In a developing city in south-central Philippines there is a peculiar little town called Abkasa. It is cut off from the rest of the main city by a single dusty road that is narrow and very bumpy, a couple of kilometers through tall sugar cane.Continue Reading ›
A question typically asked by sponsors who are miles apart from their sponsored children is, “What happens to sponsored children after they leave the program?”Continue Reading ›
Nine-year-old Jessa lives in a tiny hovel situated within a crowded squatter community in metro Manila. She wakes up at 4 a.m. and it is still dark at this time of day. But inside Jessa’s home, it is always dark.
Emilda is competing at the 2011 Greece Special Olympics in June and we are watching her train. She has been training daily since February, with her mother as a constant and faithful companion.
When Apriliz was about to enter college her family was completely penniless. But Apriliz’s mother is resourceful and she thought of a way to send her daughter to college: cook delicious banana chips and sell them around the neighborhood.
“My problem was she couldn’t run in a straight line,” Coach Gen explains. In several of the local competitions in Iloilo, Emilda lost some races because she would crisscross from lane to lane.
“Our objective is that before (the sponsored children) leave the center, they should have something to fall back on for their daily living,” said Liza, child development worker and youth facilitator for Paglinang Student Center. “Not all of them can go to college and not all of those who do make it to college can land a good-paying job.”
I’ve been to the crummiest, smelliest and most depressing communities around the Philippines, so I thought that climbing up a pile of trash wouldn’t be any different.
Due to poverty, many children drop out of school to work in sugarcane plantations. Here, they are exploited and forced to work long hours for meager pay. Negros Occidental has the highest magnitude of poor families in the country, mostly concentrated in rural areas. About 33 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day.
Metro Manila, seen as a “land of opportunities,” has lured many people from different provinces to work and live here. About 35 percent of the families live in informal slum areas that are unfit for settlement, such as in low-lying flood plains, on riverbanks, near highways and railroads, and on dumpsites.