In Western Samar, Philippines, a runaway discovers her life's purpose in a caring shelter for girls Mai was 11 when she ran away from her home in a barrio in Samar, Philippines. The eldest of seven, she sought to escape further abuse from her father, a construction worker. "I got burned by cigarettes, got hit with a stick, was made to kneel on grains of rice, and harassed," she recalls. The last straw came when her drunken father assaulted her. It was typhoon season in Samar and she literally slept in the streets. "I had no food in the middle of a storm," she said. After three days, she met a concerned security guard who brought her to the provincial branch of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The social worker assigned to Mai in turn led her to WESADEF (Western Samar Development Foundation). Mai found refuge in this nonprofit institution, which for the last 25 years has served the poor of Samar, specifically women and children who have been victims of violence. In 2000, Consuelo Foundation partnered with WESADEF and eight years later built Balay Ayupanan (House of Shelter) for abused girls of the province. But after receiving reports of abuse cases increasing in the area, Consuelo Foundation decided to build an even larger shelter to accommodate more girls.