The three-story home, located in the Manila suburb of Muntinlupa City, can house up to 10 residents (possibly up to 20 once remodeling is completed) and employs seven full-time staff, including house parents, a cook, a teacher, a psychologist and a social worker, as well as interns. The team is led by Executive Director John Basiwa and Program Director Gela Basiwa, who manage the home’s day-to-day operations.
The first six boys to take up residence, ranging from 4 to 13 years old, were indicative of the children the Manila Children’s Home (MCH) seeks to impact. The three oldest are brothers who were abused by their father before being placed under government protection. The three younger boys were found on the streets by government social workers, unable to speak and apparently abandoned.
“The home provides a comfortable and friendly environment for the children, and our staff gives them the guidance and love that they should have received from their family,” says Basiwa. “We believe these children can be healed from the pain of being neglected, orphaned and abandoned, and taught to become responsible and productive members of society.”
Watch this short slideshow highlighting the vision that led to the launch of the Manila Children’s Home, as well as some new opportunities in the years ahead.
The staff uses an acronym, DREAMS, to describe their goals for the boys:
- Development: Acquire the skills and abilities required to navigate life successfully
- Resiliency: Learn to recover from difficulties
- Empowerment: Have the power and ability to make decisions and implement change in their lives and the lives of other people
- Appreciative: Show gratitude
- Mannerly: Demonstrate good manners in every situation
- Self-reliant: Be confident in the ability to support oneself
In addition to changing the lives of residents, Basiwa says, the Manila Children’s Home has the potential to impact the community around it: “People can learn that there are times when the local government is not sufficient to provide for a large population of children under their care, and external help is needed in order to be effective in helping these children. We are hoping our community will see this and be encouraged to support and become involved with the home.”
With MCH now operational, Joshua Benavidez, ER’s Regional Director for Asia, envisions growth and expanded impact in the coming months and years. “In the next five years, we would like to have up to 20 kids in our children’s home,” says Benavidez. “Of course, that means we would have to upgrade our facilities to accommodate such a number, as well as increase the number of our staff. Our dream is to see as many kids as possible become leaders of our society, in spite of what they have experienced in their young lives.”