Manila’s former street kids campaign to meet Pope Francis

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MANILA, September 24, 2014— Armed with 1,000 letters, former street children of Metro Manila are campaigning through the help of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to win an audience with Pope Francis when he comes to the Philippines next year.

The unprecedented and ambitious move comes four months before the scheduled pope’s visit to the Philippines early next year.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle spends some time with former street kids who are under the care of the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation.

‘Big hope’

According to the Manila archdiocese, Tagle will give the Holy Father over a thousand letters from children of TNK (Tulay ng Kabataan), a non-government organization whose mission is to save Metro Manila’s street children from begging, drugs and prostitution.

“They have decided to write to him so that he could pay them a visit and are waiting with huge impatience and big hope [for] his response,” said Alexandra Chapeleau, TNK communications chief.

Tagle left Manila for Rome on Sunday, for the upcoming Synod on the Family next month.

The campaign, which aims to help fulfill the kids’ dream by drumming up support through social media with the hashtag #EvenUs, has a firm foothold in France, where ANAK, a sister organization of TNK, is already spreading the word among regular TNK donors, friends and collaborators about the intended online buzz.

The Tulay ng Kabataan kids, who have since left a hard life on the streets, wrote letters to the Holy Father in a bid to win an audience with him in January 2015. (Photo: TNK)

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“We [are] mobilizing our team here to contact the media in France, all the communities and all our donors to invite them to be a part of the campaign. We want the video made by the children to be seen by the most people possible and of course, by the Pope,” Thierry d’Arcangues, ANAK’s social media manager, said in an interview.

He also called on the public to help the kids have an audience with the Holy Father by sharing and retweeting the video .

Chapeleau said the short video,which contains messages of the Pope “echo with the wounds of the children.”

Pope Francis will visit the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015. He is expected to visit areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013.

Some members of the committees organizing the papal visit also went to the Vatican, along with Tagle, to arrange the pope’s activities in the Philippines. (CBCPNews)

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