Letter from the President
What makes you happy?
For some, happiness is achieving life goals… or owning a dream house, a dream car, and travelling to dream destinations. Others find happiness in simple things such as having fun and meaningful time with family… or eating a favourite dish… or receiving a heart-warming text from a friend. I’m sure that like me, you experience happiness in various shades and forms and that you consider yourself blessed for having experienced them. But do you know that there are children whose ideas of happiness will break your heart?
I’ve asked some of them what makes them happy and these are some of their most unusual answers:
• Not being beaten for a day;
• Not being noticed by the person who molests them;
• Being treated like an “ordinary” child by their own family. By this, they mean being fed and, once in a while, getting some love and affection.
Sadly, there are thousands of neglected children in our country who yearn for the same things.
One of them is a girl I’ll hide under the name Lisa. When Lisa was rescued, she was found hanging upside down, weeping in pain, because her uncle savagely beat her. The fragile, malnourished and dirty 5-year-old girl was beaten because she failed again to bring home enough money after begging on for a whole day in the streets of Bacolod City. We found out later that she is also a victim of molestation by an older cousin, that her mother is a drug addict and a prostituted woman, and that her father doesn’t want to have anything to do with her. Her older sister, the one person she loved, was taken away by her mother to work in Manila.
There is also this other girl whom I will refer to as Rosa. When Rosa was 10 years old, her drunken father tied her and her two brothers to a tree to burn them alive. The story goes that as her father left to get a match, one of her brothers escaped and shouted at her to run. She refused and just stood there so her brothers had to physically drag her away from the place. When she was later asked why she didn’t run, Rosa said: “My father always hurts my mother and grandmother, and often beats me and my nine other siblings. After so much abuse, I told myself that I would much rather die than live another day like this.”
Lisa and Rosa’s stories are just two of the numerous heart-breaking stories that I have encountered in my work as the head of Kalipay Negrense Foundation. Kalipay is a foundation that supports various homes and projects that aim to heal the emotional scars of abused children and give them a chance to live a much better and happier life. Through its assistance abused children like them get basic needs such as shelter, food, clothing and medicines, as well as education and therapy. Therapy is an important intervention to enable abused children to live normal livesand to prevent them from being abusers themselves in the future. We need to break the chain of pain.
To date, the Kalipay Negrense foundation has helped over 800 children, including Lisa and Rosa. Rosa had since then finished B.S. Nursing – cum laude – and now works as a nurse for abused children.
Lisa is now also a new person. When she first came to Kalipay, she wouldn’t let other people hold her. She was a hardened little girl, but two years of loving care in the home transformed her into a beautiful and loving child. The last time I visited her, she gave me a big hug and a warm smile.
After seeing with my own eyes that abused children may have transformed and rebuilt lives, I’ve made helping them my life mission. If you, like me, believe children should be protected from physical, sexual and psychological abuse, and that those who are should be rescued and given a better chance at life, then I urge you to make a difference by being my mission partner. Imagine warm grateful smiles we can bring on the faces of these children if we work together.
Any act of kindness will certainly be much appreciated by a child who has experienced nothing but maltreatment and who has been deprived of a right that is as basic as being fed by one’s own family.
You may also want to help Kalipay build new homes in the province of Negros for the increasing number of children who need our care. If this is also your vision, please indicate it in the attached reply form so we can immediately get in touch with you.
Thank you for taking time to read this letter. Before I end, you may be wondering why our foundation is called Kalipay. Kalipay, is an Ilonggo word that means “joy.” This is our dream for all the abused children who have experienced so much pain and sorrow at such an early age. And this is also our prayers for all who support our mission.
If you have ever considered helping abused children, now is the best opportunity to do it.
Thank you and we wish you “kalipay” all your life.
Kalipay Negrense Foundation Inc.