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A Halfway House and a Play Therapy Program Put Kids First
PHOTO BY courtesy of PIFW (left) and Bantay Bata 163
  • News of two initiatives that focus on giving kids the best opportunities landed on our inbox, and we thought cheering on their efforts are the kind of good news we need these days. 

    This halfway house has served as shelter for over 1,000 victims of child abuse

    Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village is a shelter where children can heal and recover from the trauma of abuse and exploitation.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Bantay Bata 163

    “Len” suffered abuse from her own relatives growing up but is now pursuing a degree in Education in college. And she credits Bantay Bata 163 Children's Village for getting back on her feet. “The love and support that Bantay Bata 163 has given to children like me have enabled me to develop strength and self-confidence to stand on my own,” she said.

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    Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village, which is located in Norzagaray, Bulacan and recently relaunched, can provide shelter for at least 120 abused children. Social workers, health care professionals, and house parents will look over the children in the complex that includes a meditation room, music room, arts and crafts room, and library. It also has an in-house kindergarten play area for pre-schoolers, while older children go to nearby schools.

    “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 Castaneda-Velasco, Bantay Bata 163 program director.


    “Child abuse is a continuous, ongoing issue,” said DSWD-NCR psychologist Estrelita Turingan. “DSWD has many centers catering to children with all sorts of backgrounds and situations, but the Bantay Bata 163 has stepped in to help us handle cases like these where children can get the help they need.”

    For more information on the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village log on to www.abs-cbnfoundation.com.

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    Therapeutic play keeps childhood going for these children

    Meet Kian, Yanyan, and Love, three of the over 6,000 children who received therapeutic play under the "Play It Forward Wellness" (PIFW) program. The three were patients at the pediatric section of the Fe del Mundo Medical Center in Quezon City. 

    PIFW is a program of Unilab Foundation, which caters to the psychosocial needs of children undergoing medical treatment in hospitals. It was designed around the belief that play has therapeutic and developmental benefits to children, and works on this through the provision of appropriate play spaces and with a structured curriculum. In short, it provides the opportunity to let these children enjoy their childhood even within the hospital with the help of volunteers.

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    Nine-year-old Kian is battling leukemia, having been just diagnosed in February this year. Since then, he has been in and out of the hospital, undergoing treatment.

    Kuya Jay, a Play It Forward volunteer facilitator, came to play with Kian. He brought art materials and storybooks to help Kian out of his boredom.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of PIFW
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    According to her dad, Yanyan, 8, is recovering from a viral infection. Two volunteer facilitators were assigned to her room. Kuya Roj held an ice pack to her head to help with her fever, while Ate Dan read her a story.

    When Yanyan's found out that volunteers were coming to play, she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to draw because of the IV line on her hand.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of PIFW

    Love is an extroverted 7-year-old who immediately claimed the PIFW volunteers as “friends,” adding she wanted to have nine friends on that day. The last 20 minutes of the play session was spent on a puppet show. “Gusto ko pong maging artista,” Love said with a smile on her face.

    Love was only 4 years old and a month into her preschool class when she was diagnosed with leukemia.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of PIFW

    To know more about Play It Forward Wellness, visit www.unilabfoundation.org.

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