St. Martin de Porres, Bustos, Bulacan, Philippines, October 2007
Building The Village
In September important progress was made toward transforming the St. Martin de Porres home for street children into the village the John D.V. Salvador Foundation (JDVSF) has envisioned and is now helping to build.
Thanks in large part to the generous giving of friends of the JDVSF, the boys of SMDP are comfortably ensconced in their new dormitory, which was completed at the end of 2006. Now the girls of the mission, who have been living in the original structure that housed all the children for the past few years, are seeing their new quarters rise out of the ground.
As part of the ongoing efforts to prepare the children for healthy self-sufficiency, a new assisted living scheme has been developed that will offer the girls of SMDP the chance to live in a series of small cottages, the first of which has already been completed. Designed by architect Ma. Theresa Quimpo in close consultation with Father Boyet, SMDP founder, the cottages will be finished using indigenous materials so that the buildings themselves will feel like a natural feature of the inviting landscape the children now call home.
ï¿½The cottages will offer children the opportunity to experience on a smaller, more intimate scale what itï¿½s like to live in a home that by virtue of its physical comforts reflects the unique characteristics of the supportive natural environment they now live in,ï¿½ explains Eunice Cheng Chua. Given that no more than 12 to 15 children will live in any one of the four cottages planned, new ï¿½familyï¿½ units will form that will help all the children heal wounds inflicted by the trauma they fled within their original nuclear families. ï¿½The fact that the children have been learning since they came to SMDP how to care for themselves and each other means that we can now give those who are ready the chance within the cottage setting to take more ownership of caring for themselves and one another,ï¿½ says Eunice.
The first group of girls will take up residence in the first cottage, which like all of those under construction comes complete with a kitchen, completed around December. Plans are for some of the younger boys, with whom theyï¿½ve been living in the original SMDP residence to move in with them once they are settled. As always the children will continue to live under the supervision of SMDP staff and volunteers.
ï¿½The fact that some of the children are now able to live somewhat independently and care for themselves and each other shows the great progress theyï¿½ve made,ï¿½ says Eunice proudly. ï¿½They will continue to be supervised and cared for by adults, but this is one more important step in their realizing that living in a family setting can be safe, nurturing, and empowering.ï¿½