Preventing Child Neglect And Abandonment During Pandemic
More number of child neglect and abandonment are being reported due to the pandemic.
Family Strengthening Program helps ensure that no children end up becoming neglected or abandoned due to the economic crisis brought by the pandemic.
From a health crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic quickly turned into an economic crisis. Businesses closed, schools were shut, and the transportation industry froze. As a result, thousands upon thousands lost their jobs. Those who were affected the most were from the informal economy—the street vendors, drivers, daily wage earners who, even without the pandemic, were already struggling on a day-to-day basis to bring food to their families.
Losing their source of income put these families in an even more vulnerable situation. So much so that they were on the verge of breakdown which, if not mitigated, would eventually put their children at risk of becoming neglected, or worse, abandoned.
To prevent child neglect and abandonment due to the economic crisis brought by the pandemic, SOS Children’s Villages Philippines quickly responded by putting more resources in implementing its Family Strengthening Program.
“In these unprecedented times, we need to ensure that all children are properly taken care of and that their families have the means to ensure that the children do not end up becoming neglected or abandoned,” said Mr. Romil Rayos del Sol, Deputy National Director and OIC of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines.
Food supplies, hygiene kits, livelihood, and educational support were provided to at least 1,100 participating families of the Family Strengthening Program in the cities of Lipa, Calbayog, Tacloban, Cebu, Davao, and in the municipalities of Mariveles, Bataan, and Zarraga, Iloilo. The overall support amounted to more than 10 million pesos, which came from both local and international donors.
Melinda Laure with her two sons in front of their junk shop
“Our small junk shop stopped operating due to the lockdown, so we do not have enough income to buy food and other daily needs. I am thankful to be one of the beneficiaries of SOS Children’s Villages because the organization shows how they care for us and our children,” said Melinda Laure, one of the Family Strengthening Program participants.
“Receiving assistance from SOS Children’s Villages is a big help to our family, especially that nobody in the family is earning as my husband lost his job due to the pandemic,” said Marilyn Nitro, another participant of the Family Strengthening Program.
To bring back the source of income that was disrupted by the pandemic, selected families also received livelihood support from the program.
Marilyn Nitro’s children posed with the food supply they received
“Empowering families means that we must equip them with tools that can help them sustain their daily needs, especially in this time of the pandemic,” said Ms. Emily Torculas, the Village Director in Calbayog City where 12 fishing boats were distributed to selected participating families of the program.
Representatives from SOS Children’s Villages posed with the fishing boats during the turnover to the families.
But as the year 2021 begins, the situation remains full of uncertainty. Most families have yet to recover, and so child neglect and abandonment will still be a serious threat next year. No matter what, SOS Children’s Villages Philippines and its donors and supporters will continue to help vulnerable families overcome challenges and difficulties.