This past July, a conference was held in the Philippines by a leading international anti-trafficking organization. Robin, a former resident of the Round Home, wrote testimony that was delivered to the conference. Below is an excerpt of her testimony as translated by a Round Home teacher:
Although there are many struggles and challenges that you have to surpass, although you feel hopeless and helpless, you should not give up because there is still hope. I stumbled several times but I was able to stand with the help of those people who have big hearts. We should not think that the institution takes us away from the outside world to deprive us from becoming happy…I have changed a lot because I have the determination to change. I always think about my future. If we want to have a better life, we will look for ways and means to achieve it. We give many alibis if we do not want to do something.
To all children in Round Home, all I can say is that let us not take all opportunities given us for granted or else we will regret it. Opportunity knocks only once. Let us take those opportunities because they are for our own good. Having rules and regulations is normal. We need to learn how to abide by the rules and regulations. If there were no rules and regulations imposed in RH, the institution would fail to realize its goal. Life here in Round Home is different. So let us not behave like the way we did when we were outside. Let us be grateful because it has given us another chance. We are fortunate because others have to look for people who will help them. We can rarely find people who are willing to lend others a helping hand. Other people are happy thinking of their own welfare only. But the institution strives with zealous efforts to restore and help us start a new life.
Rachel, now 16, is reintegrated and runs a business raising and selling chickens while also selling food from a market she runs out of her home.