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Overcoming Childhood Poverty Through Education

July 11, 2016 ·  By Francisco B. Bermido Jr.

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Overcoming Childhood Poverty Through Education

Despite the government’s efforts to provide free basic education to all, every year thousands of children drop out of school due to poverty and problems in the family and become vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Only a few of these children get the proper intervention that will put them back on track to a life of freedom and dignity. One such child is Leila who at the age of one was orphaned by her father and lived with her grandmother. When she turned five, she lived with her mother who by then has a live-in partner who abused her for five years whenever her mother was at work and she was left alone with him. She did not dare tell anyone about it because he threatened to kill her and her mother if she did.

To escape from the abuse, Leila run away from home and stayed on the streets. This angered her mother who then had no idea what she was going through. She lost interest in her studies and eventually dropped out of school. She turned to an aunt to whom she confided the abuse she was experiencing in the hands of her mother’s live-in partner. They told her mother about it but she refused to believe Leila.

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Aftercare clients receive school supplies and financial assistance from the Project to keep them in school.

In the absence of a caring family and of a safe home, Leila was referred to the Preda Home in September 2013. Like many children who were victims of abuse, Leila at first was troubled and but with constant guidance, counseling, support and affirmation she began to trust the Preda social workers and houseparents and realized her self-worth and dignity.

The criminal case filed by Leila against her abuser was initially dismissed by the prosecutor but upon the appeal filed by Preda the case was elevated to the Court. Her abuser was arrested and paid bail. Leila already finished her testimony in Court. Last April 2016, she graduated from elementary as valedictorian of her class.

Leila is an inspiration to other children, all 51 of them, who were enrolled in school last June 2016 through the Preda-Phil-Am Fund project. This includes 12 aftercare and outreach clients some of whom were former residents of the Preda Home but are now healed and reintegrated to their supportive families and enrolled in schools in their respective communities. The aftercare and outreach clients receive monthly financial educational assistance through their individual ATM’s. The Preda-Phil-Am Fund project also gave them school supplies, bags, shoes and uniform last month.

This educational assistance will keep them in school, free from abuse and human traffickers and will give them a new life to look forward to. There is great hope that they would overcome childhood poverty through education.

Telling Our Story
U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington, DC 20523-1000
http://stories.usaid.gov

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