mount of toys they have. Ate Mary got down on her knees and taught the children how to play Jenga which they soon picked up . The children are very quick to learn.
It is a deep rooted belief at Kanlungan that all children are made in the image of their creative Father God. The children are encouraged to express themselves through music, dance, drama and art. Children who are recovering from trauma may not be able to express themselves in words but opening up their creativity can often be the key to moving forward.
At the KSEM 30th Anniversary the children’s pictures were sold to guests and it was a delight for the Streetlight Trustees to meet the artists of their paintings and to let them know how much we appreciated their artwork.
Thanks to the generous luggage allowance on our flight from Manila this summer we were able to bring some paintings back to the UK. If you would like to purchase an original KSEM painting please talk to one of the trustees.
One of the older children who used the Open Day Centre found this quote from American Artist Georgia O’Keefe,
“I found i could say things with color and shapes that i couldn’t say any other way – i have no words for.”
—Georgia O’keeffe American Artist 1887 – 1986
Please pray for all the children that they will continue to grow in the likeness of their Creator, Father God and also pray for the KSEM staff who seek to fund creative ways to bring healing to these young lives.
It has been a complete honour and joy to be able to join the Kanlungan family to celebrate the charity’s 30th anniversary. Founding trustees, current supporters and staff, past and present, joined together on Friday afternoon to celebrate.
Children currently attending the projects performed traditional and modern dances and songs with huge smiles and enthusiasm. They had obviously practised for many hours to perfect their routines and their enjoyment at being able to perform was inspiring.
A video had been made by past recipients of Kanlungan’ss care. Some parents themselves, others now working or volunteering for Kanlungan all spoke of the transforming love and care that they had received and the new life and hope they were given.
We are unable to post this video to our website or social media but we will be able to use it a Streetlight events back in the UK so that you will all be able to see it at some point. Please ask a trustee if you don’t get to see it in the near future.
So many projects, so little time.
After a few hours sleep we set off at 7am to join other supporters on a tour of all the Kanlungan projects. Starting with the long drive out to CavIite. First stop, boys home, where we were rewarded for our 4 hour journey with a fabulous selection of fresh Philippine fruit and a well needed coffee and a chance to catch up with the boys and staff. On a quick tour of the farm we we able to see the hard work that has been done to clear more land and saw the new pineapple crop, only planted this week. Change is normal at Kanlungan, there is always something new happening. Adapting to needs as they arise is a thread running through the whole story of the last 30 years.
Back in the bus we moved on to the Girls Home in Laguna for an amazing lunch prepared by the staff and girls. As always at the girls home there was much laughing and squealing as the girls entertained us with their dancing. The volume of laughter at the girls home is always amazing but in full party mode it is delightful, if overwhelming.
Driving back towards the centre of Manila we stopped at the Tunasan Day Centre which works to serve the families that in that community. The Tunasan Centre can always be relied upon to put on a quality show of singing and dancing and this presentation was no different. Visitors were encouraged, some more reluctantly that others, to join in traditional dances. We performed with varying proficiency but our participation always pleases, and amuses, the kids. I don’t think it would matter how many times I attempt the Bamboo long dance I will never manage to success in mastering it. Thankfully we can’t post videos here! Leaving with a goody bag of fried banana snacks for the journey it was all too quickly back to the bus.
Next stop, Open Day Centre. More singing, dancing and giggling and chance to see the newly refurbished school room. More space is allowing the staff to do more and they continue to work tirelessly to support the children who visit them each day.
As the sun began to set over Manila Bay we returned to Benitez House to the children of the level 1 residential centre who had been patiently awaiting our return. Their patience was rewarded by ice creams and time to play.
It was a 12 hour marathon tour but seeing all the projects on the same day gave perspective to the true scale of the work Kanlungan does from street community projects, healthcare and school scholarships, through residential homes for school age children and on into aftercare support for young adults and whole families. It is inspiring, and humbling and I am so proud to be part of the Kanlungan family and to serve it in my small way.
We fly home late tomorrow. The visit has been too short but will stay with me forever.
Thank you for your prayers while we have been away from the UK and huge thanks to Zachary for letting me come.
We are now coming towards the end of our trip to Manila, and what a trip it has been. Personally, I have been really touched by the love and compassion that the Kanlungan staff have for all the children. It really is an incredible family.
On Thursday we drove out to a place called Antipolo to visit the burned out remains of what once was a children’s home. Ate Sol explained that the property has been donated to Kanlungan and she has a vision for it to become a home for children with disabilities and a safe place for children that have been abused exploited online pornography. We had the privilege of praying at the site and while praying one of the team had a vision of children playing barefoot in soft grass. A sight hard to imagine when surrounded by chard brokenness and ashes.
But the team who had been to the farm when it was first donated can testify the transformation that God can bring to a property when He wants to use it for His purposes. It is now an incredible home for the boys who live there. All thanks to our God who hears and answers prayers and to the incredible generosity of the worldwide Christian family. Please join with us and Kanlungan in praying for what this new site will become.
On Friday we spent a joyful morning at the Open Day Centre (ODC). Children from the surrounding communities come to the ODC each day for hot food and fellowship. Many of the young people are also helped with education costs.
We spent the rest of the day regaining our strength to be ready for the big event: The 2018 Streetlight Mini-Olympics.
For many of the children and staff this is a much anticipated event as it is one of the few times each year when all of the parts of Kanlungan come together. It is such a special time of fun and celebration.
Each of the Streetlight team joined of one of the teams and were given a very limited amount of time to learn and practice part of a dance routine – routines that the children had been preparing for weeks! They were very impressive, we were slightly less so.
I had the privilege of joining the mighty mighty boy’s home, they had proven victorious in many of the previous years so the pressure was on. They came together well, but despite a valiant effort this year it was second place, we were beaten to the top spot by the Tunasan Day Centre. To be fair TCC put in a very impressive effort, and their teacher, Vernon, showed just as much, if not more, passion then any of the children.
The Mini-Olympics were brought to a close with a very special time of worship. All of the staff and children that we had meet were there as one united family worshiping God together.
As we now prepares to leave Manila, that incredibly joyful sense of family joined by God’s love is something that I will nether forget.
Today marks our third full day in Manila and what a day its been. We started the day off with a visit to the Tunasan day centre where we went out to visit one of the street communities, here we were lucky enough to spend some time in the house of a family there. It was amazing to see their ingenuity and how they manage to make a home out of practically nothing. It was also clear how much they valued family and their sense of community. We then ate lunch at the day centre and after we spent time eating ice cream and singing and dancing with the kids; they joy we witnessed was outstanding.
In the afternoon we headed to the girls home and as always we were welcomed with beaming smiles and lots of hugs. The afternoon was then well spent singing, dancing and playing games with the girls. We were then blessed with the amazing opportunity to take part in their evening devotion. To see the girls really engage in worship was incredible and something I will remember for a long time, coming through in their worship as well was a real sense of family and love and support for each other. To see girls who have had a pretty tough start in life still praising and thanking God was brilliant and at times a bit emotional.
I am absolutely loving the time in Manila so far and praise God for all that we’ve been a part of. I can not wait to see what other experiences lie ahead.