Scavenging for plastics and other recyclable items at the city dump is a grim reality of life for many children in the Philippines. The children "work" at local dumps to supplement their parents’ meager earnings.
On a good day, a child typically earns about US$.75, enough -- perhaps -- for the family to have a second meal that day. Most of the children at dumpsites are malnourished. A few attend school off and on, while the majority do not attend at all.
The founders of GoAbroad created the GoAbroad Foundation to support a number of charitable organizations and projects. One of the great concerns of the Foundation (and GoAbroad's worldwide employees) is for these dumpsite children. In the Philippines, the Foundation supports the Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV) organization and their projects in the Visayan Islands.
One of VFV's community outreach projects, the Dumpsite Kids Project, was created to rehabilitate children from Visayan dumpsites and put them through mainstream education. VFV's vision for the Dumpsite Kids Project is:
- that one day, there will not be a single child laboring at the dumpsite
- that all of the children will be in good health -- physically and emotionally
- that all of the children will all do well in school
These are the changes that need to happen to prevent these children from being the next generation in the cycle of poverty.
VFV initiated the Dumpsite Kids Project in 2005 after learning of the magnitude of the problem at a local dumpsite. At that time, volunteers who visited the dumpsite were dismayed to see so many children -- some as young as five -- working amid the stench of rotting material and oozing methane gas. Like other children in the Philippines, the children were happy and playful. The dumpsite was their playground; the only life they knew.
VFV first surveyed the people at the dumpsite to gain an understanding of their backgrounds and needs. It was clear that just providing meals would not be enough, so VFV developed the project with the goal to draw children away from the dumpsite and enroll them in school.
VFV does this by providing incentives including food subsidies, clothing, school supplies and weekly meals. VFV also monitors the children’s health, academic progress and works with their parents to strengthen family functioning.
And the results have been successful. Since the Dumpsite Kids Project began, more than 35 children have left the dumpsite and enrolled in school. Fifteen have been honor roll students and two have now graduated from high school. All of the children have made major gains in health and social competence.
The next phase of VFV's efforts is the start of construction on a community center which will augment support to the Dumpsite Kids Project. This project is scheduled to begin during the first week of June 2011.
While VFV collaborated with governmental offices at the local and provincial levels and worked together with them to address this complex, multi-faceted problem, there is no governmental funding available for any of VFV’s programs.
Currently, the Dumpsite Kids Project operates solely on donations received from VFV's international volunteers (who work at VFV’s various project sites) and a few international donors. Local volunteers also pitch in but are not in a financial position to donate funds.
We at GoAbroad invite our users and fans to consider supporting the Dumpsite Project by volunteering with Volunteer for the Visayans, sponsoring a child through the GoAbroad Foundation or by donating through the GoAroad Foundation's Dumpsite Kids Project Facebook Causes page. You can help us make a difference in the life of these children.