Love, care and hope for a new beginning await even more children with the relaunch of the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village this year.
Bantay Bata 163’s halfway house for rescued children has served as a home for over a thousand of young Filipinos since 2003, providing them a shelter where they can heal and recover from trauma of abuse and exploitation, and build a better future for themselves.
With improved facilities and an enhanced program, the Children’s Village is now more equipped to help victims of child abuse become more resilient and empowered members of our community.
“Through the kindness of our donors and partner organizations, such as the local government of Quezon City, Bantay Bata 163 is now able to provide a better home for children who have suffered from different forms of abuse and are in need of love and care to move forward in their lives,” said Jing Castañeda-Velasco, ABS-CBN talent and Bantay Bata 163 program director.
Jing said the Children’s Village, which is in Norzagaray, Bulacan, can house and provide holistic healing for at least 120 abused children through physical and psychological programs, 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, multipurpose hall, and cottages, where the children stay.
The village also has a meditation room, music room, arts and crafts room, and library. It also has an in-house kindergarten play area for preschoolers, while older children go to nearby schools.
Bantay Bata 163 will also equip older children with necessary life skills in preparation of their reintegration to society through new programs like the Resilience Program, Productivity Skills Training and Livelihood Development Program. Values Formation support will also be given to parents and families of the abused children to help them heal and move forward, as well.
During the press conference for the relaunch of the Children’s Village on August 17, a beneficiary of Bantay Bata 163 whom we shall call “Len” shared how the continued monitoring by social workers and educational assistance from Bantay Bata 163 have given her confidence to carve her own future.
Len suffered abuse from her own relatives growing up. After being able to escape, she tried her luck as a kasambahay but experienced more abuse from her amo as they didn’t pay her salary for months. With the help of Bantay Bata 163, Len was able to escape these cruel circumstances and is now pursuing a degree in Education in college. “The love and support that Bantay Bata 163 has given to children like me has enabled me to develop strength and self-confidence to stand on my own,” she said in Tagalog.
As Bantay Bata 163 celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, Jing said the 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.
“Aside from maintaining our core services in protecting children at risk and are disadvantaged through a nationwide network of social services and our Children’s Village, Bantay Bata 163 is also gearing toward protecting the country’s future generation from online abuse and exploitation,” she shared.
With 80 percent of children and youth experiencing some form of violence—whether physical, verbal, sexual or online—in their lifetime, as reported in the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children in the Philippines conducted by the Unicef among 3,866 respondents across 17 regions, it is has never been more vital for child welfare organizations to adapt to an ever-changing landscape of abuse.
In fact, 43.8 percent of the children in the study conducted by Unicef experienced some form of online abuse such as sexual violence and cyberbullying.
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.
“Child abuse is a continuous, ongoing issue,” said Department of Social Welfare and Development-National Capital Region psychologist Estrelita Turingan. “The DSWD has many centers catering to children with all sorts of backgrounds and situations, but Bantay Bata 163 has stepped in to help us handle cases like these where children can get the help they need.”
Through capacity-building programs aimed at educating community leaders on abuse and the intrinsic rights of a child both online and in the real world, it empowers citizens to become game changers in the fight for children’s rights.
It’s this transformed society that Bantay Bata 163 envisions, and one that it hopes to inculcate through its holistic services in the Children’s Village and its other services—a vision that takes the support of the whole community.
For more information on the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village, visit www.abs-cbnfoundation.com.