Paulino Matheu Bongcaras, Philippines


Paul could easily pass for twenty. He is meeting poverty and violence in Cebu City with humour and ease, with dance and music. He is a priest and an artist at heart, ready for any joke and never ceasing to speak up for others.

Paul on NVC: “In Cebu City there are so many people on the fringes of society who live in total poverty and experience daily violence. In my work I am often in contact with street children, people who live in landfills as well as young prostitutes. Often these are victims of human trafficking, young girls lured from their villages into the city where they are trying to “free” themselves through working as prostitutes. NVC helps me to empathise not only with the girls, but also with their procurers, to see the humans behind them and understand their fears and needs. Through this I managed to have quite a few good conversations and establish important contacts.
One procurer even told me: “Take good care of the girls.” Deep inside, every human being is capable of empathy.”

Profession: Teacher at the University of San Carlos, Cebu, Friends of the Poor and the Marginalized, Cebu