MANILA (KHNL) - A Hawaii-based charity celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Consuelo Foundation helps abused children, women, and families in both Hawaii and the Philippines. To give you an idea of the work they do, we visited a Manila orphanage.
It's an overwhelming sight. Dozens of babies in the room, all of them disabled. Elsie Gaches Village social worker Helen Lontok described the clients as, "Many of them are severely mentally retarded but most of them have multiple disabilities; some with Down's Syndrome, some with autism."
Many of them have never, and will never know a mother's love. They are all orphans. If not for Elsie Gaches Village, Lontok said, "They would be in the streets. They'd die very young and be overcrowded in the hospitals."
Elsie Gaches Village is the only orphanage in the Philippines for disabled people. We toured the 16 hectare compound. 620 clients who live here - children and adults, and all orphans.
Therapists pull little Christina out of her wheelchair for some exercise, though she will never walk. Christina's care, and that of tens of thousands of other needy people, is partially funded by Consuelo Foundation. Managing Director Ray Dean Salvos said, "Our focus is marginalized children and families all over the Philippines and Hawaii."
The Consuelo Foundation helps about 55,000 people a year. Lontok said, "It's so inhuman if we don't have a place like this in the Philippines. We're very grateful."