BDO Foundation and CAMELEON Association, an international non-profit organization that promotes the rights of children, have completed the construction of CAMELEON Negros Center, a safe haven for abused children in Silay City, Negros Occidental.
Located at Barangay E. Lopez, roughly 30 minutes from Bacolod City, the center was officially opened in ceremonies witnessed by BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito, BDO Foundation program director Rose Espinosa, BDO Negros Occidental-Silay branch head Price Castor and officers of partner organizations. In attendance were Cooperation Humanitaire Luxembourg president Francois Prum, Silay City mayor Mark Andrew Golez and Zonta Club of Makati-Ayala representative Rita Dy. They were joined by CAMELEON officers led by its president Atty. Jose Cochingyan III, executive director Heide Foulc and founder Laurence Ligier.
“Together, we can do great things,” Ligier remarked. “CAMELEON is supported by countries like Belgium, France and Luxembourg, private NGOs, foundations and big corporations all over the world. However, we cannot depend on foreign funding forever. I’m grateful to BDO Foundation, our biggest local partner, for co-financing the construction of CAMELEON Negros Center with us.”
The center is the result of a partnership BDO Foundation forged with CAMELEON back in 2016. The corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank staunchly supports CAMELEON’s advocacy to promote the dignity of children and protect their human rights. Through this corporate citizenship initiative, the foundation hopes to contribute to the rehabilitation of abused and underserved Filipino youth.
The development center was also made possible with the support of the local government of Silay, which generously donated an 8,000-square-meter property for the project. The facility–which will be managed by CAMELEON staff, some of whom are former beneficiaries of the organization–will serve as a shelter for abused girls, a place where they can study, undergo therapy and receive counselling. With CAMELEON Negros Center completed, abused girls who need care, attention and guidance now have a place they can call home. The center, which currently accommodates 20 girls as its initial beneficiaries, will continue to accept survivors of abuse.
Founded in 1997, CAMELEON aims to protect, educate, rehabilitate and reintegrate maltreated and abused children in the Philippines as well as extend development assistance to their families. It raises public awareness of children’s rights and the prevention of abuse. The non-governmental organization has offices in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg as well as partnerships in Belgium, Singapore and the United States.