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SOS Nursery School Cebu Philippines

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan swept through the central Philippines, killing thousands and forcing millions more from their homes. Of the 14.1 million people affected in total, nearly 6 million were children. The typhoon is only one of many hardships endured by children growing up in the Philippines. SOS Children is a long-term presence and has helped children and families in the Philippines since the 1960s.

By sponsoring a child in the Philippines with SOS Children, you can be sure 100% of your donation will reach children in our care:

Sponsor a child in the Philippines

Spiralling poverty increases trafficking

The Filipino economy has seen growth in recent years. However, most people have yet to see the benefits of this change. A quarter of people live below the poverty line, and with the highest birth rate in Asia, services and infrastructure struggle to keep up with population growth. The immediate cost of the typhoon on the national economy is thought to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Children at risk of trafficking, a childhood on the streets and child labour

Children face many perils growing up in the Philippines. A lack of work in the countryside often forces families to the city, where children often spend their childhood living in dangerous shanty towns. Many are exploited for gruelling child labour on plantations, in the fishing industry, or simply beg for money on the street. Education is well beyond the reach of many, and countless children fall prey to traffickers who exploit them for commercial gain in the sex and drugs industries. Typhoon Haiyan robbed 1.7 million children of their homes.

Philippines map

Our Work in the Philippines

For many children, the Philippines is a hazardous place to grow up. Across eight locations, we offer support families on the brink of collapse so that children can grow up with their parents, and ensure children receive an decent education and adequate healthcare. Crucially, we provide a safe family environment to those children who have no one else to care for them within a Children's Village in one of eight locations around the islands.

We began work in the Philippines in the 1960s, and since then have built up a substantial presence which allows us to care for children and families throughout the island chain. Our wide-reaching presence in the Philippines enables us to reach well over 6,000 people up and down the country.

Manila

Our Manila community was founded in 1989 in a small village near the Manilan suburb of Muntinlupa. A city of huge contrasts, gated communities and glistening shopping malls sit alongside slums and improvised shacks. Amongst these slums, children are often left alone all day while their parents go out to look for work or search for recyclable items in rubbish dumps.

For three decades, SOS Children has worked to protect the most vulnerable families. We deliver ongoing community work to bolster families as well as emergency relief when disaster strikes. In 2009, when Manila experienced its worst flooding in nearly half a century, SOS Children provided food, clothes and other essential items to help those worst-affected.

Calbayog

Our Children's Village Calbayog is on the relatively undeveloped island of Samar. One of the poorest regions in the Philippines, people rely heavily on fishing and agriculture for their livelihoods. Housing is often makeshift, and few have access to safe drinking water or sanitation. Illiteracy is high even compared to the national average.

In Calbayog, SOS Children works with the local authorities to provide the best support to families at risk of abandoning their children. By helping out with education, daycare and medical support, we can be sure parents are able to provide children with the basic care they need to get a promising start in life.

Cebu

Our Village in Cebu opened in 1980 in the Talamban district of Cebu. As a well-developed commercial centre, the city's success has attracted people to flock to Cebu in search of work. Most, however, are disappointed, and end up joining the urban poor in the slum-like outskirts. Many children spend their days searching rubbish tips for recyclable objects they can sell instead of attending school.

We provide vital support to vulnerable families living in Cebu. In conjunction with local authorities, we work with parents to help them acquire the means to care for their children. Through guidance and counselling, we support families as they develop income-generation initiatives and improve their parenting skills.

Girl smiling

Davao

Our Davao Village is situated on the island of Mindanao, and is the largest in the country. Davao is relatively prosperous. However, like Cebu, many migrants are disappointed by the new life they find in Davao.

SOS Children provides a range of support to the local community. Alongside family support work, we provide guidance on parenting as well as assistance with nutrition, education and healthcare.

Lipa

Our first Children's Village in the Philippines opened in Lipa, not far from Manila, in 1967. An important commercial centre with a growing economy, many families in Lipa nevertheless struggle to put food on the table, with children suffering malnourishment and long-term ill health as a result.

Through healthcare and family support at our social centre, we are able to help families tackle these problems. It is essential that we help parents find work, and allow them the time to go out and earn a living. Daycare not only relieves the burden from parents, it also introduces young children to education and play, setting the scene for a stimulating journey from school to higher education, and a successful adult life.

Tacloban

According to official figures, Tacloban has some of the lowest poverty rates in the country. In reality, the figure is much higher, partly due to the numbers of internal migrants the city's supposed affluence attracts. The chaos caused by Typhoon Haiyan has left many more people living in hardship.

We provide a raft of support to ensure children benefit from the best possible upbringing. Many families remain together thanks to the counselling, healthcare and educational and nutritional support. We provided temporary shelter to families left homeless by Typhoon Haiyan, and offered a safe place for children in our child-friendly spaces.

Iloilo

In October 2003, we opened a Children's Village in Zarrago, a small town about ten miles from Iloilo. While Iloilo itself is a rapidly expanding hub with good infrastructure, Zarrago does not benefit from the same advantages. A traditional economy centred around agriculture and fishing, unemployment is high and many families live in poverty.

Three years before the Village opened, we received a request from the Filipino government asking us to begin work in the region. Today, we help keep families together, as well as providing nutritional and educational support and healthcare too.

Bataan

Bataan lies in the north-west of the country, and is home to our most recent Village in the Philippines, which opened in September 2009. Bataan is located in the large city of Mariveles, which, despite its relative affluence, is home to many impoverished families.

SOS Children works with the local authorities to redress many of the worst problems in the area. We support a large-scale Tuberculosis screening programme, and carry out vital work to help children overcome malnutrition and ill health. We also offer children additional learning opportunities to help improve skills such as computer literacy, as well as scholarships to enable them to attend school.

Life in SOS Children's Villages Philippines: Harry's story

Group of children smiling"My family was happy despite both of my parents suffering from blindness. Then one day my parents decided to separate. My sister Shelo and I lived with our father, and the Quirino Grandstand, where we sold cigarettes to make ends meet, became 'home' to us. A government agency referred us to SOS Children’s Village Manila, when I was 10 and my sister was 12. Nothing compares to my new home, I thought to myself, I have a bed of my own, so does my sister and we no longer have to sell cigarettes in order to feed ourselves. I also had brothers and sisters, and most importantly a mother who took care of us and loved us, although I did know that she was not my real mother. Of course I missed my father, but the village director, 'Papa Noel', was always there to hug, talk to and encourage us. Somehow the longing I felt for my father turned into joy - now I had two fathers.

"SwissAir sponsored our house, and one day we had a visitor. She was a former flight attendant and her husband was a pilot. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Imagine her delight and surprise when I replied "a pilot”! Most of my brothers at the SOS Children's Village changed their ambitions on a daily basis. But not me! My determination to become a pilot became even stronger following an educational tour to Philippine Airlines. So at the age of 20, I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Maintenance. After being sponsored by SwissAir to obtain a licence to become a commercial pilot I enrolled on more flying courses at the Philippine Airlines flight school. That year, my dream became reality when I was selected second pilot officer for the Philippine Airlines.

"I’m now reaching even greater heights as I've been promoted to First Pilot Officer, flying domestic routes and to Asian countries. Not only that, I am now building up my own family. Together with my beloved wife, Misty, I know I can give my son and daughter a better future with our full dedication and unconditional love as parents. I have lots of memories from my home at SOS Children's Villages. I will never forget the people who helped to shape our characters and the benefactors who continuously supported our needs. Now that I am an adult and have successfully achieved my dreams, I can share my good fortune with my SOS family and be a positive role model for other children."

Local Contact

SOS Children's Villages Philippines
Mindanao Drive, Ayala Alabang Vill.
P.O. Box 196,
Ayala Alabang
1799 Muntinlupa City
Philippines
Tel: +63/2/807 0764
Fax: +63/2/850 9654
e-mail: home@sosphilippines.org

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