The children live in the province of Surigao del Norte, location of sporadic gun battles between the government and the rebel National Peoples Army.
The children's band is called Sarimbanog — a contraction of "Sayaw, Arte at Tunog" ("Dance, Act and Sing"), and their eight-track CD is entitled "Nangungulila: Ang mga Awit ng Kabataan," or "Yearning for Love: The Voice of Hope for Children."
Karen Rivera, a World Vision communicator, says the group was formed to develop the children's God-given artistic talent and find a creative way for young people to highlight issues of child abuse and experiences fleeing armed conflict. The songs also express a longing to live in a happy and nurturing family.
Prior to putting out the CD, the youngsters toured villages in their community, putting on a play entitled "Dukilom" ("Darkness"), which explores the same themes.
Drummer and guitarist Robert John Serada, 13, says the show was the product of two months of intensive workshops, but the hard work paid off. He believes the band's message is getting through.
"The crowd liked our show and our music," he says. "We had some teary-eyed mothers in the audience."
Rivera says World Vision had been trying to find a way to break the silence surrounding child abuse since establishing a development program in Surigao del Norte.
An initial community-based study conducted by World Vision found high levels of sexual and physical abuse suffered by children. This year, a provincial and local government study documented 17 cases of rape or attempted rape of children and nine cases of physical abuse.
Rivera adds many other cases go unreported because of the stigma associated with the issue.
>> Pray for children around the world, including those in the Surigao del Norte province of the Philippines, who suffer because of conflict or physical and sexual abuse. Pray that Sarimbanog's music will help spread a powerful message about the conditions these children face and inspire others to take action on their behalf.
>> Give monthly to help children around the world whose lives are torn apart by war and conflict. Your monthly gift can rescue one child after another from a life of horror. Become a Child Crisis Partner.
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