“Len,” a product of incest, grew up without a mother and was passed from relative to relative, never experiencing the love of a family. She suffered abuse and neglect until Bantay Bata 163 rescued her and gave her a home in the Children’s Village.
Now, Len is finishing her studies as a scholar of Bantay Bata 163. She is determined to lead a new life and help other children as a teacher.
“The Children’s Village gave me hope because it showed me that it is possible to be loved, cared for, and eventually rise up from abuse,” said Len. “It gave me a home when nobody else did.”
In its twenty one years, Bantay Bata 163 has saved thousands of abused children and given them new hope in life.Len was brave enough to share her story as Bantay Bata 163 announced the relaunch of the Children’s Village, which has served as a halfway house for rescued kids since it first opened in 2003.
“Even now as an adult, I remember staying in the village and feeling safer than I ever felt anywhere else,” said Len. “This is where I first realized that a better future is within my reach.”
Bantay Bata 163’s transformative approach does not only lie in its capacity to change the lives of these children in need, but also applies to its operational vision as it endeavors to find new ways of combating abuse while remaining at the forefront of child welfare and protection in the country.
According to psychologist Estrelita Turingan from DSWD-NCR, Bantay Bata’s capacity-building programs provides children with the holistic healing that victims of abuse need to overcome trauma.
“Trauma lives in the body and affects each person differently,” said Estrelita. “There are no two identical cases so it’s important that Bantay Bata 163 has been able to provide each child with their own unique program of counseling, psychotherapy, and treatment.”
With the relaunch of the Children’s Village in Norzagaray, Bulacan in November, more children will be able to get the care and guidance they need to overcome the effects of abuse. It will continue to provide immediate care and holistic healing for at least 120 children at a time and help them build a better future for themselves through physical and psychological means in a structured, therapeutic family-like environment. Social workers, health care professionals, and house parents will look over the children in the complex, which has an administrative building, multi-purpose hall, and cottages, where children stay.
“As Bantay Bata 163 celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation’s child welfare and protection program will continue to evolve as it remains in the service of the Filipino children,” said Jing Castaneda-Velasco, program director of Bantay Bata 163.
Giving the project a boost is the upcoming ABS-CBN Ball 2018,which is dedicated to the relaunching of Bantay Bata 163’s Children’s Village. The highly awaited event aims to celebrate friendship and togetherness and share love by giving back to the community.