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30 July: Philippines Network Spotlight - Bidlisiw Foundation

Arise is continuously growing its network and supports frontline anti-slavery groups in the Philippines. Philippines Programmes Coordinator, Emmanuele Marie Parra​, writes about the Bidlisiw Foundation.

Recently, Arise formed a partnership with Bidlisiw Foundation to support their programs. Bidlisiw Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to provide access, opportunities and hope for the most marginalised children, families, and communities.

Through Arise’s grants, Bidlisiw Foundation has organised multiple activities in recent months. First, they formed and trained thirty youth leaders in schools and communities to become members of Peer Support Group from the major cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Danao, Lapulapu, and Camotes Island. The PSG's main advocacy is on children's rights and prevention of human trafficking, including Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC), but they also integrate substance abuse prevention and adolescent reproductive health as cross-cutting issues experienced by their members and peers.

Second, the PSG members conducted two confidence-building exercises by organising a celebration of Women’s Month, the goal of which was to raise awareness on teenage pregnancy and the newly approved RA 11596, also known as the Anti-Child Marriage Law. They also facilitated a session on World Day Against Child Labour with the topic of Children’s Rights, highlighting the right of a child to develop through education. The members also emphasised that allowing children to work instead of putting them to school is a violation of their rights.

Lastly, in April, ten Peer Support Group members conducted a two-day Mental Health Psychosocial Support for the sixty-seven children of Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Sawang Calero, and Mambaling. They discussed the four major children’s rights including survival, developmental, protection and participation. They also raised awareness on the abuses and exploitation that are rampant in their communities.

Overall, more than a hundred of children and young leaders participated in Bidlisiw Foundation’s activities. They were able to empower the participants to take leadership roles in major events, and raise awareness of the most pressing issues in the society. This project wouldn’t be successful without the support of and guidance of Arise.

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