It is quite heartbreaking for Len (not her real name) to undergo the kind of abuse she went through.
From being a product of an incestuous rape to a victim of abuse from her relatives, it seemed that she had nowhere to go.
But the Bantay Bata 163, under the auspices of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, provided the kind of haven for victims of abuse like Len, not only to provide shelter after her rescue in its Children’s Village in Norzagaray, Bulacan but also provide development in various aspects of her life and achieve personal independence and full recovery from such harrowing experiences. Len is now pursuing a bachelor's degree in Education.
Bantay Bata has relaunched its Children’s Village with improved facilities and an enhanced program to more effectively assist and empower victims of child abuse and make them productive members of the community.
The Children’s Village served as a home for thousands of abused Filipino children aged from 0-18 since 2003 offering temporary shelter where they can heal and recover from the trauma of abuse and exploitation, and build a better future for themselves.
The Quezon City government, led by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte, has likewise given a sizeable donation to the Children’s Village for its improved facilities and provisions.
“Through the kindness of our donors and partner organizations such as the local government of Quezon City, Bantay Bata 163 is now able to provide a better home for children who have suffered from different forms of abuse and are in need of love and care to move forward in their lives,” said Jing Castaňeda-Velasco, Bantay Bata 163 program Director.
It can house 120 abused children and provide them holistic healing using physical and psychological methods in a structured, therapeutic family-like environment. There are available social workers, health care professionals and even house parents to look over the rescued children. The complex has an administrative building, multi-purpose hall, and cottages where the children are housed.
Other facilities include a meditation room, music room, arts and crafts room, and library. It also has an in-house kindergarten area for pre-schoolers.
What’s even better is that Bantay Bata 163 will help equip older children with necessary life skills in preparation of their reintegration to society through the Resilience Program, Productivity Skills Training, and Livelihood Development Program. Above all, the new Children’s Village will offer values formation support for parents and families of the abused children to fast track their healing process.
Bantay Bata 163 shall also address a growing form of abuse—cyberbullying and online sexual violence. In a UNICEF study cited by Bantay Bata 163 covering 3,866 respondents across 17 regions in the Philippines, 80% of children and youths are experiencing some form of abuse, either physical, verbal, sexual or online.
In fact, 43.8% of the respondents in the UNICEF study, called the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children in the Philippines, experienced some form of online abuse.
“Bantay Bata 163 is also gearing towards protecting the country’s future generation from online abuse and exploitation,” Jing further said.