Next week it opens, the girl's safe place, we call it "Star Dorm".
The dream of this sanctuary for girls was born in 2015 by Liling Coruna, who together with her husband, Pastor Gani Coruna manages Star of Hope Philippines.
Liling, who is working in the trenches of the slum areas could no longer sit silently with the heartbreaking stories that the young girls of the area and school confessed to her. Many told me that they would keep their secret and never share, the cases she ushered and allowed to enter a police report have usually led to investigations being closed, then with the risk of girls ending up in an even worse situation afterward.
They are at risk of being bullied at school and rumors about them, the victim, are spread in the community, so where will they go? For a girl in that situation, there are no safe places left. That's exactly why Liling has decided to create one. In 2015 she caught sight of a piece of overgrown land next to our school in Taytay and saw a solution in front of her; an answer, she imagined a welcoming two-story building with kitchen, dining room, dorms, and living room. A place where their terror and grief could be put away and the girls could sleep without fear and find comfort healing in each other's company.
Among the soil and weeds, Liling saw a home for those who have forgotten what it's like to feel at home. Now, two years later, her dream is close to becoming reality. Last year, the foundation was completed and step by step the frame for the two floors grew. In parallel with this, Taytay's school has begun to usher in a resounding message of changed attitudes, mainly about the women's view of women, to break the evil circle.
Liling longs for looking up the gates to the sanctuary - but at the moment all work is still standing. 95,000 dollars is what is needed to turn the building from a stable concrete skeleton to the warm welcome home as the most vulnerable girls in the city are so in need.
If we are to complete the project and have the desired effect, you and I, and other warmhearted loving people have to step in and make a difference together.
A few hundred dollars may feel insufficient, but in the end, they are crucial - because there are thousands of such gifts that will come to our goal. The sooner the better - and every dollar takes us closer to the day when the first girls can move in.
Maria and 2 girls, not Star Dorm girls
A few days ago our own Maria Presson, flew from the sub-zero midwest weather to fly via Japan to Manila in the Philippines. Then soon together will inaugurate what we call the “Star Dorm”, and yes it is exactly in the middle of the slum area Taytay outside Manila.
Next week, Maria and others from Star of Hope International will inaugurate the building and the service for vulnerable girls. The project will continue and help several girls at a time.
Maria says, “This is a dream come true, thanks to all who gave and made this a reality., It is a great time to be here as it is also Foundation Day, a celebration for the day our school was founded. There will be music; dance and it will be great to see the children compete for extra prises”.
Maria continues “my family lived here for 3 years and it is a Blessing to get to visit and see the progress. We hope we will soon be able to furnish the dorm."
Star of Hope's work in the Philippines started in 1981 and currently covers over 2000 children and young people.
Liling says she thought it was too big a project but through faith, we have been blessed with three large gifts that complemented the small and together all the donors made it possible. In spring 2018, the building was in place, but still, furnishings were missing.
The poor area of Taytay outside Manila is a typical example of communities in the world where women are the ones who support the family, often with several different jobs. Women often work abroad or are gone all day. At the same time, many men take little or no responsibility for the family.
"It has been common with the term" second wife "when a girl in the family, often the oldest, can replace the absent mother, and then even intimately," explains Star of Hope International Director, Ulrika Kallin Eriksson.
With the protected accommodation Star Dorm, we can now provide emergency assistance when girls feel threatened by their father, or for that matter other men in the family. Then the girls should be able to come to the house and sleep there.
The school in Taytay receives children from preschool age up to high school. We are also planning to start college in the future in our area.
In parallel with the other projects, Star of Hope is working on changing the values of the boys and girls in the school. We used faith-based messages to teach respect and more.
We want to break the vicious cycle of how men look at women and girls and strengthen the boys in their own men's role. "One does not do sinful things to a woman or girl", it is important to teach them.
"That work in school has been going on for many years; it is a work for future generations. Then the boys can move the new values further when they grow up", says Ulrika Kallin Eriksson.
Liling says, “Remember this, we have educated here at this school nearly 80,000 students, they graduated and received a good start in life. That never would have happened without Star of Hopes donors, thank you”
I have met many people who really come from a hopeless situation. When they then get hope ... it's completely magical. It gives me a lump in my throat and makes every effort worthwhile. But, the many positive changes we can see now are entire to our donors' merit. The fruit is a child with hope for the future where there once was only despair.
Not a donor yet?
Are you thinking about a large gift? Call our CEO Mark Presson 866 653 0321