One afternoon in May 2005, about 70 squatter children gathered at the basketball court of a compound in Felix Huertas St., in the center of Manila. TLIG volunteers prepared snacks for them and were surprised to discover that they came because someone had told them that they were going to be taught to pray. Since that day up to the present, 30-130 of the children have been coming once a week to be fed, to pray, sing and play. In June 2006, the compound’s owners generously donated the use of a 3-storey unit to the TLIG volunteers to care for the squatter children. It was then that the first Beth Myriam in Manila came to be.
The street where the basketball court is located leads to one of the two state-owned Maternity Clinics in this city of 12 million people. The number of births are so many that the inadequacy of the Clinic’s facilities obliges 2-4 laboring mothers to share a hospital bed. Not far from the clinics is the City Jail. It is surrounded by a squatter area where the wives and children of the inmates live, some children are left to survive while both parents are in jail. In this milieu of drug dealers and users, petty thieves and seamen living in boarding houses, the Beth Myriam, a haven of peace and love, welcomes 150-200 squatter children of all ages every Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. The children are happily occupied with drawing and painting lessons, singing Praise songs, dancing and are fed a hot nutritious meal. They are also taught how to pray and are given Catechism lessons. The BM volunteers also assist 50 poor families to enroll into the parochial program that provides free medical and dental service. Other activities of the Beth Myriam include daily Prayer Meetings with children of different age groups and their mothers. Recently, student volunteers from a private school, St. Mary of the Woods, have adopted the Beth Myriam for their Outreach Program for the Poor, helping the TLIG-BM volunteers in their work.
Address: Manila, Philippines
Responsible: Micaela Lara
Tel: +63 028530503
Email: [email protected]