Alyssa reaches for her dreams with help from Bantay Bata 163 and her sponsor In the coming months, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.(ALKFI) will be publishing the most comprehensive information book on oneof its flagship programs, Bantay Bata 163. Titled “Bantay Bata 163:ToLove and Protect,”the documentary book is being written to provide the public information about the experiences and expertise that BB163 has developed through its more than two decades of existence. It recalls the journey of the program, from its beginnings, its growth and ongoing efforts to keep itself relevant and better equipped to respond to the new face of child abuse. But, most of all, the book intends to provide families, schools and communities basic information on how to prevent and respond to cases of abuse as well as general information on services that cater to the promotion of the well-being of the child. The hope is that this resource book will serve as an inspiration and a valuable database for the public on the rights of children. With permission from the project coordinatorof the book,Jenie Chan of ALKFI, here is a portion of how BB163 provided the seedsof hope for many children (not necessarily abused ones) through one of its projects, Bantay Edukasyon or BEDUK.
Started in 1998, the education component of Bantay Bata 163, known as BEDUK for short, was envisioned to be an aftercare mechanism for rescued children who had been reunited with their families. It is an educational assistance project that provides K-12 in the form of scholarships to deserving reintegrated children from Children’s Village and to those in a situation of poverty.
As mentioned earlier, beneficiaries of BEDUK are not necessarily survivors of abuse or rescued children of BB163. But since the project recognizes the right of every child to education, it is also a vital part in giving children a better future through quality education.
One of the BEDUK scholars who has been able to turn a new page in her life is “Christine,” a mass communications graduate. Here is an excerpt from her story in the BB163 book:
“Just a few months after her high school graduation, Christine’s father was laid off from work. He also fell ill and soon after died, leaving his family in deep debt. Christine’s mother, a teacher, decided to let Christine and her two other siblings live with their aunt to enable them to continue their studies. She would regularly send them money, but it was barely enough to cover her late husband’s hospital bills which they continued to pay long after his death.
“Christine lost all hope of ever going to college until a church mate convinced her to apply for a BEDUK scholarship. After acing the test and interview, Christine was given a scholarship at a reputable college in General Santos City.
“It was Davao-based BB163 social worker Connie Casing who motivated Christine to finish her studies after learning that Christine’s relative would always discourage her, telling her that like most teen-aged girls from her town, she will just end up getting pregnant early and not finish school.
“’Ms. Connie regularly comes to Gen San to visit me. She makes the three-hour trip just to keep me inspired and motivated. We have a favorite bakeshop where we meet. She reminds me to work hard and tells me that so many people want to help me so I need to be successful. I dreamt of overcoming poverty so I can support my two siblings. There is no motivation more powerful than that.’
“In 2017, Christine finally realized her dream of finishing college. She earned a degree in mass communications and is now working to support her two siblings. She is now working towards her goal of buying a house for her mother and siblings.”
This is just one of the stories of a BB163 education scholar and there are thousands more. It is quite touching to note that sponsors of BB163 of more than two decades ago continue to assist the program, a testament to the social impact that the program has given to its beneficiaries of more than 20 years. These sponsors are airlines, other foundations, civic organizations, overseas Filipino organizations, coin banks supporters and the like. The BB163 sourcebook will provide a list of longtime sponsors. Watch for the BB163 book and see how ALKFI has changed the world of thousands of abused children through the decades, and continues to do so. (Story/Photos by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)
“Kaloy” (center) says being a BEDUK scholar motivates him to study hard