During the big gathering at Santo Thomas university this morning, in front of hundred thousands of youth, the Holy father listened with emotion to the testimonies of Jun Chura, 14 years old, and Glyzelle, 12 years old, street children sheltered by ANAK-Tnk Foundation after having experienced the worst in the streets of Manila. «Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it’s not the fault of the children? », asked Glyzelle bursting into tears.
The Holy Father then embraced them for a long time. The very emotional scene is a strong illustration of the Papal’s visit theme: compassion. «One must ask himself : did I learn to cry when I see a child who is hungry, a child using drugs in the street, a child without a home, a child abandoned, a child abused, a child used by a society as a slave?» hammered the Holy Father with firmly. No doubt, this image will be one of the most moving of the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines.
January 16th:… Euphoria! After celebrating Mass in Manila’s cathedral, Pope Francis came through the doors of Anak-Tnk fondation to surprise more than 300 street children who all exulted in jubilation!
« Those children, the poorest among the poor are for sure the most vulnerable victims of our society. But they remain masters of joy, as one can see on their smiling faces. » Rev.Fr. Matthieu Dauchez, priest and Director of the Foundation, said with emotion to the Holy Father.
Pope Francis is tirelessly reminding us the need to listen to the poor. This visit to many children who faced horrors of the street, like begging, violence, drugs, prostitution reminding us, once again that he is the Pope of the forgotten. « This is awesome… he gave me a huge warm hug! » shared Alvin, 10 years old. The children were hoping to have a chance to meet him: last September, ANAK-Tnk launched a campaign called « Even us? » with thousands of letters mailed to Pope Francis.
Last May, the media-web branch of the “Chemin Neuf Community”, NET FOR GOD, came to produce a documentary at the heart of the foundation in Manila. The DVD “The Secret of Joy” just came out and is available in 15 languages. Lenght: 34 minutes.
“In Manila, capital of the Philippines, numerous children of the slums, or that live out in the Streets, abandoned by their families are left to their own device, being easy preys for any types of predators. A foundation, ANAK-Tnk, carried out by a French priest, Rev.Fr.Matthieu Dauchez, fights to tear them away from the worse and build with them their future. At the heart of distress, the experience of a light, of joy being stronger than anything, which finds its roots in union with Christ.
Left to their own devices in the streets of Manila, these children have no other solution than begging, stealing, taking drugs and prostituting. In a city where poverty is at every street corner, any way to get money to survive is a good way. It is surprising to see how easily and how often these children in the streets of Manila get abused. A law exists that strictly condemns it but is poorly applied in many cases. The vast majority of the foundation’s children have been sexually abused in the street. The victims are barely heard by a corrupt justice, thus creating a situation highly favourable to these conscienceless predators…
After witnessing the injustice and wounds caused by these abuses, ANAK decided to act to protect these children and give them credit.
The foundation therefore created “Agapay”, an aiding group aiming to:
– take care of the victims,
– prevent the situation upstream,
– act on the ground, which means take part in the police operations in cooperation with local authorities and ensure the follow-up of the complaints, with the assistance of pro bono lawyers.
The book « Begging for love« , written by Rev.Fr.Matthieu Dauchez, Executive Director of the Foundation in Manila is for sale. Rev.Fr. Matthieu Dauchez shares with us lessons of dignity, courage and love taught by the children. A spiritual journey into the hearts of the poorest.
Blessed Mother Teresa used to say: “The poor give us more than what they can receive from us” . She would go on “Today, it isfashionable to talk about the poor, unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk to them” . Perhaps we should add: “Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to let them talk” .
Here is, in one sentence, what this honest essay would like to attempt to do. Words will inevitably be treasons. Anyhow, let us hope that they will shed some light on what the poorest among the poor bring to our world.
Will you dare to let the poorest children teach you the greatest lessons of life ?
Price sale is $20. All proceeds will go to the Foundation in Manila.