Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Opportunity under threat for lack of education in the Philippines

Small children scamper barefoot over the huge rubbish tip known as Smokey Mountain, looking for things amongst the garbage that their parents can sell in the market. If they find something, the family will eat. If they find nothing, they won’t.

Smokey Mountain is a huge rubbish dump in Baguio City, Philippines. Millions of tonnes of waste are there and it is added to by dozens of trucks filled with waste each day. The rubbish decomposes at such high temperatures it catches fire, and the smoke from those fires is what gives the tip its name. Many people die in the fires each year. More suffer from respiratory problems associated with the smoke.

The mountain, and the smoke it generates, can be seen from Manila, 250km to the south.

The families who live on the tip are the poorest of the poor. They cannot afford to rent a home, even in the worst slums, so they squat here under shelters of waste cardboard and plastic. The children’s feet are criss-crossed with scars from broken glass and other sharp objects, their limbs are dirty, their clothes torn. But they do not give up. As each new truck arrives, they scramble towards it, eager to be the first to claim its treasures.

World In Need works to help the people of Smokey Mountain. Our school, the Cypress Christian Foundation School, is built near the tip and caters for children who live there, children who would otherwise not be admitted to the world of education and the opportunity it brings of a better life.
We find sponsors for these children. A sponsor pays a small amount monthly, which enables the child to go to school, to eat, be clothed and have a childhood. The 66 pence ($1) a day it costs to sponsor a child means little to most people in the west, but it makes an incredible difference to the life of a child here.

Recently, the school was faced with closure when the future of the building was under threat. That threat has now been lifted and the building is secure. However, unless we find sponsors for the children, the school will not be able to afford to carry on and these little children will have no choice but to return to the life of rubbish gathering from which they so desperately need to escape.

If you’d like to know more about our work in the Philippines, or what is involved in sponsoring a child, please contact sponsor@worldinneed.co.uk and we will endeavour to answer all your questions.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing the difference a small amount can make to a life, as these pictures show.