1. The early days
The story of Virlanie starts in 1987, when a French social worker, Dominique Lemay - fondly called “Kuya Dom” - first came in the Philippines to conduct a study on street children. In 1988, he and Florence Caponong, a Filipino government social worker founded Masigla Foundation. Masigla Foundation closed in 1991, and this marked Virlanie’s beginnings. Virlanie Foundation’s framework was set based on Masigla Foundation staff’s learning and experiences along the years.
2. Giving back the smile to street children
Virlanie Foundation is a private, non-profit and non-sectarian organization reaching out to marginalized children and communities in the Philippines. Their tagline ‘giving back the smile to street children’ describes perfectly the vision of the organisation. Since its creation in 1992 by the French social worker Dominique Lemay, Virlanie helped more than 17,000 children in need of special protection through its various programs divided into 7 pillars: community, street, residential, health, education, integration and advocacy.
3. Hello mobile school
Back in 2006, a mobile school was sent to the Philippines and Virlanie Foundation became the first organisation to start working with the mobile school in Asia. Almost 15 years after its arrival, the Mobile Unit team of Virlanie is still using the tool to reach out to street-connected children in the areas of Metropolitan and Aroma in Manila.
4. Contacts and impact
Many years of working on the streets in different areas of Manila have resulted in extremely high impact statistics. Over the past years, the dedicated team of the Mobile Unit (MU) stayed mostly stable and consistently hit the streets with their street-based education programme for street-connected youngsters. With over 1000 sessions and over 30 000 participants, it is crystal clear the educators of Virlanie’s MU are true mobile school experts!
5. Pre-corona follow-up training
In February 2020 – just before international travel came to a standstill because of the COVID-19 virus – a one-week follow-up was conducted with the team of Virlanie in Manila. During a week full of workshops and street visits, the team reflected on the use of the mobile school and created new educational activities adapted to the local context.
6. Locally printed educational materials
Since shipping new educational panels abroad can sometimes pose a challenge, the team of Virlanie also printed some of the new mobile school panels locally during the follow-up week. Thanks to a local print shop, the Mobile Unit now has a brand-new package of educational materials to attach to their mobile school, ready to continue their amazing work for young people in Manila for many more years to come!