By Nickky Faustine P. De Guzman, Reporter
Young street urchins are common sights on the streets of Metro Manila. For many, their fate is already sealed: they will grow old without any direction in life, or perhaps they will die young from exploitation including involvement in drug peddling or prostitution.
But then again, there is hope. One organization that aims to turn around the unfortunate situation is V
irlanie Foundation, a nonprofit institution that protects and empowers the youth through education and economic involvement.
“Most children on the streets are exploited and are generally deprived of their basic rights, including their right to education,” said Arlyne Fernandez, Virlanie’s deputy executive director in a press launch on July 7 announcing the organization’s educational campaign called Give2Achieve, which aims to raise P2 million to fund the education of its beneficiaries.
Education, the foundation believes, is an intangible fortune that can reverse the fate of some of the 1,240 children it helps annually, either through its outreach program or its residential program.
Its residential program lets specific age groups (babies, young adults, and those with special needs) to have a safe haven for them to stay and develop their intellectual, social, and economic growths.
Virlanie also provides a learning center for the youth to develop their creativity and a program to help them become self-sustaining. It also has medical, psychological, and family reunification programs. The foundation uses a holistic approach.
Accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Virlanie has helped 17,000 youths since it was founded 25 years ago by a French social worker, Dominique Lemay, who came to the Philippines for the first time and was touched by the poverty he saw in the country. Since then, he decided to start the foundation. Regardless of nationality, gender, or age, anyone is welcome to get involved and help in raising the target fund. To help, you may donate in kind or in cash, volunteer time for outreach programs, or sponsor a Virlanie child to send them to school by contribution P26 a day for their educational and/or medical needs.
To help, visit www.virlanie.org or call 895-5260 or 895-2289.