How many times do we hear children complain about going to school, or about the food they receive?
In this squatter camp in Manila, there are no such complaints as children are sent out to work to contribute to the family income.
This project began, as most often do, in a simple manner in January 2007. A class in human values and a fresh meal was provided to 100 squatter children each weekend in a couple of tiny rooms. However, such was their indefatigable spirit and desire to learn that at the weekend up to 100 children happily squeezed into a small room, barely 8ft by 8ft to attend a school run by volunteers.
Within months, the project grew and was able to sponsor 65 of the squatter children to attend a regular, non-profit, school, the HSL Braille College, which offers kindergarten, complete elementary schooling and secondary schooling up to grade four.
At the end of the 2008 school year, three of the squatter children attending the school were high-scorers in mathematics and qualified to enter the Regional Training Program of the Mathematics Training Guild, a program for high scorers selected from across the country.
The objectives of the program are:
To provide education for up to 200 children from the squatter areas.
To provide free weekend classes on Human Values Education for up to 200 children.
To provide a sustained feeding program at the weekend class for attending children.
To conduct a monthly medical clinic for the children and their immediate relatives and guardians.
To conduct a livelihood program for the adults with a concurrent microfinance program.