, who serve as MCH’s program directors, continually strive for excellence at the MCH. They have attended four training programs this year alone, and accreditation means more training – with all expenses paid by the government – for the staff next year.
“Our staff was recognized for the excellent service they have rendered to the boys,” Basiwa said. “They were encouraged to continue serving and improve what they are doing. Our boys have assurance they are in good hands.”
MCH Home Purchase Signed and Sealed!
June 26, 2017 Update
ER Asia Director Joshua Benavidez shared this photo from the closing on ER Asia’s purchase of the building occupied by the Manila Children’s Home. We’re so excited that we’ll be able to provide a secure home for these boys, and many more, for years to come – thanks to the generosity of MCH donors.
By Jerry Carnill, ER President and CEO
(June 1, 2017 Update)
Today, we are celebrating. Through the generous support of more than 110 donors, we have received the entire amount needed – $227,000 – to purchase the Manila Children’s Home! The last $5,585+ came in yesterday and we are so grateful.
The boys at the home are overjoyed. They get to continue growing up in the home and neighborhood that has helped bring love and stability to their lives. Knowing so many of you helped make this a reality reinforces they are loved and have a bright future.
What started as a scary proposition – purchase the home we were renting or the owners would sell it to someone else – has turned into an incredible blessing.
Last spring a handful of supporters encouraged us to take a step of faith and ask for your help. Your response has been nothing less than inspiring. We know many of you gave sacrificially to help us meet this goal because you believe in helping orphans and vulnerable children.
So on behalf of ER and the boys, thank you for investing in their lives. Thank you for being part of something big.
- Our staff can focus on nurturing and preparing these former street boys for life-long success in their health, education and skills for a lifetime of sustainability.
- We’ll remain in a neighborhood that has made our boys part of their community.
- The boys will continue in their same schools.
- We avoid the high cost and disruption of moving while saving on rent.
- We can remodel the home, making room for more boys.
- We can create a separate space for older boys transitioning into adulthood.
- We are now positioned to rescue and restore street kids for the next generation.
- We can pour more time into our Children’s Home Network, where we will multiply our impact by helping hundreds – perhaps thousands – of street kids.
Dawn and I will be traveling to Manila in late June to participate in an official dedication of the home. I can guarantee you we’ll be surrounded by happy, noisy, enthusiastic kids and staff. Watch for our report in July!
(May 29, 2017 Update)
If you’ve been following our journey to purchase the Manila Children’s Home (MCH), you’ll be pleased to know we’ve made wonderful progress and have now received 97.5% of the entire amount needed. But with just 1 day left until May 31, we still need your help to reach our goal!
On June 1, we need to deliver the remainder of the funds to complete the purchase. Through May 30, we’re short by $5,585. These funds will allow us to complete the purchase and renovate the home. Then we will be able to impact orphans and vulnerable children for years to come! I know we can raise the remaining funds with your help!
Why Support the Manila Children’s Home?
If you’re like me, you want to support projects that have HUGE, ENDURING impact. The Manila Children’s Home fits this definition. In the three years since it opened, we’ve rescued 19 boys, reuniting nine with their families and seeing all of them transformed into young men with strong skills and hope for the future.
I’ve personally witnessed boys enter the MCH who could barely talk and preferred to sleep on the floor. Today they are thriving thanks to the love and care they receive from MCH staff. Purchasing the Manila Children’s Home will allow us to continue this work and increase the number of boys we rescue and restore for years to come.
You should also know our staff has the vision and commitment to multiply our impact to orphans and vulnerable children way beyond the Manila Children’s Home. Already, we’ve started a network of children’s homes that is restoring more than 250 kids. We do this by sharing operational best practices, feeding and nutrition tips, and health and education strategies to make sure all of these kids prosper.
As you watch our MCH videos, read the stories and consider donating, please know that Every Gift Makes a Difference! Whether you donate $5 or $5,000, you will help change the lives of street kids who have been abused, abandoned, neglected or orphaned.
Consider the journeys of two of our boys, Mel and Toto. Each arrived at our home abused, broken, and emotionally scarred. While others saw hopeless street boys, we saw children who just needed a home and family environment so they could heal. Today Mel and Toto are thriving thanks our staff, volunteers and donors who make it possible to show them endless love, compassion and opportunities.
(February 2017 Update)
ER co-founders Russ Cline and Jerry Carnill joined ER Asia Director Joshua Benavidez to discuss the status of the Manila Children’s Home, celebrating its third anniversary in the process.
The impact has been life changing for 19 boys who have been through the home so far, and the future is even brighter because ER has the incredible opportunity to purchase and expand the facility to house more children.
It is estimated there are 1.8 million street kids in the Philippines.
“Manila is a massive city, with millions upon millions of people,” Cline said. “I’ve grown to love the city, the people and the culture here. But even early in the morning the streets are full of people. You have incredible wealth here, but it is interspersed with incredible poverty.
“There is a working class of people who come in from outside the city and they live on the streets and work in some pretty tough situations.
“We’re called in this region to serve the poor,” Cline shared. “Manila is a place where we’ve been able to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty.”
“Several years ago when we first starting coming to the Philippines, we noticed that there are street kids everywhere,” Carnill said. “When we asked our Filipino partners who are working in their neighborhoods, caring for their neighbors, ‘What the biggest need?’ they say ‘street kids’.
“We’ve got so many kids on the street who have no future. That’s a big motivator for us,” he said. “The Children’s home grew out of our vision to help people living in extreme, often life-threatening situations. I can’t think of a more extreme situation than a couple of toddlers, or even teenagers, living on the street alone.”
“We want to see these kids grow up to be leaders in their community, kids who can be redeemed and have an impact here in their nation.“Right now we have a property that we are renting. We currently have 10 boys living in the home, as well as nine boys who came through the home and have since been reunified with their families.
“The building we are using is bringing great benefit, and we have the opportunity to purchase it – a place we’ve already invested in – located in a great neighborhood. The neighbors actually involve our kids in their community.”
“Our number one value is all about creating a family environment, so we incorporate that into everything we do,” Benavidez said. “We have services and programs that ensure for the total care o the children to meet every need, like food, clothing, housing, education and health.”
Indeed, caring for the kids requires full time staff of seven people, including a full-time social worker. Just providing meals is a huge task. The boys receive three meals and two snacks every day, a whopping 18,250 servings per year.
On top of that, the MCH requires extensive, continual staff training and governmental accreditation. Our staff has responded with enthusiasm in order to provide the best environment for the boys.
“Every one of the boys has an incredible story,” Cline added. “To see them now as we celebrate the third anniversary of the home, to see the joy in their faces, to see their eyes light up, to see them embrace one another as brothers and family, to see them respect adults and to see them happy and healthy, it is such a transformation.”