There is a street children centre for all boys in Tacloban City. It is called Social Development Center for Children (SDCC), a social welfare institution operated by Tacloban City Social Welfare Development Office. The boys being accommodated in the centre are between 5-17 years old. They are the kids who have been neglected and abandoned by their parents and/or relatives. They resort to staying in the streets of Tacloban to beg so they can provide food for themselves. To keep them out of the streets and prevent them from being corrupted by adults with bad motives, they are rescued by the social welfare office and placed in the centre.
Technically the boys are only allowed to stay at the centre up until they’re 17 years old. Once they reach the age of 18, they must be discharged. The main and important question is: What would these boys’ way of life be outside? Would they have a family to return to? In many cases, relinquishing them to their family is not the best option because in the first place these boys got into their situation because of some family issues. And because they are older boys, there is less chance that a foster family would take them in. The best option would be continue to support them until they finish college but that is not part of the centre’s program so it is not being done.
The boys are provided social protection services and intervention at the centre, including educational support. Prior to Typhoon Haiyan, the budget allocated for their needs was enough. After the typhoon, the budget was reduced to half. You can imagine how much loss that is.
The centre head, who is a registered social worker has to make do with a very tight budget and ends up soliciting from friends and at times spending money from her own pocket. She understands the need to help her boys so she seeks assistance whenever she can. The centre is lacking in terms of food budget and transportation allowance for those who go to high school a distance away.
These boys need all the support, kindness, and love they can get. Showing them care is the only way they will be motivated to do better for themselves.
Photos by: David Lindsay, Former VFV Media Intern