Volunteer osteopaths share their experience at Virlanie

In partnership with the Hands of Solidarity, Virlanie welcomed two osteopaths who are volunteering for one month in the foundation.

A one-month volunteering experience in the Philippines

Nathalie , on one hand, is French, and has been practicing as an osteopath for more than 10 years. Luis (age), on the other hand, is Portuguese, and freshly graduated to become a full-time osteopath. While they differ in terms of work experience, they shared the same goal of pursuing a social mission. They both decided to volunteer for Virlanie for an entire month, where they will be treating all the children of the residential pillar. As osteopathy is a medical practice that works on treatment of medical disorders through the manipulation and massage of the bones, joints, and muscles, they will contribute to the health pillar of Virlanie by providing new services for the ones in need.

Nathalie explains how she wished for a long time to give more to the others, however she was frustrated because many humanitarian missions demand a doctorate diploma.

For Luis who has just started as an osteopath, it is reassuring to be assigned in a well-established foundation. Knowing Virlanie is well organized and established for 27 years in the Philippines makes him feel safe when arriving in a country completely unknown to him. He is very grateful to help the people with his profession.

Building trusting relationship with the children

The mission of the osteopaths is to treat all the 180 children in the residential pillar of Virlanie. Getting to know the children is an important part of the work. Both volunteers understood the need to approach the children with care. “I let the kids come to me. We are strangers with different cultures. It is important not to be intrusive with the kids, and wait for them to come to us. We try to build a respectful relationship,” said Nathalie.

The children of Virlanie have been through tough situations. Yet Luis was amazed at how the children are responsible and ready to help. During his first day of work in  Ella Yallah Home, he remembered how as soon as he finished eating, a young boy rose up to take his plate and wash it. He is happy to see the friendliness and kindness of the Filipino culture, but also impressed by the loving and responsible environment in which the kids are living.

Luis also explains how communicating with the children is not easy, since most of them do not speak English. Yet, it is an important part of an osteopath’s work. “It is important to adapt and try to understand how the children feel, but also try to explain to them what we are doing to avoid any stressful environment and help the kid to relax.”

A service well needed for the children on the foundation

Nathalie mentioned that it is evident that the children are tensed. Since all of the children hosted by the Foundation have been through tough or traumatic situations, their bodies accumulated tensions. She explained how the human bodies can tense up from both physical and psychological issues. Living and sleeping in the street can have as much effect on the body as the lack of a loving family and solitude. The children’s bodies therefore are emotionally harmed.

Many of the children, even toddlers, are as tensed as the Mamas and Papas of 40 years old. Each kid receive a 30 minutes treatment, where the osteopath massage them and try to unleash the points of tension and relieve them from their pains.

In every home, the osteopaths provide 2 treatments. One day in the morning, and one day in the afternoon, so that they can make sure to treat all the kids, and not miss them because of school or extracurricular activities provided by Virlanie.