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For some 13 years now, Charito Chua and her husband Anthony has been carrying out an unbelievable but real mission in Davao City: to feed homeless kids and take them in, and treat them like family.
Make no mistake though: they’re no millionaire. What they share is whatever they have in their fridge, and they even whole-heartedly give a space for the orphans in their own abode.
Charito, one of Yahoo! PH’s Pitong Pinoy finalists, shares that it all started in a dream, where babies were being sold to her at 3-for-P100. She took it as a sign from the heavens and made a big leap into transforming the lives of parentless kids in her vicinity.
“We went out and fasted for three days. We prayed for it. We then decided to continue the service full time. Tinalikuran namin ang aming business,” Charito, a born-again Christian, told Yahoo! Southeast Asia.
Charito said giving up a flourishing business was a small price they had to pay, just so they can fulfill their calling. They realized though that carrying out the mission was harder.
“Lumabas kami, lumapit sa mga street children. Pinapakain namin pero takot sila. And so we went to gov’t agencies, and connected with them through our feeding program,” she said. Eventually the kids trusted her.
“Sumama na sila sa amin, simula noon ayaw na nila bumalik sa street. Dumami sila. We live upstairs, sila downstairs,” said Charito, noting that her adoptees were from ages 4-17.
Charito said when children want to stay with her, she initially makes a background check to make sure they are really orphans. She accompanies the kids to a TV station.
“Some grew up in the streets, abandoned or abused. Some of them walang apelyido [even had no surnames],” she said.
When her “family” got bigger, fate stepped in and gave her an opportunity to adopt more children. Caltex donated a building in Davao which then served as the homeless kids’ home. Food, beds, cabinets came in too. And since more people sought shelter, Charito decided to hire a social worker, whose salary comes from a friend’s donation. It was the birth of the Love the Children Foundation, an institution that truly lives up to its name.
Charito has since adopted dozens of kids, many of whom are already graduates and have successful careers. She said she was able to send some to school when she coordinated with sponsors and through the goodwill of University of Mindanao.
“Ang mga bata if you only show them love they would really reciprocate. We are really a family,” said Charito, adding that her adoptees have called her ‘Mama.’
Currently, she has 16 children under her care. She is also teaching them to get a living out of making peanut brittle. She also helping the orphans make jewelry for selling so they can earn profit.
Recently, a good friend also donated a classroom, which allowed other children having difficulties in a normal school get a chance at education. Charito’s Love the Children Foundation has also been accredited as an alternative learning system under DepEd. Now, what started to be a home for the homeless has become a school and a community outreach ministry.
“We are a real family, if they will know na mahal mo sila, they will stick with you. And yes, miracles really happen,” said Charito.