Kanlungan – a shelter for ‘the lost children’

Kanlungan Sa Erma

Kanlungan is a Christ-centred organisation founded in January 1988 on God's loving provision to serve children and families in need and to offer special protection in response to the growing menace of abuse and exploitation among street children. It is a non-stock, non profit making agency and is governed by a Board of Trustees and licensed by the Social Work Deparment. It was founded and has been run by Sol Balbero for the last 25 years.

The name… 'Kanlungan' means refuge and 'Erma' stands for 'ERmita' and 'MAlate'. These two areas were formerly "red light" districts of Manila, where the work was started as a Christian outreach to street children by some volunteers led by Sol Balbero some 25 years ago. It values all children as precious gifts from God who should be valued, helped and nurtured. Then it became a small drop-in centre that accommodated about 30 children, with few funds or staff or volunteers. It has grown from its original building to having six centres over a wide area across Manila, Laguna and Cavite, and over 30 staff. It houses over 100 abandoned, abused, exploited or homeless children. It also serves hundreds of families living on the streets surrounding the centres. The families and children have assistance with many needs including schooling, bible teaching, recreational activities, counselling, feeding, training, advice and much more. They work with local authorities to provide financial assistance for families to start livelihood projects to improve their economic situations. Sol says "It is a dream come true and an answer to many prayers. God has guided through the hills and valleys of Kanlungan's existence.


Every child living at Kanlungan has to work and learn skills to prepare them for effective adult life in the future.

In 2005, with funds provided by Dorcas (Wessex) Trust, Kanlungan acquired two hectares of farm land to supply produce for the children and street families.

The land has established fruit-growing trees including coconut, mangos, coffee, black pepper and bananas. This has been developed into a working farm which provides work for older boys who have left the Kanlungan homes. It also provides food for the Centre. A water pumping system has been built in a dedicated building to provide clean water for the farm and for irrigation. The coffee for the Kanlungan Coffee Shop comes from the farm. 

How has Dorcas (Wessex) Trust helped Kanlungan?

Through visits by Graham Stevens with others we have shared with the staff, the street families and children something of the love of Jesus for them and provided financial support for their outreach Christian ministry

We have provided:-

  1. Money for the salaries for the director and workers on the Street Project 
  2. The money to purchase the land for the farm where boys from Kanlungan can grow food for the Mission and for sale. This has now – since 2008 – brought in some income to Kanlungan.
  3. Funds for fertiliser, farming equipment and a water pumping system.
  4. Money to build a hall for living and recreation for boys working at the farm which was given in memory of David Greening.
  5. Clothes, food, outings, Christmas parties gifts and outings for many street families around the Kanlungan base.
  6. Dorcas provided £78,000 towards the cost of a new house for the work of Kanlungan and for accommodation for its children.


Kanlungan farm lads growing crops – including these coconuts – for food and sale. The new home for the farm workers

During 2011 Dorcas (Wessex) Trust has provided some £15,800 towards the cost of constructing this new building on the farm which will provide accommodation for the farm boys to live in.

Kanlungan farm lads are seen growing crops – including these coconuts – for food and sale.

New in 2011 – Kanlungan Coffee Shop

Kanlungan has opened a coffee shop/cafe near its headquarters to provide training and employment for Kanlungan's young people and to sell the coffee from the Kanlungan Farm.


Coffee at the Kanlungan coffee shop