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SOS Villages Philippines eyes new settlement

Davao City village success may spur refuge for abandoned kids in Mindanao

Part of the SOS family during leisure moment in the park Part of the SOS family during leisure moment in the park
  • Manuel T. Cayon, Davao City
  • Philippines
  • January 24, 2011
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The success of a privately run “village” for abandoned and orphaned children in the southern Philippine city of Davao could see a new village being established in Mindanao.

The SOS Children’s Villages Philippines is a family-based child-rearing and child-minding service which has produced engineers, teachers and professionals, including a doctor Davao alone.

“Many have become [overseas Filipino workers]. We have also produced guidance counselors, and a dean of the information and technology unit at a school here,” said Leonilo N. Rivero, 37, himself a product of the Davao SOS Village and currently its director.

The village has been such a success, Helmut Kutin, the SOS Children’s Villages International president, said he is considering opening up another “operation” in Mindanao.

It may either be another village or an extension of this service, Kutin told ucanews.com.

Davao Village is one of eight SOS villages in the country, and the biggest. It’s currently housing 190 orphaned and abandoned children in 14 family homes.

Each family is managed by a surrogate mother who takes care of raising the children under a “normal big family” atmosphere, said Noel Tanucan, the SOS village educator.

Rivero said the village has also established a community program for poor families.

“Poverty is often the reason for abandoning children. So, why wait for families to disintegrate before you extend assistance?” he said.

The SOS village has been providing assistance to 215 families, with 624 children in and around Lanang village.

SOS villages were first established in the Philippines 43 years ago. Davao village began 13 years later, on a land donated by Davao archdiocese.

Rivero said SOS Villages Philippines is a non-religious organization “although it so happens that all our children are Catholic.”

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