This month OBP embarked on a mission to feed over 500 street children. UNICEF estimates that there are more than 100 million street children in the world today and in excess of 1.5 million in the Philippines alone. Although street children or street youth can be found in the majority of the world’s cities, this situation is much more prevalent in the densely populated cities of developing countries. The Philippines have experienced huge economic growth and progress over the past two decades, but poverty remains a very real issue.
Children of all ages find themselves living on the streets for a variety of reasons such as poverty, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, illicit drug use and political unrest. Many street children have shelters nearby which they are able to access for crisis help, food, showers, and support. However, many children are isolated and live in extreme poverty, without access to a shelter. Street children are some of the most vulnerable members of society and are often subject to neglect, physical and sexual abuse and exploitation. Many of these children are malnourished and in need of nutrition, a safe place to sleep and education.
Although care must be taken not to perpetuate the situation, OBP believes that we all have a duty of care to others and as such must help to provide the basic needs for survival. This month OBP conducted an outreach in Manila where we took to the streets to locate the most needy. Over the course of a five-day period, approximately 500 street children were fed. Many of these children were quite antisocial and simply snatched and run, they appear very suspicious while others are so very grateful it is difficult to put into words. To their delight, each child received a nourishing meal and a new pair of flip flops to help protect their feet.
Bahay Tuluyan, a residential and emergency care shelter for children located in Malate also received food and flip flops for distribution to 400 children. We will be working to support Bahay Tuluyan into the future with regular staff volunteer support to help their sustainable development programs and will continue to help raise awareness.