The Marist Sisters are supporting a centre in the Philippines that takes care
of, and provides a home for, children of street women and prostitutes.

Auckland diocese vicar for religious Sr Jane O’Carroll, SM, who visited Balay Banaag recently, said she was impressed and touched by what the sisters are doing in Davao City.

“I was really inspired and quite moved. You can see how the children
are well-cared for,” she said. “The sisters are trying to lift them (children) out of the cycle of poverty and prostitution.”

Sr Jane said the children were vulnerable — when they were living with their mothers — to abuse from the same men that were using their (children’s) mothers.

She said most of the children were referred to the centre by social workers.

Others were delivered to the sisters’ care by mothers who felt their children would be safer at the centre.

The centre provides the children with basic needs, such as food and shelter
and gives them emotional support and moral guidance.

“The sisters would take them to school and pick them up after school to protect them from the men who would abuse them,” Sr Jane said.

The children are also taught catechism at the centre.

Sr Jane said, at the moment, there are about 15 to 20 children there.

“What they need are stationery items, pens and, perhaps, children’s
books,” she said.

Sr Jane added that financial help would be welcome and the sisters can make sure the funds go to the project.