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Street Children Choir in the Philippines

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Street Kids Choir

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December 2000. Within the walls of an obscure welfare center in Pasay City lurk the young angelic voices of innocent children gathered from the rude streets of Metro Manila. These are the singing voices of the Street Kids Choir - a small assembly of street children chanting tunes about love, hope, and yes, Christmas.

The choir has two groups - the girls and boys. The all-girls choir is comprised of 23 lasses aged between 9 and 17 years old. From the dirty streets of Manila, they found a home at the Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation Center, a non-profit organization established in 1986 by a group of kind-hearted Canadians headed by Alain Pronovost.

The choir, trained by Jun Ayran, a music teacher at Saint Mary's College in Quezon City, makes beautiful melodies that will drown anybody's heart with love and compassion. Like the tunes created by the humming birds, the sweet voices of these young girls narrate a thousand dreams and extol God at the highest.

They perform before groups of expatriates, embassy officials and those who are willing to share their sentiments. Efforts are also being made to record their songs in CDs and tapes, in an attempt to generate additional funds for the foundation.

The Kaibigan Foundation operates a residence where distressed and abused children find food and shelter from the hardship of the streets. At present, it supports the education of about 400 children from the elementary school to college.

There are about 100,000 street children in Metro Manila alone. They live in desperate poverty, suffering from poor health and often victims of drug abuse. They survive by selling cigarettes, flowers, newspapers, and sometimes, themselves.

Driven to the streets by parental neglect and social indifference, they are forced to quit school and resort to scavenging, begging, washing cars, and yes, pick pocketing. "To provide assistance and find solutions constitutes a challenge few are prepared to accept," says the Kaibigan Foundation.

But this should not be the case. Taking care of the neglected children in the Philippines is a challenge that every Filipino must accept. And this can be done even in small ways like helping them in their musical pursuits.

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