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An official of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. has said they want to help find a way to keep indigent children permanently off the streets and give them a brighter future.

During the Stakeholders’ Forum on Activity Centers for Children at Risk on the Streets held by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the federation’s external affairs committee chairman, Nelson Guevarra, said they want to create classrooms for street children to uplift their morale and let them experience what it is like to be in school.

During the forum that was attended by representatives of the federation, PhilSeven Foundation, Metrobank Foundation, Lopez Foundation, Villar-Sipag Foundation, Metroworld, Adarna Publishing House, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the Manila Times, DSWD Social Technology Bureau director Thelsa Biolena shared the initiatives taken by the department and local government units (LGUs) to help street children.

One such initiative is the creation of activity centers, community-based child-friendly spaces that provide a home-like environment where children and youths could freely come and go to play, learn, eat, and socialize under the watch of social workers and volunteers.

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These activity centers, Biolena said, would protect street children from the dangers of street life.

She however lamented that while some LGUs continue to operate their activity centers, there are those that find it difficult to maintain their operations due to the lack of resources and staff.

LGU representatives shared almost the same experiences and challenges they encounter in running the activity centers.

They also sought the help of stakeholders in improving the services being offered by these activity centers to enable them to sustain their operations and ensure that street children get a better future.

Guevarra meanwhile suggested a partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other organizations in teaching children such skills as soap-making and hairdressing, which they could use to help get their families out of poverty (LSJ/PNA)

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