Streetchildren of Akay Kalinga Center (Zamboanga City)

The Akay–Kalinga Center is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) servicing the street children of Zamboanga City since 1998. It has been run by Katilingban para sa Kalambuan, Inc. with the prime purpose of providing the children with safe and comfortable shelter to stay and acquire positive learning as well as develop their full potential through various activities.

Akay-Kalinga is an alternative home for children where atmosphere of peace, love, respect and care are observed. It also helps children grow and develop into self-actualized, self-reliant, socially adaptive and economically productive persons. This is accomplished through effective, sustainable and holistic programs designed to cultivate their utmost potentials. It gives due regard to upholding the street-children’s rights to survival, protection, participation and full development.

To date, the centre serves up to 45 children, center and street based children daily whose ages range from 7-18 years old. It also extends its program to various community based children where they necessitate immediate interventions. Since 2004 Kapatiran, through its fundraising had been able to extend € 5000,- per year for the education of the children and € 800,- for infrastructure of the center.

The action Program Components of the Center are:

6.1. Social Services

The center facilitates 24 hours shelter for children who seek shelter after a hard days work on the street. It provides nutritional supplemental feeding thrice a day and other basic needs such as health care, personal grooming, sports and recreational activities. In addition, there are also para-legal services, psychological counselling for children and parents, and conducting case studies.

6.2. Educational Component

a. Formal education
This program provides educational assistance to deserving children who signify their interest to enter formal schooling. For the centre, it is a challenge to send more children to attend regular school and ensures that they acquire excellent learning and facilitate good attitudes towards studies.

b. Center-based instruction is literacy and short-term skills-based programs aims at helping the street children obtain practical competencies, as well as instilling values and attitudes needed for responsible and productive living. It is also a venue for children to acquire basic literacy as preparatory for those children who signify to enter formal school.
c. Street-based education is a street based alternative learning for children who seldom go to the centre. It undertakes various activities to facilitate good learning and ensures that they will be protected from any atrocities in the street.

6.3. Socio-Economic Component
The older children are trained in vocational skills. Lectures are conducted on simple micro-economic entrepreneurship. The children are supervised to engage in income generating projects. Assistance is extended on marketing and distribution of products. They are also helped in identifying places for work. Placements in establishments and other business units for employable children are facilitated. In this, special concern is given to their right against exploitative child labour.

6.4. Advocacy Work
The influential sectors of society are encouraged to show genuine concern towards the condition of the street children. Awareness, understanding and active support and cooperation are elicited from the policy makers, government organizations, civic and religious groups, mass media and the academic institutions. Lobbying, intensified information dissemination and conducting seminars on the rights of children on existing laws and international declarations for the care and protection of children are some of the activities.

6.5. External Coordination and Networks
The Center links up with other service providers and like-minded groups and institutions. This makes accessible necessary services especially those outside the scope and capability of the Center.