Do you believe that the children are our future, if you teach them well and let them lead the way? Whitney Houston apparently thought so in a song she popularized.
While the Philippines has recently been popular in the news because of its booming economy, many Filipinos would say that this still is not felt at the bottom-most level–the poor. In fact, going around the Metro, one would still see slums abound and children loitering in the streets. More so, perhaps, in the rural areas, where even access to clean and potable water is not always possible in some remote areas of the country.
As much as there are efforts to alleviate poverty, relying merely on government efforts is obviously not enough. These kids and their families who live below poverty line do not really get to enjoy eating healthy. Accessibility to schools, medicines and other health-related information are limited.
In some of my personal experiences visiting and doing appledrives in the rural community, picture this: a typical family would have at least a minimum of 4-5 children, and would have as much as about 9 kids in a family. Most would lack good personal hygiene, as this is not really taught.
They do not get the basic nutrition required and would oftentimes get sick; getting sick means having their meager resources (supposedly used to buy food) be used to buy medicines instead. Then the rest of the family suffers because of this as well. Health centers are far-situated from their homes, and may not always have whatever it is they need.
And so are schools. During class days, these children have to wake up very early and walk an average of 3-4 hours to get to school. They would have to cross several rivers and streams just so they can study. Some of them would feel lazy to walk that much on a daily basis, so they would rather not go to school at all.
For those who are diligent enough, they would go to school without any food. Others would rather not go to school at all because they would feel embarrassed that they do not have means to bring or buy food with them. The older kids in the family would sometimes need to help their parents take care of their much younger siblings or help their fathers in planting or forestry.
This is the picture of reality for a lot of kids in the Philippines. They will need not just a lot of faith and strong will to get by. They will also need a lot of help and hope to uplift and change their future.
♫♪ And if, by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love ♫♪
Photos from shareministries.org, hardrainproject.com