Many will have heard of the War on drugs and this is an ongoing campaign of the Filipino government to try to tackle the serious drug problems in the country. Sadly, many of the youth who live in poverty still end up becoming involved with drugs.
Inhaling solvents is very common on the streets of Manila, with even young children becoming addicted. Sometimes they are referred to as ‘rugby boys.’ For these youngsters, sniffing solvents is their only escape from hunger and despair, as it provides short term relief to hunger and pain. However it poses chronic health problems and puts lives in danger.
Earlier this year, a temporary shelter was begun to address the needs and concerns of children inhaling solvents. The project is called Project Sagip Batang Solvent (PSBS) Reformation Centre. At the moment it is a government pilot project in Quezon City. This is the part of Metro-Manila where the CCM Community work is based.
Hopefully the project will be of help to some of our younger clients who attend the Drop-in Centre. Children admitted to the shelter are provided with secure accommodation. Trained staff handle the daily concerns of the children as they help them to recover from substance abuse and violence. They are seeking to rebuild their self-esteem and to help them take steps to live independent drug-free lives. There are group activities, an Alternative Learning System and the teaching of Life Skills. The hope is that these children and their families will escape the cycle of substance abuse.
The project is working with other government offices and other non-government agencies in Quezon City; agencies like CCM. We are excited by this project as it is really seeking to create a better future for these children by supporting them and showing them love and care.
At CCM we are glad to not just have these opportunities to help physically and emotionally but also spiritually. We can share the good news of the gospel with these broken youngsters who have so little hope. We can share with them the great hope we have in the Lord Jesus. Every Thursday at the Church Drop-In Centre, the gospel is faithfully taught, not just to the adults but to the children also. Please pray for this ongoing ministry and for the Social Workers as they help these people who are in desperate need.
Tina Ablao has worked as a Social Worker for 16 years in CCM and is currently leading the CCM Community Program. She has written a paper about the new pilot project and has been given the opportunity to share more about this at two international conferences in October. We thank God for this opportunity. Please pray for the preparations for her speaking engagements and that she will have the opportunity to share not only the tasks of a Social Worker but also share about the great life-transforming power of the gospel of the Lord Jesus.