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PREDA NEWSLETTER May 1999

May 2, 1999 · 

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Childhood for Children, the therapeutic family for sexually abused children
One hundred and twenty children joined the PREDA summer camp held at a nearby beach resort. It was a holiday and an educational experience with seminars, discussions, games, sports and activities to build community spirit and self-esteem. PREDA children, youth groups from the Diocese and Filipino-American youth in the PREDA assistance programme all joined this important activity.

In the city sports competitions held in Olongapo and then the final in a nearby province, PREDA children came first in the chess competition, volleyball and tug-o-war, third in basketball and won several other prizes. Remarkable considering that only months ago, many were traumatized children recovering from the most brutal experience of physical and sexual abuse. A smaller group joined a summer camp organized by ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) south of Manila and others joined the Diocesan youth pilgrimage. Several children from the PREDA community graduated from school this year, some will go on to take a college course.

There are now 46 children in the residential therapeutic community recovering from abuse. At the end of the school year, several were reintegrated with their families and PREDA is now financing their further education. Some of the senior scholars are young teenagers rescued from bars and clubs where they were exploited in child prostitution. They are looking forward to getting part-time work in the new PREDA project refurbishing computer ink cartridges; perhaps you can help in this project. More about this will follow.

The PREDA Sportsfest team celebrate their success

New arrivals keep coming, referred by social workers. One of the latest arrivals is 16-year old Lydia, with her one year old child, Joannes, the youngest member of our family. The other children are happy to help Lydia care for him. Lydia was found by a social worker crying on the street, trying to sell her only pair of shoes. They were so worn out nobody wanted to buy them. She explained that the nightclub, where she worked as a nude dancer (also where she was sexually exploited) refused to pay her and so she had no money to feed her child. She is now settling into her new life at PREDA, but because of the lewd dancing she was forced to perform, with objects such as bottles, she has developed an internal infection. She is now being treated successfully.

Six year old Rosa is another new arrival, she was so withdrawn, frightened and traumatized from the sexual abuse by her grandfather that she did not talk for days. But now she is outside playing tag, running around both secure and happy. She gave me a big wink today in the playground when I was getting into the car.

Melanie came two months ago, but its only now that she is growing in self-confidence and is able to relate the full extent of the abuse. Her stepfather first abused her when she was 11 years old, and did it continually. The grandfather, then a neighbourhood dentist, then members of her stepbrother’s gang and then another gang gang-raped her.

Tess is a 15 year old rescued from bars in Bulacan, north of Manila. She was abused many times by a neighbour as a young child, later she was pimped to the bars and brothels, where three or four customers would be forced on her every day. Tess is belligerent, hostile, angry at the world and has even become violent with another child. But patience, primal therapy, affirmation and support are bringing her to a new level of self-awareness and giving her a more positive outlook for the future.

Children’s Theatre

Three PREDA children fully recovered from sexual exploitation by foreign sex tourists are now active child advocates. They give moving and stirring talks to many audiences on the condition of exploited children and recount their recovery in the PREDA therapeutic community. They are strong and outspoken public speakers on the rights of children. They are likely to join a theatre group consisting of former street children who present a musical on the hardships and plight of street children and their efforts to find redemption and a new life away from drugs and prostitution. The musical, called “Gold Tooth”, is due to travel around Europe this coming August -September.

Rally against the VFA

At 4.30 in the morning of March 11 a hired bus took off for Manila with about forty of the PREDA children and staff to carry their banners, streamers and placards in a rally against the Visiting Forces Agreement. This would allow foreign troops back into the Philippines with immunity from prosecution. Bishop Iñiquez, an active supporter of PREDA’s activities, joined the rally and the public hearing in the Senate committee hearing. Fr. Shay was invited to present a paper to the senate committee. It pointed out the many dangers of the VFA especially in bringing back massive prostitution of woman and children.

 

CFC children protesting against the VFA

The church is adamantly against the VFA and on May 17 held a peace rally and mass at the EDSA shrine against it. Fr. Shay was invited to join Cardinal Sin and hundreds of Priests for the event.

PREDA Community education team

The Education team brought the drug and child abuse Preventive Education Seminars to hundreds of students before the end of the school year. During the vacation they are working with the diocesan youth project. They are also visiting the beneficiaries of the micro-lending (Grameen bank) project of Fr. Sean Connaughton that is spreading throughout the province of Zambales. Fr. Sean has also established this project in many other provinces.

The Grameen bank project is established in many countries and is the most successful poverty alleviation programme in the world. The PREDA team give short inputs on children’s rights during the weekly meeting of the beneficiaries. PREDA earns from its Fair Trading activities and gives financial assistance to the micro-lending fund, which reaches the poorest of the poor. They can never get even a tiny loan from a bank for a small livelihood project because they have nothing to use as collateral. These impoverished people have a 98% repayment

Children at work during a PREDA school seminar

Legal successes

The good news this month has been the dismissal of the false charges made against PREDA by the suspected paedophiles group, opening the way for the filing of charges against them for perjury and conspiracy to divert the course of justice. The public prosecutor cited substantial evidence, including the three formal statements of the child victim saying that it was her half-brother and the houseboy who abused her.

Despite this overwhelming evidence against the teenagers, her adoptive father, Alan Dale Edmonds blocked all prosecutions against the boys by making the false allegations against us. PREDA gave the child custody and therapy and discovered evidence that Edmonds was having an intimate affair with the sister of the houseboy. No wonder he is protecting the boys even at the expense of his eight year old daughter. She lives in fear, constantly in danger of more abuse and is still held with one of her abusers – she needs help.

All our friends and readers are asked to write to: The Secretary of Justice Serafin Cuevas, Department of Justice, Padre Faure, Manila, Philippines. Or fax (63)-2-521-1614.
Also to Vice President Gloria Macapagal, DSWD Secretary, Constitution Hills, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Fax: (63)-2-831-2613

Please ask them to take the 8 year old to a safe haven away from her half-brother abuser and her domineering adoptive father Alan Edmonds and to bring the teenage abusers to justice and juvenile rehabilitation, an example of an appropriate letter follows:

Dear____, I have read about the rape of the adopted daughter of Alan Edmonds, an 8 year child of San Antonio, Zambales by her half-brother and a houseboy who abused her many times. Please take action to bring the child to justice and rehabilitation. One of them has sexually abused another child. Your immediate action for the rights of this child will be much appreciated.
Signed

The group of suspected paedophiles and backers to which Edmonds belongs is led by a German bar owner. They have been harassing us for the past two years with false and malicious prosecutions, most have already been dismissed by the public prosecutor.

PREDA has filed formal charges against them for libel, defamation and obstruction of justice. So far the state prosecutor has elevated one case against the German for obstruction of justice to the regional trial court.

Fair trade Activities

This month PREDA general manager, Merly Hermoso, and her husband, programme director, Alex Hermoso, both co-founders of PREDA were invited to the International Federation of Fair Trade (IFAT) biannual conference in Milan. All of the Fair Trade Organizations were there. During the conference PREDA will launch a new product. Refurbished and recycled computer printer ink cartridges for jet and laser printers. This project will give part-time employment to the former children rescued from brothels and bars who are now graduates from the PREDA human development programme for prostituted teenagers and who will also be going to school and college. They are asking for employment so as to help keep their younger sisters from being sold to brothels.

The empty ink cartridges are professionally overhauled, cleaned, vacuumed, refilled with the best quality ink, both black and colored, any brand and size, bubble jet and laser, packaged and boxed and sold for an attractively low price. Ours is as good as new, if any of our readers are interested or know someone who might like to become a buyer or a distributor and reseller of our remanufactured ink cartridges please contact us, we will send more information and arrange for you to get a supply. For those business people on our mailing list we are including here a price list of just a few of the most popular ink cartridges so you can see the advantages. We also need empty cartridges to recycle, see the separate page enclosed

Fr. Shay and Cong. Tanada for the VFA hearing

Every Best Wish,

The PREDA Team

For comment and inquiries contact us at:
PREDA Children’s Home
Upper Kalaklan, Olongapo City, Phils., 2200
Tel: (63) 47 223 9629 Fax: (63) 47 222 5573
Email: shaycullen@preda.org
Website: www.preda.org

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