July 16, 2016 – Under the blazing sun of Manila, Virlanie Foundation celebrated its 24th anniversary with great jubilation. For the occasion, Virlanie exchanged balloons and confetti for shovels, soil, and seedlings.

“Being able to educate children about the importance of the environment and our involvement in it, is integral,” says Ms. Josephine, HR Manager. “This is a direction that we want to really set up within the Foundation for children and young adults, but also for the staff. The theme, ‘Go Green’ seems to be the obvious choice.”

The children then assembled around the premises of SiBuHi Center. From smallest to tallest, all the children patiently listened and learned from Papa Peter (house father of Ella Yallah Home) some new techniques about urban agriculture and the importance of knowing and protecting the environment.

“Being able to develop an ecological and sustainable approach is essential today, it gives you a certain advantage. With the consequences of climate change, many of the species that we cultivate are gradually disappearing. Educating young people on methods of prevention is our responsibility, ” says Papa Peter.

On this day, children and parents of different Virlanie homes got their hands dirty to plant herbs and vegetables. “We want to teach the importance of knowing different plants, because this is where our food comes from,” explains Papa Peter. “For example, in Ella Yallah we planted peppers, oregano, and other herbs. We also have lemongrass and bok choy (Chinese cabbage).”

But this approach does not stop there.

“The children are really invested in the cultivation of different plants. They watch and look forward to the fruits of their labor,” enthuses Papa Peter as he goes on helping the children plant their seedlings.

As Virlanie Foundation celebrates conserving the environment, you can’t help but notice the smiles dawn on children and adult faces, like a big family, optimistic and assured that the Foundation is preparing for its 25th year to continue “bringing back the smiles to street children”.