LDS Charities Partners with PMHA to Help Adolescent Children

News Release
 

Sally Bongalonta is an eyewitness to the plight of street children in Manila as they struggle to look for food and search through trash in order to find something of value to sell. For LDS Charities, caring for the poor and the needy is an important belief and one of the four-fold purposes of the Church.

To improve the lives of adolescent street children, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed by Bongalonta, chairman of the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) and Elder Jairus Perez, country director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The signing was done on 31 July 2018 at the Church's Area Office in White Plains, Quezon City. This partnership will help educate street children regarding basic hygiene, psychological and nutritional needs. 

Perez highlighted the importance of the project, “We would like to join hands and use our resources as much as we can so that we are able to reach out to the least of our brothers and sisters.”

Bongalonta added, “I really feel blessed that finally the MOA has been signed because the street children will now have a chance to feel that they are really being taken care of.  Hopefully, we won’t stop here.  We will get them back to school and their families.”

Joining in the signing event were Dr. Cornelio Banaag, PMHA President. and Mary Ann Balen, LDS Family Services manager.

The focus of PMHA is to help street children participate in psychological and/or educational sessions conducted by psychologists and volunteer facilitators.

Those enrolled in the PMHA program hope to go back to school or get better jobs as a result of participation to the project.  Despite their circumstances, most street children expressed a desire to improve their lives.

These sessions are comprised of hygiene, psychological/education and feeding sessions. Attendees are required to clean themselves in the wash area provided before participating in the sessions. After bathing, all attendees are escorted to the laundry area to wash their clothes. After each session, the attendees are invited to enjoy a simple lunch prepared by the PMHA staff.

Past sessions included establishing rules and regulations, and stressing the importance of cleanliness. Future sessions will include basic courtesy, showing gratitude and teamwork development.

Since the beginning of the program on 2 April 2018, PMHA has conducted a total of six sessions with the adolescent street children. At present, a cumulative headcount of 37 adolescents have attended these sessions.

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