An Update from Preda

April 1, 2011

The New Preda Girls’ Home

The Preda Girls’ Home expansion plan has already begun. The site preparation is already completed; electric power lines, a transformer and fencing have been installed. The beautiful site is surrounded by tree-covered hills, a small river and beautiful views. It will give the girls protection, peace, community living and privacy. It will provide accommodation in spacious rooms like small apartments with each one housing five girls.

The girls can have a new start in life leaving behind the terrible abuse they experienced. The healing, counseling and affirming and supportive lifestyle will give them hope, self-confidence and a restoration of trust in adults. Much of this they already experienced at the present home, but in the new location it will be amplified and greatly enhanced by the beautiful location and environment. We plan to start transferring children to the new facility in November.

There are now 58 girls in the home all recovering from the abuse, exploitation and terrible neglect. This is our work together – to save the children, protect them from the abductors and abusers, help them heal from the emotional wounds and give them the good life they deserve. This we do well, professionally, with compassion and care by our trained social workers, psychologists and care givers.

In 2010, the Preda Girls’ Home was able to protect and care for a total of 172 young girls, all victims of abuse and commercial sex exploitation. The sad reality is that there has been no decrease in the number of child victims. Despite all efforts of the NGO community in the Philippines to advance children’s rights, to raise public awareness and to influence public opinion to curb the spread of the international sex industry, it is not enough and abuse still proliferates. In addition, the Preda legal department assisted in the surveillance, detection, gathering of evidence and accompanying police in investigations which has resulted in more cases of child abuse being filed in the court.

The Preda Home For Boys Project

The Preda Boy’s Home had a notable year in 2010 with a 90.71% retention rate of the children rescued from prisons voluntarily staying and enjoying the freedom of living at the Preda Bukangliwayway (New Dawn) open-center and organic farm. The suitable therapeutic and rehabilitation center environment combined with the non-punitive and restorative program based on trust, affirmation, love and care made it possible to achieve a high percentage of kids responding positively to the program.

There were a total of 226 boys rescued and cared for at the Preda Boys’ Home last year. Sixty one of these youth successfully completed the program and were returned to their families in the reintegration process. These boys and their families will soon be part of the livelihood assistance program to help them augment family income and keep them from committing crimes.

Preda Human Rights Education Program Saves More Children

More than 10,000 people were reached by the Preda Human Rights Education Team last year in its campaign to end the abusive system victimizing young kids. The local communities and their leaders in three provinces in Central Luzon were reached and educated in the recent years on human rights, particularly children’s rights. The local councils for child protection were strengthened and networking was established to get the citizens to respond quickly and report and help rescue abused children. The increased number of reports and referrals of children into the Preda protective program indicated that the education program was very successful.

The Preda public education program in the schools and communities educates and builds-up awareness with puppet shows and theater shows for interactive learning. They had a milestone success in reaching an audience of 21,968 in a day-to-day education effort involving young children, their parents and teachers. They teach them their rights and empower them to report abuse and not to be scared.

In the end, it is justice for children that matters, and we can never give up saving and helping them, come what may.

Fr. Shay Cullen lives and works in the Philippines.