Sanctuary Center: Refuge for Abandoned and Neglected Women

In the Philippines, there are institutions that address the needs of people who are suffering from mental illness. But how about those who have improved mental conditions? Is there are place that can prepare them for “mainstreaming” or reintegration into society?

The answer to this question is yes! Focusing on the care, protection and rehabilitation of adult women with improved mental conditions is the Sanctuary Center, a residential care facility established by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Sanctuary Center for Abandoned and Neglected Women
Image Credit: DSWD Sanctuary Center / Facebook

What is the Sanctuary Center?

The Sanctuary Center is a 24-hour residential care facility that provides protective and rehabilitative services for abandoned, neglected, and unattached adult women, 18 years old and above, with improved psycho-social disability.

Established in 1988, the center occupies an area of four hectares inside the WelfareVille Compound in Mandaluyong City.

Vision, Mission, and Goal

According to its official website, the Sanctuary Center is envisioned to be “a residential care facility of excellence for the rehabilitation and eventual mainstreaming of women with improved mental condition to their family and community.”

The center’s mission is to provide its residents with custodial care, rehabilitation, and other services that would harness their capabilities, improve their self-esteem, and provide them with opportunities to become self-reliant and productive.

The main goal of the Sanctuary Center is to facilitate the rehabilitation of women with improved mental condition, and their eventual reintegration with their families and communities.

Target Clients

The center accommodates women, ages 18 to 59 years old, who:

  • Have improved mental condition as certified by a psychiatrist;
  • Are non-violent and manageable as certified by a psychiatrist;
  • Are free from communicable diseases and ambulatory despite physical disabilities and/or limitations (if any);
  • Are considered unattached, abandoned, or may have lost contact with their immediate families and relatives, thus depriving them of home and family care; and/or
  • Have been rescued from the streets by government authorities or referred by local government units, non-government organizations, civic and faith-based organizations, or other DSWD units.


The main objective of the Sanctuary Center is to enhance the self-esteem, self-confidence, and improve the social functioning of women with improved mental condition through the provision of rehabilitative programs and services. The main goal is for them to return to their families and communities, or other alternative arrangements.

Specifically, the center aims to achieve the following:

  • Provide residential service and health care designed to support the residents’ social, psychological, and functional capabilities;
  • Provide rehabilitative services and activities based on the residents’ physical, social, and psychological capabilities to participate in group living with a therapeutic environment or community;
  • Provide occupational activities that would give residents the opportunity to learn new skills, while regaining self-respect and economic productivity; and
  • Serve as a model for the development and possible replication of rehabilitation programs for similar residents in other areas and by other service providers.
Sanctuary Center for Abandoned and Neglected Women
Image Credit: DSWD Sanctuary Center / Facebook

Programs and Services

The center provides a wide range of services, as follows:

1. Social Services

These services help assist the residents in adjusting and participating in a therapeutic environment or community. It involves the formulation of individual case management plans, depending on the physical, social, and psychological capabilities of each resident.

2. Homelife Services

These include the provision of basic needs such as shelter, food, and clothing. Residents are grouped according to their age, needs, interests, and mental condition. House parents and caregivers are present to teach them basic home management skills for daily living.

3. Productivity and Skills Training Services

Residents’ are given basic education and training service, depending on their individual needs. The main goal is reunification with their families, reintegration into society, and economic independence.

This service includes training and activities such as:

  • Agriculture Productivity – vegetable gardening, planting of fruit bearing trees, ornamental plant gardening;
  • Sheltered Workshop Projects – sewing, pillow making, jewelry making (e.g. necklaces and bracelets), accessory making (e.g. mobile phone holders); and
  • Practical Skills / Livelihood Training – housekeeping, soap making, perfume making, pastry making.

4. Psychological Services

Psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners conduct tests and assessment to determine each resident’s mental age, mental abilities, and social interests. Based on these tests, a treatment plan is designed, with specific goals for each resident.

5. Health and Nutrition

A range of health and nutrition services are provided to each resident, including: medical and dental examinations, psychiatric assessment and evaluation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other types of treatments.

6. Recreational and Other Cultural Activities

These include activities that promote social, physical, and cultural development. Events such as residents’ birthday are celebrated, along with other occasions such as Nutrition Month, Family Month, Sports Fest, Mental Health Month, and other events.

Activities include film showings, socio-cultural games, sports, swimming, and many more.

7. Dietary Services and Procedures

These services are focused on providing nutritious and well balanced meals for each resident. They are also given tasks in the kitchen (e.g. food preparation, cooking, cleaning, dish washing) as part of their skills training.

8. Spiritual Enrichment

Opportunities for spiritual enrichment are provided, and each resident is free to practice her religious beliefs. Activities include weekly mass or worship services, Bible studies, rosaries, novenas, and more.

Video: Christmas Celebration at the Sanctuary Center

In December 2022, several chapters of the Apha Phi Omega (APO) organization held a Christmas party for residents of the Sanctuary Center. Plenty of gifts were given, including sacks of rice, hygiene kits, and a washing machine. Watch this video shared by “Nhatz Weekly” on YouTube to see the highlights of the party:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some commonly asked questions about the Sanctuary Center:

1. What is the Sanctuary Center?

Located at WelfareVille Compound in Mandaluyong City, the Sanctuary Center is a 24-hour residential care facility for abandoned, neglected, and unattached women with improved psycho-social disability.

2. What are its objectives?

The center’s main objective is to enhance the self-esteem, self-confidence, and improve the social functioning of women with improved mental condition by providing rehabilitative programs and services.

3. Who are its target clients?

The Sanctuary Center accommodates abandoned, neglected, and unattached women, ages 18 to 59 years old, with improved mental condition.

4. What are its programs and services?

The center’s programs and services include: social services; homelife services; productivity and skills training services; psychological services; health and nutrition; recreational and cultural activities; dietary services and procedures; and spiritual enrichment.

5. How can I learn more about it?

You can learn more about the Sanctuary Center by getting in touch with its contact details, as provided below.

Contact Information: Sanctuary Center

Address: WelfareVille Compound, Correctional Road, Mandaluyong City
Telephone: 02 8532 1164

Google Map:

Final Thoughts

Women with improved mental condition deserve the opportunity to change, develop, and learn new things to enhance their self-esteem and capabilities. Thanks to the Sanctuary Center, these women are able to reunite with their families, reintegrate with their communities, and contribute their skills to society.

Another DSWD facility that caters to females is the Haven: National Center for Women. Visit this link to learn more about it!