Our Founder

Virlanie Foundation, Inc. was founded in 1992 by a French social worker, Dominique Lemay and his Filipino social worker friends. 

Dominique Lemay

In Paris, Dominique studied Theology in Montmagny Seminary, and Psychology and Sociology in Université Paris 13 and Institut Catholique de Paris, respectively. He obtained a Master’s degree in Sociology in 1973, and a Master’s degree in Social Work in 1987 from Fondation INFA, Nogent-sur-Marne. 

Dominique first came to the Philippines in October 1987 to conduct research on street children. At the time, the country was beginning the work of rebuilding its economy, having collapsed financially and economically during the Marcos regime. The country was deeply in debt and millions lived below the poverty line. Touched by the plight of Manila’s street children, Dominique, together with some Filipino social workers, established the Virlanie Foundation in June 1992. The name Virlanie is a contraction of the names of his daughters Virginie and Lauriane. Virlanie’s close ties with the city government of Manila began when he reached out to them to provide support to the city’s drop-in centers for street children, the Manila Youth Reception Center and the Reception and Action Center.

The Founder’s Word

“I remember that my dear friend Sister Emmanuelle used to say to me: ‘Dominique, if in the course of one day you smile and are able to make a child, a person, smile, you would have done a good thing. You would have given their life meaning,’” Dominique recalls.

This is why Virlanie works to “give back the smiles to street children.”

The staff members and I work hard every day to ensure that the children in our homes and those in the poorest of the poor communities in Manila will receive medical, social, psychological, psychiatric, and educational services of the highest quality, and above all of that, receive love,” says Dominique.

He recognizes that Virlanie’s journey through nearly three decades is due to the donors, sponsors, and volunteers who made the foundation’s work possible despite many challenges. Under his stewardship, Virlanie has come to the attention of the international community, which has stepped in to help grow the foundation into the 8 homes and 23 programs,  that  have served more than 17,000 street children and disadvantaged youth. In January 2019, Dominique was named Chairman Emeritus of Virlanie and continues to actively participate in the foundation’s activities and growth.

“I invite you to explore this site to find out more about us, our actions, and our children. I hope that it will convince you to participate in our mission to give back the smiles to the street children of Metro Manila.”

Warmest wishes,
Dominique Lemay

Achievements and Awards

(April 2014)

Dominique is named Chevalier (Knight) in the French Légion d’honneur for his 26 years of work with the street children of the Philippines.

Rizal Knight

A Rizal Knight honors and upholds the values and ideals of the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal.


Dominique is recognized by People Asia magazine as one of its “People of the Year.”

(June 23, 2006)

He is recognized as one of “Ten Outstanding Manileños” for his contribution to humanitarian work in the City of Manila.

(December 2001)

He is awarded the Human Rights Prize by France for Virlanie’s valuable contribution to human rights through its work with disadvantaged children in the Philippines.

Send us a message and we’ll reply within 24 hours.

Virlanie Foundation

Virlanie Foundation is a private, non-profit organization reaching out to street children in the Philippines. Virlanie cares for children in need of special protection—those who are abandoned, abused, exploited, neglected, orphaned, and among the poorest of the poor.




15 + 8 =