Mr. ANDREA CASIRAGHI VISITS THE PHILIPPINES



The son of our President has made an humanitarian journey to the Philippines from 21 to 26 August 2006 in order to raise public awareness about the many dangers threatening the childhood of the country: imprisoned children, street children, or children contamined by toxic wastes coming from former US military bases.

Together with our Secretary General, Mr Francis Kasasa, Mr Casiraghi reached out to the Philippines to examine the different actions and projects of the AMADE filipino affiliate and its partners.


21 August - Meeting the imprisoned children



Mr Andrea Casiraghi was welcomed at the Reception Action Center (RAC) and the Manila Youth Reception Center (MYRC) by Mr Barandas, deputy Mayor of Manila, and Mr Dominique Lemay, President of the Virlanie Foundation.
The RAC is a governmental service operating as a "care centre" for the street children, the homeless and the beggars. Many children are incarcerated in this place, living in such miserable conditions. One after the other, Mr Casiraghi went through the different houses, where the suffering children are staying. Mr Casiraghi has faced this crual reality by visiting many cells closely, sharing words with some imprisoned children, while Dominique Lemay was describing him their situation
At the end of the day, Ms Luli Arroyo, daughter of Mrs Gloria Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines, has received Mr Andrea Casiraghi in the Malacanang Palace, accompanied with Mr Kasasa, Mr Lemay, and Mrs Ledesma, Consul of Monaco in the Philippines. During this audience, various topics were talked over, such as the building of a centre for children released from jail, or the distribution of hot meals for all the public schools.

By the evening, M. Lito Atienza, Mayor of Manila, and the Virlanie Foundation, organised a cultural dinner for Mr Casiraghi. Songs and dances were performed by the De La Salle University Manila Chorale and the Manila Dance Group. Most of the young dancers are former street children, helped by a support programme leaded by the Mayor of Manila.




22 August - AMADE - Virlanie day



On tuesday, Mr Andrea Casiraghi went in Payatas, a place in the agglomeration of Querzon City. Hundreds of families live there on an actual mountain of wastes. Every day, tons of garbage are showered on Payatas and selected by the men, women and children who live on it. More than 500 families have built their house on this pile of garbage. The Virlanie Foundation succeeded in creating, in the frame of the "family programme", a small oasis of peace, culture and education, managed by the community members, mostly women and mothers

Protected from the sun under a big awning, the programme supervisors have welcomed Mr Casiraghi, sincerely moved by being surrounded by so many children, all of them very smiling and beaming. During that morning, Mr Andrea Casiraghi had a long talk with the residents of the shantytown, and insisted to climb the mountain of wastes. Then he took part to a lunch with the children and the community leaders in charge of the programme. Mr Casiraghi congratulated the ladies and Virlanie for the wonderful work they have done in Payatas, and he wished that AMADE could bring more help to these children by sending them academic supplies.

In the afternoon, Mr Casiraghi went to Estero Magdalena and Tondo, two others shantytowns at the periphery of Manila. Virlanie Foundation brings a financial support to the families living there. This programme aims especially to reveal collective and individual values, and bring them to self-government, reinforce the familial link and reduce the number of street children. Welcomed once again by smiling children, Mr Andrea Casiraghi congratulated and warmely encouraged the people in charge.





23 August - Visit of the care centres for children in need



The Virlanie Foundation takes care of inherited children through thirteen foster homes. Each of them can receive around twenty children, and is structured to copy the traditional filipino family scheme, so that the child can keep his references. The beneficiaries of this residential programme have usually been dropped out or abused in their past. Each home tries to answer to a special need of the child.

Within these structures, Mr Casiraghi have visited the Marco Polo Care Center, which usually hosts ten boys and ten girls; all of them are street children, who suffered abandonment from their families. He also visited the Ella Yallah Home, which caters children who have been physically abused or are in conflict with the law. They usually stay in the Home until they finish their studies or are reunified with their families, which can take many years.

Then, Mr Andrea Casiraghi met the residents of the Mother and Child Home: young mothers ans their baby, or just babies abandoned by their parents. The mothers usually stay there for six months, and the babies for three years, before they are adopted or moved to the Marco Polo Care Center. The programme aims to give the mothers education and assistance in job research.





24 August - Press conference



In front of dozens of reporters, Mr Casiraghi recalled his positive feelings about the Philippines and its wonderful youth, the reasons of his visit, as well as the strong emotions lived in Payatas.
He also reminded of the humanitarian commitment of his mother, H.R.H. The Princess of Hanover, and the amazing journey of his uncle, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, in Spitzberg, to raise international awareness about the dangers threatening our planet. He underlined that Nelson Mandela remains a character he has deep admiration and respect for, and that he will always keep in his heart the joy and the smiles of the Filipino youth.


25 August - Meeting the Filipino students



After a second visit to the RAC in the morning, Mr Andrea Casiraghi took the floor before a group of students of La Salle University. Mr Casiraghi talked them about his recent experience in the shantytowns of Estero, Tondo et especially Payatas.
By his speech, he tried to make these students understand how lucky they are, and make them realize how miserable are the living conditions of many people.





26 August - Clark Field: visiting the contamined sites



Mr Casiraghi cared about visiting the families and children contaminated by the toxic wastes of the former military bases in Clark Field.
Soon after the Gulf War ended, the US armies left this position behind and buried tons of polluting substances. Years later, these toxic wastes contamined the land and water, and keep poisoning and killing hundreds of thousands children and their families.

Two years after the visit of his mother, Mr Casiraghi went back to what is left of this former military base. He also met the families, and especially the children, suffering from physical and neurological disorders. He asked for AMADE to bring some help and relief to the families.

Enfants Syrie

 

 
 

 

 

 

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