Joerge Manulat’s dealings with the police haven’t always been as positive as they are today.
At seven years old, Joerge was a petty criminal on the streets of Cabadbaran in the Philippines. In a video for Our Better World, he explains that he “would go to school without money or food and when I got home, there was still no food.”
He says his father was also a violent “drunk” who “hit us and threw us out of the house”. After trying to beg for money, Joerge turned to robbing people and quickly found himself in trouble with law enforcement.
Fortunately he ended up in a newly founded program designed to help disadvantaged kids get back into school and almost 15 years later, he is an example of what can be achieved when wayward children are viewed as victims rather than criminals.
Joerge is now in his second year of criminology school after being recommended for a scholarship by his local police unit. He hopes to finish his study to be able to help his parents and says “my dream is to be the Chief of Police.”
“I want to help and protect kids on the street and those who can’t afford to study," he says.
Tejanne Zarzoso is the senior police officer who first set Joerge on his path to a better life. After undergoing training in a UNICEF course, she founded the social welfare project Protect, Feed and Save, that Joerge participated in and she continues to help disadvantaged kids today.