Poverty wreaks havoc in families and robs hope from the hearts of those caught in it's destructive cycle. It ruins lives and makes people do things that are unthinkable - like abandoning their children and letting them fend for themselves on the streets. The more time our team spends in Bogo, Northern Cebu, the more street children we keep finding, each with their own sad story and wounded soul. They need food and clothing, health care and education, and most of all, they need love and protection.
On any given night, several children can be found sleeping on cardboard placed on top of the cement sidewalks by the largest store in town. Others can be seen sleeping on benches or on the stage in the central plaza. Still many more can be found sleeping on tables in the market area, and yet it seems that very few people seem to care about them. Worst of all, many of these children have suffered heinous physical and sexual abuse at the hands of local and foreign pedophiles and human trafficking groups.
Five of the boys who are now in our Crisis Intervention Home were severely sexually abused by a 70 year old pedophile from Maine, USA. A total of four foreign pedophiles have been caught by the Bogo police so far this year, and word is out that children in Bogo and Northern Cebu are open game for local and foreign pedophiles and Human Trafficking rings. The only way for us to be able to protect them is to have a large enough home for all of the abandoned street children in this town and region, and a big enough budget to be able to feed, clothe, and educate all of them every day, and to be able to add local members to our Bogo staff. We could also use an army of volunteers to assist our licensed social worker and Bogo Director, Collyn Laurio, as she gives her life day and night for these precious children.
A few weeks ago, a 13 year old street boy in Bogo was taken and abused so severely that he died, and yet nothing was done to find or prosecute the offender. All that has happened to the street children in this town during the past year has shown us the urgency of providing round the clock protection and care for these children who no one else seems to love. In attempting to do this, we face stringent government requirements that we must fulfill. Right now, Our Crisis Intervention Home is too small to add more children - we urgently need to find and add a second house, and eventually buy or build a very large building that can house all of the children. Recently, we walked to the plaza at 10:00 pm with a visiting team from BTBF in Dallas, and found 3 more young boys abandoned there. We fed them and carried them for two hours, but could not bring them to our shelter home since it is filled to capacity. Around midnight, we had to return them to the piece of cardboard that they had placed on top of the sidewalk by a large store in town. As we left them there, we wept and struggled in our hearts with two burning questions, "How can there be so many abandoned children on the streets?" and "How can we find an army of love to help us provide a home filled with love and protection for them before it's too late?"