Deep in the heart of one of Manila’s most hazardous slums, our new children’s outreach center is shining the light brightly into the darkness of child labor and malnutrition. Situated on the edge of a huge city landfill, the Payatas colony is a living nightmare where children play in contaminated drainage and are working in unthinkable, hazardous conditions as young as age 5.
At our “Children’s Hope Center of Manila”, we’re offering families an alternative to child labor. We’re offering children ages 4-16 nutritious fresh-cooked meals, clean water, hygiene lessons, free hygiene supplies, games and “vacation bible school” activities, after-school tutoring, and a literary program to address the problem of illiteracy amongst the impoverished children in our community.
The program also offers these children educational support—providing everything they need to enroll in school—uniforms, book bags, school supplies, etc. Not only giving out the supplies but, as needed, walking the parents through the process to make sure the child is properly enrolled in school, with follow-up, tutoring services, and ongoing nutrition support. As we help the parents realize the greater benefit that an educated, happy and healthy child will bring to their family, we’re providing a viable alternative to child labor.
Our native Manila team also recently started a nutrition program on Saturdays not only for the children enrolled in our Children’s Hope Center, but also for children from the local community. On average, there are 80-100 children (ages 4-16) partaking of our meal service program. Our 10 youth and 5 adult volunteers cook and serve the children fried chicken or pork, vegetables, and fresh fruit.