In the Philippines child abuse and exploitation are widespread. Lack of awareness and a weak rule of law mean these issues are not adequately addressed and generation after generation finds itself trapped in a cycle of destitution and exploitation.
At least 12 million Filipino children live in poverty and three per cent of the child population lives on the street. They face homelessness, lack of education, malnutrition, physical and sexual abuse. Simple things like a bath, a rest, food and play are worlds away from their dangerous reality.
Bahay Tuluyan was set up in 1987 as a drop-in centre for abused and exploited children in Manila’s red light district. It has since expanded its work to provide emergency shelter, residential care services, alternative education and children’s rights awareness to hundreds of children and adults.
Bahay Tuluyan runs 10 programmes working at three levels: response, early intervention and prevention. It also works to promote greater understanding of the issues faced by children in need of protection through its advocacy programme.
Child participation is a key factor in Bahay Tuluyan’s approach and success in dealing with the issue. Through its three programme sites in Manila, Quezon province and Laguna province, Bahay Tuluyan has benefited 8,905 children in 295 child-to-child education sessions in the past three years. It has helped 143 children to get off the streets. In 2014 alone, 420 abused children were offered shelter in Bahay Tuluyan’s centres.
Bahay Tuluyan has developed a thorough reintegration process for affected children, engaging the family and local community, and encouraging the children to stay in touch after leaving.
Photos: Kat Palasi/Stars Foundation