In a country boasting impressive structures of heritage, there also sits inadvertent monuments aching with histories that many choose to forget. Such juxtaposition exists in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, where the Bahay na Pula still stands. Its faded red walls and stripped floors remind us of the horrors that once were, the justice that is yet to be served, and the courageous women who have been recounting their tales for the world to know.
The Malaya Lolas are a group of Filipinas who first gathered in the 1990s to voice out their stories of sexual violence and slavery. During World War II, they were used as comfort women of the Japanese Imperial Army. Soldiers brought them to the Bahay na Pula, where they were abused, raped, and treated as sexual slaves.
Now, the women continue to stand together. Hopeful as free grandmothers, they hold firm as they remind us that the fight for justice is not over. While the world suffers through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malaya Lolas continue to yearn for a better future.
However, in an increasingly isolated world, the Malaya Lolas struggle — both physically and emotionally. And so, it’s high time that we remember to support them.
Sending letters of love to the Malaya Lolas
Recently, Comfort Women Action for Redress and Education, a community organisation for survivors and victims of Japan’s wartime, started an initiative through their Instagram page. The post encourages everyone to send love and words of hope to the Malaya Lolas.
“The pandemic has been extremely challenging for many but more so for the Lolas who cannot get out of the house,” the Instagram post reads. “I know this is a really long shot, but if you guys have the time to write letters to the Lolas and make them feel less isolated, it would mean the world to us.”
Anyone can send letters, photos, or artwork to the Lolas through this form.
On top of letters, the Malaya Lolas Organization also welcomes prayers and donations. Lola Belen Culala and Lola Naring recently passed away. As of writing, Lola Lita Vinuya is battling pneumonia. The organisation knocks at our hearts to support our Malaya Lolas during these difficult times.
Keep up with the stories of the Malaya Lolas and ways to support them on their official Facebook page.
Featured image credit: Malaya Lolas | Official Facebook Page