The Open Day Center is a pioneer project in Bacolod City, in the island of Negros to extend Virlanie Foundation’s geographical reach to other islands and focus on children and families in the streets. The approval of a five-year grant from Belgian cooperation and Enfance Tiers Monde allowed Virlanie to acquire our own center in Bacolod City and set up a local team including a Program Director, Program Coordinator, Health Services Coordinator, Operation Support Officer and international Fundraising and Communication Officer at the end of last year. These last months, our new ODC team has been renovating the center, purchased all furniture and a van, which we will require for our street work. Moreover, the team has been developing our social, health and education services as well as our partnerships for the full launching of the ODC’s services in March 2018.

We are happy to welcome new volunteers and partners in our network, some of whom will for example help us organize vocational trainings or shelter children beyond the day-care in our ODC. In coordination with DSSD’s anti-medicancy team from Plaza, Bacolod for example, we organized a first food and clothes distribution for 70 kids and families in Plaza, Bacolod in January, followed by two Sunday lunch parties for 30 beneficiaries and a community day for 47 children with STI Senior High students in February.

Our Health Services Coordinator managed multiple interventions in the streets. She counselled and accompanied not only a mother throughout her pregnancy, but also assisted the parents of a two-year old malnourished child. Beyond such emergency cases, she also organized a first workshop on family planning and responsible parenthood in cooperation with one Barangay Health Center in February.

These activities helped us get to know our beneficiaries, create links and discern what priorities to set in the beginning of 2018 to make a long-term impact.

VFI strengthens partnership with Bacolod’s Social Development Center

The Social Development Center (SDC) is one of our Outreach Programs in Bacolod City. This program is a local government unit (LGU) managed by the Bacolod city DSSD (Department of Social Services and Development). It is designed as a transitional shelter for children considered as either vulnerable, at risk, or in conflict with the law.

As in the last years, we are continuously organizing activities in cooperation with multiple partners for the children at Bacolod’s Social Development Center (SDC). Beside education through ALS (Alternative Learning System) and PEPT exam preparations with our volunteer teacher Leah Jamili, we also focus on recreational activities like capoeira with our volunteer trainer Nikole Concha, value-formation with Roden from YMM group and Sir Jes from Good Samaritan Helping Hands as well as basketball trainings with punctual competitions organized by N2L Foundation.

This year, we are also planning to focus on health-related activities including dental and medical missions in cooperation with the Congressman Gasataya’s office and lectures on health and sanitation. Moreover, our action plan includes hygiene and sanitation improvements at the SDC with ongoing pest control, clean-up of rooms and offices as well as trainings on procedures for both staff and beneficiaires.

Thanks to the Open Day Center Services, we will be able to follow up on the children leaving the SDC. Therefore, SDC and Virlanie social workers will closely cooperate to prepare a smooth hand-over and plan interventions for the time after the children’s stay at SDC.