Orphanage for Muslim children inaugurated

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COTABATO CITY: Foreign and local officials here on Saturday inaugurated an orphanage for Muslim children abandoned by their parents in  Muslim Mindanao.

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The inauguration of Ugur Suleyman Soylemez Orphanage in Barangay Tamontaka 1 was graced by Turkish Ambassador to Manila Esra Cankorur and Omer Kesmen, representative of Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) humanitarian foundation.

Turkey-based IHH supports the Bangsamoro Development Authority (BDA) program for orphans dubbed as “Orphanage Care” that would cater to at least 1,000 children annually.

Norhana Kabagani, focal person of the BDA Communication Group, said the orphanage, which was named after its donor, is accepting children left by their parents in  Bangsamoro communities.

Accoding to Kabagani,  the program has “in-house and distant” types of sponsorship.

“In-house orphan service provides full accommodation for children at the center, with education and food support,” she said.

“Distant orphan service provides monthly allowance for the accepted children, who are  not necessarily housed in the center,” Kabagani added.

The Turkish government recently began linking the country’s foundations to support development in Bangsamoro communities through BDA.

Last year, the IHH and other Turkey-based foundations, implemented socio-projects in select areas in Muslim Mindanao, including  the Qurbani and Iftar annual programs being held during the month of Ramadan and Muslim festivals.

The IHH had also tied up with BDA in providing relief assistance to families displaced by conflicts.

The orphanage is among many in the Philippines that receive support from groups and individuals abroad.

Neglected centers for children, such as orphanages, are seen as vulnerable targets for radicalization.

Cankorur said “caring for the children, investing in  them thru proper education, guidance and support, arein fact the best investments for a society. These [concerns]become more important and sacred if orphans are involved, since they are the most vulnerable members in any society.”

Mohammad Yacob, BDA executive director, promised that “the BDA will give the best it can in providing the children a safe and secure home.”

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