Twelve year old Arnil Castillo and three siblings faced the most tragic of fates. A month after being abandoned by their mother, their own father passed away. Left with no one to care for them, the siblings were brought by local government officials to the Quezon City Social Service Development Department. They were then transferred to the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village in Bulacan.
It was in their newfound home that the children began to pick up the pieces of their lives as they began engaging in the village‘s activities. But Arnil only had one primary concern:
“Kung mag-aaral po ba ako dito o hindi… Kailangan ko pong mag-aral para po kapag nakapagtapos po ako, hahanapin po namin si Mama,” said Castillo.
Arnil is only one of 39 children at the village who dream of receiving proper education. This is why Bantay Bata 163, whose pillars include a program called Bantay Edukasyon, is actively in search of scholarship grants.
In order to provide the children with a normal education, Bantay Bata 163 finds sponsors and donors to support their studies, a holistic grant not only covers their tuition expenses but also their school supplies, daily food and transportation allowances, and other fees.
Bantay Bata 163 introduced the Bantay Edukasyon program in 1998 as an aftercare service for rescued children but it has since provided 6,400 scholarships all over the country. The upcoming ABS-CBN Ball has committed to support Bantay Bata’s Bantay Eduaksyon program. In 2018, the ball helped re-open the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village.
Bantay Bata 163’s founder, the late Gina Lopez, believed that as long as there are generous people, more children can have a better future.