Rescuing Abandoned Kids From the Streets

Story and photos by Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Communications Specialist

A home for street kids in the Philippines provides them with more than their basic needs — the kids also receive the love and support they need to guide them to a better future.

Liby Maladia is a house parent at Ima’s Home.

What does home feel like for children?

More than the walls of a house, home should be where children feel safe and provided for, not necessarily with everything they want but with what they need like food, water, and clothes. But most important, home should be a place where kids feel loved by the people they call family.

But what if these things are missing in their lives?

Without a loving home, kids in hard places often experience neglect, abuse, and abandonment. Some end up in the streets begging for money, and some fall into the hands of an exploiter or abuser. As these vulnerable kids try to find some sense of home, they can easily get lost in this broken world.

Thankfully, caring people in Manila are committed to rescuing kids in these situations.

Child Champions from Ima’s Home for Children give us a glimpse of the hope that can shine in darkness, as they provide a home for vulnerable children in the Philippines.

The Birth of Ima’s Home

Ima’s Home for Children is an organization that brings hope and restoration to hurting, abandoned, and abused children in the Philippines. Their goal is to bring restoration among families and communities through the message of Jesus Christ.

Bouncy houses are brought in for special occasions.

Ima’s Home for Children was established in 2013 by Pastor Jim Kilgore, now president of the organization, out of compassion for children in need and as a response to God’s calling.

Sheenie Hesite, the Executive Director of Ima’s Home, recalls how the home was founded by Pastor Jim after he witnessed the alarming number of children roaming and begging in the dangerous streets of Manila.

“He saw street children selling sampaguita (jasmine flowers) and begging for money in the middle of the night under the rain,” she says.

Sheenie joined Pastor Jim in founding Ima’s Home, helping with everything from paperwork to finding the location where they would build the home. Resources came in, and they were led to a special place where they now have a refuge for rescued children.

The name “Ima” is both an homage to Pastor Jim’s mother and a local term for “mother” — a perfect name for a place where children feel motherly love.

Rescuing Kids From the Streets and Beyond

Ima’s Home aims to rescue children from the streets and provide orphaned children with a haven where they feel loved and cared for.

Sheenie Hesite is the Executive Director of Ima’s Home.

“These children are beggars,” Sheenie says. “They are neglected so they strive to survive on the streets, or they were abandoned. So we bring them to Ima’s Home through our coordination with the local government social services.”

In addition to orphaned children, some kids were voluntarily surrendered to local social services by their parents or guardians because of poverty-related issues.

“We become a temporary shelter for them because their parents could not provide for them, or there are marital problems, domestic or substance abuse in the house,” Sheenie explains. “Some are rescued from physical and sexual abuse.”

Currently, 172 children have found their new home at Ima’s Home.

The Role of House Parents

Rescued children need more than just a house where they can stay. They need to feel they belong and that they matter.

That’s why children at Ima’s Home have house parents who shower them with love and care.

“When it comes to house parenting, we tried different approaches and saw what works,” Sheenie says. “At first, we did shifting [schedules] — different house parents during the day and at night. But it felt like there was instability. Children showed different behaviors.

“And so, we did the mother approach where one house parent will be there for the children day and night. It resulted in good behavior formation for the children.”

Boys from Ima’s Home.

House parents provide for children just like real mothers, aunts, grandmothers, or older sisters do.

They ensure children have clean clothes to wear, prepare healthy meals, help them tie their shoes, stay with them and administer medicines when they are sick, take them to school, and celebrate milestones with them.

That’s why most children here call their house parents “mama” or “nanay.”

Training the Children to Become Leaders

Providing children an opportunity to discover their purpose, talents, and skills is also one of the missions of Ima’s Home. Child Champions help them develop through playing, doing chores, learning new skills like cooking and baking, and even nurturing their talents through singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments.

A stuffed animal gives this girl so much joy.

Child Champions do this because they believe in the promise of God in Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Train up a child is the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

“We have a lot of time to train, mold, and shape them to become great leaders,” Sheenie says.

Sheenie says even now they are seeing a more hopeful future for these kids.

“They are being admired in their school because they are taking the lead in instances like events. I believe they will be known as great leaders.”

Reaching More Kids in Poverty

Everything that Sheenie and the other Child Champions are doing in Ima’s Home is for the children to heal and be restored to their families (if possible) and their communities, Sheenie says.

A young boy plays in the bouncy house.

They are thankful for their new partnership with OneChild because it has opened doors for them to expand their community globally through child sponsorship.

The partnership has also provided an opportunity for the home to grow as an organization, reaching more children living in poverty.

“We are praying that God will give us more infrastructure, connections, and open doors to allow us to be a blessing and be used by God,” says Sheenie.

Home Is in the Heart

Ima’s Home wouldn’t be a home without Child Champions who are committed to bringing hope and love to the children.

As God opens more doors to Ima’s Home, may more pathways be created for these vulnerable children to find a home in the heart of a Child Champion.

Give to the OneChild Partners Fund and help our Child Champions provide hope for vulnerable children.



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