BAGUIO CITY – A “house parent” at the Regional Haven for women and girls in the city said the difference in the job is loving and enjoying the role of a mother to victims of abuse and violence.
Delia Velaque, an employee who is assigned as house parent at the facility operated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), said the work is challenging considering that the residents are not ordinary women and girls, but victims.
“Mahirap (it is difficult) but you have to love the job so that you will not be stressed,” she said.
The Regional Haven is a halfway house for physically and sexually abused women, victims of domestic violence and trafficking.
Velaque said her work is not the ordinary 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in an office, but one that performs the role of a mother who takes care of the household. It entails patience, love, caring hands and understanding as the clients have fragile emotions.
“Pag nandito na sila, kami ang tumatayong pamilya nila kasi napalayo sila sa family nila at hinaharap nila ang cases, may court case sila (when they are here, we stand as their family while they are away from their real families. Aside from that, they are facing court charges),” she said.
She said while they act as the parents, there are policies they have to implement which they must assure that residents follow.
Before the pandemic, the center handles about 30 to 36 clients at any given time. However, with the pandemic, it has only about 10 clients most of whom are persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Velaque said their job also includes preparing the clients for the time they will go back home to their families, to the community, equipping them with the skills that will allow them to live and survive.
“Parang magulang pero dito may policies na sinusunod sila at bombarded sila ng activities para pag naka uwi, meron silang alam at magiging productive sila (we are like their parents here but they have to abide with the policies. They are bombarded with activities so that when they go home, they will have the capability to be productive),” she said.
Working at the center since 2007, she said 17 years with the DSWD, she chose to be at the center.
“As house parent, nothing is difficult if you love your job. For me, I make it a point to enjoy each day here being with the women and girls,” she said.
She said there is fulfillment in serving others, especially those who are in need of love and care. If given the choice, she said she will stay at the center.
She said it is emotionally draining at times for them as house parents including the residents to be locked in the facility especially with the pandemic but they see to it that they also find time to bring out the clients for a walk in the park or for outdoor activities.
“Nakaka drain pero nasa amin naman paano maging strong. Siguro naka sanayan na. With prayers din (it is draining but we have to be strong. Probably we got used to it already and with prayers, we can cope),” she said, adding that they have to innovate and come up with activities.
“Maging parent ka sa mga bata, gumawa ka ng activities mo para hindi stressful (be a parent to the children, come up with activities so that it will not be stressful),” she said.
The task of a house parent is special and they also need to undergo training especially on handling abused women and children especially with some of the clients having mood swings.
“You need to know how to handle them, especially those with disabilities, she said.
“Sa abused, meron yung mas madaling i-manage pero ngayon halos with disability lahat (for the abused, there are those who are easy to manage but now, most of the clients are with disability),” Velaque said.
She added, “Each day is different. There are happy days and there are sad ones.” (PNA)