2023 STCA Awardee Teresita L. Silva: Championing the Cause of Vulnerable Families and Homeless Youth

The Saint Teresa of Calcutta Award (STCA) is an annual collaborative project of the AY Foundation, Inc. and the Manila Jaycees. Named after the late Nobel Peace Prize winner, St. Teresa of Calcutta, the award aims to honor and recognize selfless individuals who have dedicated at least 25 years of their lives toward helping the poor. This year, the STCA award is given Childhope Philippines’ very own, Teresita L. Silva.

The awarding ceremony was held on October 3, 2023 at Yuchengco Museum in Makati City, where Ms. Silva was recognized for a lifelong and steadfast dedication to championing the cause of vulnerable families, homeless youth, female victims of sexual abuse.

2023 STCA Awardee Teresita Silva of Childhope Philippines

Teresita L. Silva: A Lifelong Commitment to Pioneering Child Rights

Ms. Teresita Silva is a pioneer in the field of child rights in Asia. With years of dedicated work focused on children in street situations, she has played a vital role in founding non-government organizations dedicated to underprivileged children and families. Currently, she leads Childhope Philippines as president emeritus; and managing board member of both Families and Children Empowerment Development (FCED) and Tahanan Sta. Luisa.

In addition to her extensive contributions, Miss Silva is the author of various technical papers addressing the issues faced by street children and children in vulnerable situations. Her expertise as a social welfare expert and consultant has been sought after not only here in the Philippines but also across the globe; including the Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam. Notably, Miss Silva was the inaugural recipient of the Most Outstanding Professional Social Worker of the Year award in the Philippines.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta Award: A Testament to Miss Silva’s Track Record

Miss Silva’s personal experiences with poverty, hunger, and adversity resulted in her passion for advocating for those who struggle daily to survive. For 60 years, her concern for disadvantaged Filipino youth and families inspired her to create programs to improve their quality of life.

Through the years, Teresita has provided services to about 11,500 street children. Of these, 1,800 were referred to recovery centers, while 320 were reunited with their families. She empowered 210 indigent children who eventually earned college degrees.

Under Miss Silva’s guidance and care, 580 sexually abused street girls received education, medical, and psychosocial interventions from Tahanan Sta. Luisa, with 500 more benefiting from street education programs each year. In addition, she extended medical care to 3,000 street kids and essential services to 1,500 low-income urban families.

Regarding the concept of selflessness and the responsibilities that come with it, Miss Silva had this to say:

The core of service resides in valuing everyone’s worth and prioritizing others’ needs over our own, using our skills and resources to positively impact the world.

Reflecting on the idea of selflessness, the Saint Teresa of Calcutta Award brought me deeper into this understanding.

Through service, we enrich both the worlds and ourselves. Experiencing the gratification of connecting with people in a profound manner and impacting their lives tangibly is a remarkable accomplishment.

Though serving others can be an arduous task and rarely acknowledged, it is the only way to truly connect with others meaningfully and create a noteworthy difference in their lives.

You can watch the awarding ceremony for the 37th Saint Teresa of Calcutta Award below.

Be an Advocate toward Bringing Hope to the Lives of Street Children

Miss Teresita L. Silva’s story firmly attests to the enduring power of compassion and the incredible change that can be made possible by one individual’s unwavering dedication to a noble cause. In a world often blind to vulnerability, extraordinary individuals emerge as beacons of compassion and hope.

You too can leave a lasting impact on children’s lives. Support Childhope Philippines’ initiatives by helping with the resources or volunteering your time in order to advocate for the lives of street children. Let’s work together as we look forward to the continued journey of creating a better, more inclusive world for them.

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