In 1967, we began working in Lipa - a city 80km south of Manila. Lipa is in the province of Batangas, growing rapidly. Although traditionally people made a living from agriculture and fishing, today many businesses and industries are booming.
However, as industrial and residential expansion occurs there is less land available for farming. Rural poverty is high, and many move to the city in search of better opportunities. Sadly, many end up joining the urban poor, and survive without basic infrastructure.
Families struggle to provide for their children
Lipa's economic development is making progress - but not everyone feels the benefits. Around 10% of the population are without work. Consequently, many parents struggle to find enough money to look after their children, causing many young people to experience malnutrition or ill health on a daily basis. While local authorities are investing resources to improve the health of children and their mothers, many left waiting for support.
Ensuring that each child goes to school is another issue in Lipa. School is free in the Philippines, but the associated cost prevents many children from the poorest families receiving an education that allows them to break the cycle of poverty.
Supporting families for four decades
During the time that we've been working the Philippines, SOS Children has become well-known and respected advocates of children's rights. To help families in need effectively, we work closely with local organisation, who may refer children into our care for example.
We support the local community through our family support programme. A range of services help families to provide for their children and prevent child abandonment. We give support with nutritional, educational and health issues, and when needed we provide counselling and guidance on parenting skills. The SOS Social centre administers essential medical treatment.
A loving home for lone children
When a child has lost parental care, they can find a new home our Children's Village. Here they live in an SOS family, grow up with SOS brothers and sisters, and are cared for by an SOS Mother. This family-based care give orphaned and abandoned children the love, security and respect that they need to have a happy childhood.
Children in SOS families go to local schools and are offered special support according to their individual needs - be it with school work or therapy. The SOS nursery cares for children from SOS families as well as from local families. Daycare services are especially valued by parents who go to work or training courses. SOS nurseries provide young children with a stimulating experience which developed their social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills.
When a child nears adulthood, they can move to our youth programmes. With professional support they are helped to take their first steps towards independence. Young people in Lipa have been helped to complete vocational training courses, higher education and to find work.
With four decades of experience, SOS Children has transformed many lives of Lipa's most vulnerable. Please will you sponsor a child today, and support this vital work?