December 2000. Within the walls of an obscure
welfare center in Pasay City lurk the young angelic voices of innocent
children gathered from the rude streets of Metro Manila. These are the
singing voices of the Street Kids Choir - a small assembly of street
children chanting tunes about love, hope, and yes, Christmas.
The choir has two groups - the girls and boys. The all-girls choir is
comprised of 23 lasses aged between 9 and 17 years old. From the dirty
streets of Manila, they found a home at the Kaibigan Ermita Outreach
Foundation Center, a non-profit organization established in 1986 by
a group of kind-hearted Canadians headed by Alain Pronovost.
The choir, trained by Jun Ayran, a music teacher at Saint Mary's College
in Quezon City, makes beautiful melodies that will drown anybody's heart
with love and compassion. Like the tunes created by the humming birds,
the sweet voices of these young girls narrate a thousand dreams and
extol God at the highest.
They perform before groups of expatriates, embassy officials and those
who are willing to share their sentiments. Efforts are also being made
to record their songs in CDs and tapes, in an attempt to generate additional
funds for the foundation.
The Kaibigan Foundation operates a residence where distressed and abused
children find food and shelter from the hardship of the streets. At
present, it supports the education of about 400 children from the elementary
school to college.
There are about 100,000 street children in Metro Manila alone. They
live in desperate poverty, suffering from poor health and often victims
of drug abuse. They survive by selling cigarettes, flowers, newspapers,
and sometimes, themselves.
Driven to the streets by parental neglect and social indifference, they
are forced to quit school and resort to scavenging, begging, washing
cars, and yes, pick pocketing. "To provide assistance and find
solutions constitutes a challenge few are prepared to accept,"
says the Kaibigan Foundation.
But this should not be the case. Taking care of the neglected children
in the Philippines is a challenge that every Filipino must accept. And
this can be done even in small ways like helping them in their musical