Manilla: Virlanie Home for Streetchildren

Today was an exciting day: we visited the Virlanie Foundation for street children. It was inspiring to see young children who have been through so much maintainsme semblance of innocence and childhood. It makes me wonder about the challenges my students have faced and their innate resilience.

This home, like the schools of Makati, have funding from the city or national govenrment, a basic necessities are provided (cltohes, school supplies, etc). The focus, then, becomes on how we can care for these children and help them grow and learn. They have the materials they need, people can focus on their minds and spirits.

This is a lesson that I can definitely take back home to my classroom in Hawaii. Provide the basic materials they need to learn: notebook, pencils, pens, paper. Yes they should have it themselves. Yes it’s an extra cost to provide these things for my students. Yes, many  can provide their materials on their own. But, between the hassle of students forgetting to get their supplies, or “forgetting” to get their supplies, and the shame and discomfort of having to figure out who cannot afford, and how they I can discretely determine that; and just simply having the materials there in the first place, it seems to be a no-brainer.

But what about responsibilty? What about ownership? I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Maybe I’ll have them work it off through a chore at school for a week. Maybe it’s something I work out with each student. I know if I stress the importance of their supplies, and how they’re more than just objects, but gateways to a powerful and bright future, and they understand and embrace that explanation, maybe they’ll “respect” their suppliesore and be more responsible with them, and I won’t have to worry about a lost notebook or pencil.

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