One evening, we were driving through the streets of Manila when some of them exclaimed, “I was like them before!”
They were actually pointing at some girls on the street. Some of them were begging, some were selling flowers. The Round Home girls sadly said they were like those girls and as toddlers they were on the streets, trying to look for food. I thought, ‘Why don’t we go to the street now, and intervene for those little girls?’
The Round Home girls are active participants in restoring the little ones and in the process complete their own restoration. When trafficked children have been empowered to fight by caring for others, when they have been enlightened and are now involved in restoring other victims, when they personally experience that they can also do something, then they come full circle and experience profound restoration.
This is the other meaning of the “round” in the Round Home.
When the Round Home girls meet, interact with, and help other children, then a forum and venue are provided for a higher measure of success of our restoration.
When they see that they can be active participants in this kind of struggle, then they experience a sense of psychological liberation. They feel empowered and they are liberated from their earlier victimhood.
Survivor care then becomes a chance to mobilize an army of fighters against child trafficking. It is more like a citizen’s militia because they come from the masses and they have experienced the problem. Having been in the thick and thin of personal struggling in their own blighted communities, their commitment is authentic because there remains a deeply rooted hunger for justice and emancipation. More than providing safety, survivor care then becomes a reformist mission to transform victims into liberators.
We are trying to reintegrate Round Home girls into society as agents of liberation—caregiving guardians of other children who experience the injustice and exploitation they once experienced first hand.
Thus, advocacy is widened as these former victims of exploitation become agents of liberation, fighting oppression and exploitation and liberating other victims so that they too may experience justice, emancipation, and love.
The delicate and powerful work of survivor care can only be sustained with your help.
Watch Dr. Gundelina Velazco share about Love146’s approach to after care:
This post is the second part of a series of three posts from our Director of Asia Survivor Care describing the model and philosophy behind Love146’s safe home in the Philippines. Read Part I to learn about how we help children heal by focusing their awareness on the here and now, and Part II to gain insight into how survivor care is both a science and an art.