She hung upside down weeping as pain ripped through her back as her uncle beat her.

The frail malnourished 5-year-old child dressed in rags and badly in need of a bath had yet again failed to bring enough money home from a day's work begging on the streets of Bacolod City, and knew she would be punished.

Her cousin had molested her, her mother was a drug addict and a prostitute, and her father did not want to have anything to do with her.

Her older sister, the one person she loved, was taken away by her mother to work in Manila.

Years of neglect and abuse by the people who were supposed to love her had toughened the little girl.

Then on Dec. 24, 2006 a community worker asked Philip Seckler, 75, who runs Haven's Home at Fuentebella Subdivision in Bacolod City , with his wife Cecilia Garcia, if they would take the 5-year-old in. Seckler had earlier alerted the city social services office about the plight of the child.

The home ran by the Secklers is a haven for 27 children who had previously been out of school, sexually or physically abused, malnourished or abandoned. The home survives on funds raised by the Kalipay Negrense Foundation Inc. headed by Anna Balcells.

Seckler said when the little girl came her hair was matted and full of lice, and not a stitch of clothing on her body was worth keeping.

But after his wife had bathed the child, combed her hair, and dressed her up she looked like an entirely different person, he said.

“When she first came to the home she would not let other people touch her. She was a tough little girl, but two years of love has transformed her into a beautiful and loving child,” said Balcells, who during visits to the home gets a big hug from the now a smiling well groomed child.