Mariveles is a town in the province of Bataan, in Central Luzon region, north of Manila. It is one of the biggest cities in the region, with an increasing population. With around 35% of the population being children under the age of 14, it is a young city.
The town has recently become home to the Bataan Economic Zone which attracts various businesses. Industrial and residential expansion can sometimes impinge upon agricultural activities - the traditional source of income.
Economic development has not reached everyone
Across the Philippines, there is a movement of people from rural areas to cities, as they try to escape poverty and find better opportunities. Sadly, most end up joining the the thousands of urban poor and living in inadequate housing. Many struggle to find work, and a third of the city's population are unemployed.
Families who live in conditions of poverty often struggle to look after their children, meaning that rate of child malnutrition are high. Local authorities have tried to improve the health of children, through various strategies. For example, a tuberculosis-screening programme was set up, along with feeding and caring for malnourished children. Furthermore, many parents cannot afford school costs, and can only do so with the help of scholarships.
How we help families in the province of Bataan
For the past four decades, we have worked closely with local organisations across the Philippines to protect the rights of children. Since most of SOS Children's Villages in the Philippines were in the south of the country, we decided to build the country's eighth SOS Children's Village in the province of Bataan, in the Central Luzon region, to support families and lone children in the north.
A loving home for lone children
The SOS Children's Village Bataan provides a caring home for children who can no longer live with their parents in the Golden Heights Subdivision of Mariveles. Here they grow up in an SOS family home, with their SOS brothers and sisters in a family environment full of love, respect and security. We offer special support according to children's individual needs, from school work to therapy. These children go to local schools, and community. The SOS family homes are integrated into the surrounding area, and the children have friends from the local community.
We also run family support programmes to the local community, as well as counselling and psychological support. These services are designed to help families stay together and prevent family breakdown. Working with local agencies, children are provided children with access to essential services which promote their development and social skills. Families are offered advice on parenting skills and legal matters, and scholarships are offered to children so they can go to school.
Vulnerable children and families in Bataan province rely upon a range of support. Will you sponsor a child, and be part of this essential support network?