Today we picked up three orphan brothers before we traveled to Bacolod’s Social Development Center. After their parents’ death, the total 6 siblings had been sent to their relatives. But as a result of social-economic issues and an unstable environment, they finally ended up living on the street where the eldest became criminal as a pure matter of survival. Some years ago he found shelter and hope in Bacolod’s Social Development Center (SDC). However, when he reached legal age, the government-led SDC was not legally responsible for him anymore and consequently needed to eliminate him from his temporary home.
Before he joined our tricycle, this same boy who’s 18 years old today revealed a plastic bag containing glue.
Glue is a consumer product. It’s sold without limitation at low cost. Street children unfortunately consume glue other than for their original purpose. Contrary to alcohol, tobacco or cannabis, glue represents a very cheap drug with easy access for them. By sniffling glue, they can repress hunger, pain or hesitation before committing crimes.
Even though Bacolod is a positive example of a local government acting in favour of child rehabilitation, a transitional shelter like the SDC is unfortunately not sufficient to help street children in the long run.
The brothers’ story encouraged me even further in my work. Virlanie Foundation is currently developing an open-day center for street children in similar cases. They’ll receive medical support, educational training and simply a helping hand to sustainably improve their living conditions… and hopefully step away from glue consumption (read more here).