Sheilou became the face of LCP during the 25th Anniversary this year. She is 6 years old, has never been to school and is the youngest of 9 siblings. Three siblings married at a young age and their mother brought her son and five of her daughters to Dumaguete to live in a squatter area with their grandmother because their father was very sick.
Life was very hard for these children who were discovered by the School On Wheels Program (SOW) scavenging and looking for scrap materials to sell to junk shops to help buy food for the family.
The kids looked after the father who had liver cancer while the mother worked as a full-time housemaid. LCP was able to persuade the parents to send Jen, Jennifer and Janna to SOW for 3-4 hours a day for 10 months in 2012. But Sheilou and her brother were kept at home. Each day in SOW the teacher feeds the children a nutritious meal and she noticed that the girls always saved part of their food to carry home to their father to help him get better. Sadly he died later that year and the mother was left to raise all the children alone. She sent her son back to the mountains to other relatives to work while keeping the girls in a tiny, dingy house with one room with a broken down toilet behind. Electricity was hooked to a neighbor and used only as absolutely necessary. They cook outside on an open fire. Their grandmother is very frail but does her best to help, buying and selling scrap and keeping a small store selling mongo beans and dried fish, earning about $1.25 per day. There are many days when they all go hungry.
Soon their mother found another man and moved all the girls with her except Jennifer whom she made work as a house-maid in her place for two months before taking her with them. The Grandmother reported the status of the children to the LCP Social Worker. With the help of the Philippine Army and municipal social worker they were able to locate the children who were in a remote area occupied by insurgents who fight against the government. Because no vehicle could travel there, they had to wait.
In December, 2014 they were informed that 3 of the girls had run away because of cruelty of the step father. Sheilou and Jarios had been left behind. They had been physically and emotionally abused and made to work in the cane fields with only root crops to eat. Janna was threatened with a machete at her throat. There were also attempts of molestation experienced by the girls. Their mother had also been abused and was again pregnant but soon miscarried the baby.
Having very little education and limited means of supporting her family Sheilou’s mother always finds another man and the same circumstances start all over again. After the last man attempted to rape the older sister, the older girls were recommended to live at the LCP Wee Women’s Dorm. Sheilou however remains with her mother. Behind the beautiful smile of this precious little girl who only weighs about 35 pounds you find a life filled with fear, sadness, grief and abuse. Ellen Flanagan, from Hudson, Illinois has reached out through sponsorship to bring love and hope into her little life. Sheilou has started school for the first time and is a part of the LCP malnourished program. Jen and Jennifer are living happily in the shelter at LCP and we are all praying that this family will have a new start in 2015. Their mother is attending Bible Study and Sunday Worship at LCP and through counseling we are praying that their lives will be changed for the future. Sheilou and her siblings are examples of the many children who need help and hope through sponsorship and the dorm programs.
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