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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – For two years, Refuge of Hope International, a non-government organization in the city has been a beacon of hope and a place of healing for abused girls from all over the province.
Established on June 2020, the center has a mission to “To help survivors of abuse, exploitation, and extreme poverty, to find hope and healing in the love of Christ shown through prayer and counselling, and to improve the lives of girls in a violence free environment through systemic, proper intervention”
According to Cheryl Flor Mayyam Domingo, at present the center is a safe haven for a dozen of girls, the youngest of which is seven years old, who were victims of rape perpetrated by adults who exercise moral ascendancy over them. She added that they have observed an increase in cases during the pandemic as the victims were quarantined with their perpetrators while some has been victim for years.
Refuge of Hope is supported by the Blessed Eternal Hope Church located in Bulanao Norte and churches from United States and Canada.
During the center’s founding anniversary celebration on June 1, City Public Information Officer Aurora Amilig, representing Mayor Darwin C. Estrañero said that the city government is committed to continue providing support and assistance of any form to the center.
Speaking to the girls she said: “You are not alone. Adda dagiti manang ken manong yu ditoy center, from DSWD, ken the city government’s door is always open for you. Keep faith in God as you discover His plans for you,” she said.
Macfarlyne Estino Bumosao of Kalinga office of the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD-PAT) is grateful to the center, saying that since it opened, children in the province have a refuge that is closer to home, instead of being referred to DSWD’s haven in Baguio City.
“Very thankful iti office ti DSWD ta haan kamin nga marigatan, ta previously di awan daytuy nga center dagiti partner tayu from MSWDO ken CSWDO, i-refer da kanyami through SWAD tapos dagiyay nga ubbing ket i-refer mi isuda diyay Baguio nga nagaddayo… idi naopen daytuy no need nga clients maiyapan idiay Baguio, mabalin nga i-refer tayu ditoy,” he said.