My name is Christina Templin, from Wuerzburg Germany. I am 19 years old and I graduated from secondary school last year. In August I will be leaving to the Philippines to work as a volunteer for "Children’s Legal Rights Development Center Inc.” (CLRDC) in the capital Manila.
CLRDC is a non-profit legal resource human rights organization for children in the Philippines. Their goal is to protect children from all kinds of abuse, exploitation and discrimination and to ensure every child the same rights so they can develop to their full extend as self-actualizing individuals.
Unfortunately the Philippines is one of the poorest countries in the world, with almost 40% of the population living in absolute poverty. Basic human rights are being violated daily and especially children, who are supposed to be the nation’s future are suffering under theses conditions. Specifically, in the cities, they are often marginalized and constantly surrounded by criminality and violence. In 2015 more than 4,000 cases of child abuse have been reported in the Philippines.
This economic deprivation often leads to minor crimes, such as stealing and every year more than 11,000 underage children are arrested and placed in so called holding or detention centers. There, they are kept in small, dirty and crowded dorms under inhumane conditions, without access to clean water. Deprived of their basic human rights and convinced that they are criminals, they are left in there for an unsettled amount of time without the possibility to contact a lawyer or any other chance of getting out. 70% of the children even admit of being tortured during arrest, interrogation or custody.
That is where CLRDC steps in. Often the only hope for many of those children, they visit them regularly, try to provide guidance and assistance. They do not only offer free legal assistance to the children but also counsel victims of abuse and help them rehabilitate and reintegrate.
CLRDC works with local governments and other NGO’s to create different programs and workshops to educate and inform about the situation of children’s rights and to gain the interest of the public to be able to change something. They have been drafting several bills related to that subject and one of the first successful steps, protecting underage children, was the Juvenile Justice Law, which was signed in 2006 in consonance with the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child. Unfortunately, the implementation of the law is oftentimes quite poor so, CLRDC remains active in Congress, supports and steps up for the nation’s future and keeps monitoring government activity on that subject.
As a non-profit organization, they of course rely on donations and voluntary input, so they can keep their amazing work up. As a volunteer, I am now trying to gain as much support for this cause as possible, to make it possible for me to go there and make a difference at least for some of these children.
I am thankful for every little help I can get!