“Let there be no child living in the streets by the end of the year.”
That was the call of Kalipay Negrense Foundation president and founder Anna Balcells on Friday, November 25, to all non-government organizations who share a passion for saving the lives of disadvantaged children in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City.
Balcells, in her speech at the opening of the three-day World Children’s Weekend spearheaded by Kalipay at SM City Bacolod, said the goal for no child to be living in the streets will be hard, without a doubt, but it can be done.
Rufina Bayatong, Suzy Peñalosa, Coleen Awit, Charles Mangga, Mhel Sillador, Carmela Gamboa, Bro. Dan Fenton, Anna Balcells, Charina Magallanes Tan, Carla Pendon, Ritchie Olivares, Julia Javellana, Ginnette Yanson Dumancas and John Gayoso (l-r) at the opening of the World Children’s Weekend*
Each organization has its own unique way of helping disadvantaged children “but we must be open to working and collaborating with our fellow NGOs to further strengthen this community”, Balcells said.
“I humbly ask you all to open your hearts and minds to the possibility of this ambitious, but much-needed feat. I ask our partners in the government, to work with us to achieve this goal,” she said.
Protecting children’s rights is everybody’s business, Balcells stressed.
“We must be there for the poor children who were otherwise neglected by their own families, and oftentimes, by society itself, “she said.
Balcells said united, NGOs can work side by side and help each other achieve their common goal to protect disadvantaged children.
“We need each other. We have each other. Ask when help is needed. Give when you have something to offer. The problems that we face are daunting, to say the least, but we don’t have to do this alone. Remember that you have this community of amazing people who will fight and defend what is best for the children,” she said.
Balcells heads Kalipay Negrense Foundation that has been rescuing and giving shelter to children victims of abuse in Negros Occidental for 16 years.
Kalipay has helped close to 400 children through the years, some of whom have been magna cum laude graduates from college, she said.
The foundation is currently caring for 116 children, including abandoned babies, at its Recovered Treasures Home in Bago City, Balcells said.
She said the Haven Home property of Kalipay in Puentebella Subdivision, Barangay Taculing, Bacolod, is up for sale because they need to raise much needed funds to run Recovered Treasurers that now houses all of their children.
“We are all driven by a dream of children being able to live their lives free of abuse and violence, “Balcells said.
“The task of ensuring that the rights of every child are upheld and protected is not an option but a solemn responsibility of the home, the government, and the entire society”, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said in his speech read for him by his Executive Assistant Charina Magallanes-Tan.
“If our generation cannot protect our children, then we fail humanity and ourselves,” Lacson said.
Kalipay Foundation, has always been an indispensable partner of the provincial government and the champion of the province for the protection and the furtherance of the interests of the Negrense children, he said.
The governor thanked Kalipay headed by Balcells for its commitment to the welfare of children and for organizing the Children’s Month Advocacy Fair by gathering the NGOs working for the causes of children in the province.
“As we celebrate Children’s Month through this Advocacy Fair, may we be able to resonate the messages of hope and compassion in making Bacolod a child-friendly city,” Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said in his speech read for him by his Executive Assistant Carmela Arcolas Gamboa.
The goal is to make Bacolod “a haven where our children are not deprived of their basic needs and rights and a safe space where they are given opportunities that can facilitate their growth, especially in literacy, health, and nutrition”, Benitez said.
He thanked Kalipay and the other NGOs “for championing and amplifying the call for inclusivity and reforms among our children”.*