Since 1981, we have been supporting children and families in Davao. It is one of the largest cities on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, with 1.5 million inhabitants.
Davao is an important economic centre, and exports gold and fruit through the commercial port. Despite this prosperity, there is an increasing number of urban poor living in slum-like housing. For families, these conditions can limit their children's development.
Families struggle to meet basic needs
With a growing business and industrial sector, many people move to the city of Davao from other regions of the island in search of work opportunities. However, thousands of migrants end up living in informal housing. Here they lack access to clean water, sewage systems, education and health care.
When a family is living in these conditions, they often struggle to make a living and meet the needs of their children. Very often children are left alone when parents go out to work, and often give up their schooling to go out to work themselves. As children spend time on the streets, they are vulnerable to exploitation and violence. An added danger are the growing number of street gangs, which street children often join.
Protecting children's rights for three decades
In the time SOS Children has been working to protect the rights of children in Davao, we have become well-known and respected advocates. For instance, we work with the Davao City Council for the Welfare of Children. Further, Helmut Kutin, the former President of SOS Children, was declared an “Adopted Son of Davao City” for his contribution to the support of children's rights in the city.
How we help children in Davao
SOS Children provides various support and services to the local population in Davao. Firstly, our family support programme assists families who are at risk of abandoning their children. We work with local authorities to deliver this support, which includes nutritional, educational and health support, as well as counselling and parenting skills advice. The hope is that families are supported until they become self-reliant. At the SOS social centre families can receive essential medical treatment and training for the people living nearby.
When a child loses parental care, they can find a loving home in SOS Children's Village Davao. Here children grow up in an SOS family, with SOS brothers and sisters, who are cared for by an SOS mother. This family environment is full of love, respect and security. Young children go to the SOS nursery, while older children go to local schools.
We offer children in our care any special support that they need – be it with school work or therapy. When a young person feels ready to start their journey towards independence, they can join the SOS youth programme. Here they are supported to train at vocational training courses, study at places of higher education and look for work.
Fragile families and lone children are given hope for a better future with the help of SOS Children. Will you sponsor a child, and give hope to a child in Davao?