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Pag-aruga means "to care" in the Filipino language of Tagalog. It’s also the name of a ministry for street families that meets in the back parking lot of a United Methodist church office in Manila. Program leaders say it helps erase the harsh realities of life on the streets for these needy children.   

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Manila, Philippines)

My name is Angelito Meneses. I am the Director of Asuncion Perez Memorial Center, Inc.

Asuncion Perez has three major programs. We have the Disaster Response Program and then we have the Women, Children and Youth Ministries. And we have the Comprehensive Health Program for indigenous people. The main program that we are doing now is the Aruga Program which is a children’s ministry. And we conduct informal classes with the street children around the vicinity of the United Methodist Church headquarters in the Philippines. We also provide them supplemental feeding help and referrals to different institutions for formal schooling.

They learn basic life skills like cooking. And then they also play games. And then they also do some paintings, arts and singing.

Being director, I actually go to the community, to the streets and then look for street people there. And then we invite them to come to the office to avail the program.

We have actually more than 100 street children.

They are homeless with the families. They are homeless. And they are there in the streets begging. And sometimes, you know, doing some anti-social activities.

Where do they sleep at night?
They sleep under the trees, under the buildings.

What do their parents do?
They are also begging.

We have seven children. We have referred them to Gilead Center in Bulacan for formal schooling. They are meant to get out of poverty, but they’re a young age. They want to finish schooling and someday they want to get their family out of the streets.

I am here because personally this is my passion—a passion to serve the least of my brothers and sisters. So I am here actually not for work. I am here for responsibility and accountability serving these people—these marginalized people.
There is essential fulfillment doing this kind of job.

TAG:

The Asuncion A. Perez Memorial Center was started in 1969 by United Methodist Women. The center was named after a United Methodist social worker.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the United Methodist Church in the Philippines, contact the Board of Global Ministries at 1-800-UMC-GBGM or 1-800-862-4246.

Also, see: Street children find haven at United Methodist center