After years of living in the streets of Cebu City, “Kokey” finally learned how to read at the age of 17. He is now motivated to go back to school as a first grader despite his age and be integrated back into his own family.
Once a dirty, stinky, raucous street child, Kokey is now a groomed and behaved teenager. Most importantly, he has strengthened his spirituality, which helped him transform into the better person he is today.
Kokey is one of the 70 streetchildren whose lives were transformed by Dilaab Foundation Inc. through its Youth for Empowerment and Restoration Program.
YERP is helping streetchildren in Cebu by teaching them good habits and empathy so they will become dignified and responsible individuals by nurturing their mind, body and soul.
To support this noble program, Carmen Copper Corp., a mining company based in Toledo City, provided funds to Dilaab Foundation Inc. for the feeding of the 70 kids this school year 2018-2019.
While they are in school, the kids shall receive one free meal a day for five days a week to improve their health and nutrition, and at the same time encourage them to attend classes daily.
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, Dilaab Foundation chairman, thanked Carmen Copper and revealed the help came at an opportune time, because the foundation needed funds for the feeding component of YERP. “Indeed, God is always ahead of us,” he said.
Before, these street kids were subjects of ridicule and countless life threatening circumstances. They turn to the streets not because they were willing, but because of challenging circumstances at home, the priest said.
“Before, they were ‘yagit’ [filthy]. But they have changed so much, and now they are the ones supporting other street kids,” Diola said.
Dilaab provides the children spiritual and values formation and teaches them basic but essential things like proper hygiene. The foundation also assists in processing their enrollment and monitors their performance in school by directly coordinating with their teachers.
“Indeed it takes a community to raise a child. We just need to help each other,” Diola said.
Carmen Copper, through its Social Development and Management Program, supports initiatives like YERP that empower individuals to become self-sufficient in the future.
Among Carmen Copper’s focus areas under SDMP is providing quality and inclusive education for all. Other focus areas include quality healthcare services, livelihood, public infrastructure, preservation of cultural heritage, and disaster resilience and rehabilitation.
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