MANILA, February 17, 2006 (STAR) By Eva Visperas - Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc. president Gina de Venecia said the other day The Haven, a home for battered women in the country that she established 10 years ago with the CSFI, has now ministered to over 10,000 women and children.

President Arroyo, who led the groundbreaking rites for the multi-purpose gymnasium for the physical well-being of The Haven for Women and Marillac Hills the other day in Alabang, Muntinlupa City which coincided with De Venecia’s birthday celebration, promised to give P10 million to CSFI’s charitable projects.

De Venecia, wife of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and more popularly known as "Manay Gina," said "The Haven for Women stands as the bastion for the protection of abused women of the land."

From the original nine cottages facility that the CSFI, together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), opened on Sept. 30, 1995, six more buildings have been added.

At present, The Haven for Women has five residential cottages, a livelihood and skills training center, a medical and dental clinic, a multi-purpose social hall, an administration office, an inter-faith chapel, an activity cottage that houses the library and an audio-visual room, a daycare cottage that serves as a playroom, a feeding room and classroom, a transition cottage for clients who are on their way to full recovery, a family cottage for clients with children and a productivity cottage.

"And today, with the multi-purpose gym, this dream project is complete," De Venecia said.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office also donated two ambulances during the celebration, one for The Haven for Women and the other for The Haven for Children.

She thanked her husband "without whose trust and support, many of my dreams would have just remained a dream" and the dedicated staff people of the DSWD who run the center along with other generous sponsors.

She said through the cooperation of every CSFI member, "We have built an institution that transcends political boundaries and that binds us to one another in the true essence of service."

The Haven for Women holds the distinction as the only facility of its kind in Asia-Pacific Region.

Also under De Venecia’s stewardship, the INA (Inang Naulila ng Anak) Healing Center for the recovery of mothers "orphaned" by their children at the DSWD main office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City is ongoing.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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