What’s in the Philippines for you?
Every year, millions of families in the Philippines make the journey from their rural villages and towns to Manila, searching for a way out of poverty in the sprawling streets of the capital. For many, the dream ends there as many think they will have a better life, but many have no skills and no means of finding work.
Families disintegrate and split apart and, in the process, many children end up abandoned and on the streets where they are extremely vulnerable and unable to fend for themselves.
There are an estimated 2.5 million street children in the Philippines, about half of whom are living in Manila they say, the real reality no one will ever know how many homeless children there are with thousands more ending up homeless every month and these children are facing assault and violence, and many of the street girls are sexually abused. As most of the children who end up on our streets are forced into a life of sexual abuse and drugs, and are rounded up into crime syndicates and often have nobody to turn to. The girls are often abused by their own peers or by pimps, and become victims of trafficking and become severely traumatised.
The shadow of a modern shopping mall falls on the intersection where these children and the homeless mothers and children sleep. In the corner of a pedestrian underpass, hundreds, perhaps thousands, walk by them daily. This isn’t unusual either. We accommodate to it because we don’t know how to change it, so it continues.
UNICEF reported 300,000 children were victimized by human rights abuses in the Philippines. To escape grinding poverty children are joining rebel movements and taking up arms.
Even setting aside the charges of abuse, the state of child well-being is abysmal. The Philippine Resource Network says only 19% of children aged 4 to 6 years old are able to go to public or private pre-schools. More than one-third of the smallest municipalities cannot offer education up to the sixth grade and 60% of children drop out from school by the second grade.
So, what can be done? More than we sometimes recognize at first glance. In the short term we can support any number of organizations working with street kids and for the welfare of all children. Finding the right organization can be hard, searching Google and reviewing organizations is the best way, as many are just to take advantage of the money, I’ve seen many places but they didn’t look legit and professional enough for me to know that my hard earned money would help these children and families. Maybe I should set up my own charity in the near future, but only when I decide and make the move to the Philippines I could manage the resources and make sure funds go were mostly needed, to the homeless kids. So whats the future in the Philippines for you?