The Philippines continues to have a very high birth-rate because of the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control. As a result of this many families struggle to provide for the needs of their children. Added to this problem, is the fact many adults (especially the ladies) have to go abroad to look for work. Therefore, many children grow up without the care of a mother.
Lack of money and lack of parental guidance has resulted in a many out-of-school youths, many unwanted pregnancies, teenage marriages and juvenile delinquents.
A year ago, Goducate decided to start weekend camps for Filipino youths in the island of Panay. Groups of about 100 youths from poor villages were invited to join these weekend camps – where they attended teaching sessions, played games and made new friends. The result of these camps was remarkable. Parents noticed visible changes in the behaviour of their kids. And the kids clamoured to join subsequent camps. However, due to the lack of camp facilities and funds it was not possible to invite these youths to follow-up camps.
At about the same time when we started experimenting with youth camps, a Singaporean who presently resides in Brisbane, Australia asked me how he could help. I suggested to him that it was a good thing to help the poor youths of Philippines and he readily gave a generous check – which was then used as the down-payment for a 6 hectare piece of land in Alimodian, Iloilo Province, Philippines.
The owner of this land, Mrs Gonzales, was a poor single mum who ran a market-stall selling vegetables. Later she became a successful wholesaler of mangoes. With the profits of her business, she bought this piece of land many years ago. It was a beautiful piece of flat land surrounded by hills. On the flat land are 2 springs of water, which do not ever stop flowing. Each weekend, she and her children would go to this piece of land to plant mahogany trees, fruit trees and bamboo on the slope of the hills. The flat land was cultivated with rice.
I had the privilege of meeting Mrs Gonzales through mutual friends. When she heard that we were looking for land to build a camp, she offered her land at a very good price.
A camp committee is presently looking at how we can best develop this land so that poor youths can have the chance to learn many useful lessons and skills.
The cost to develop this large piece of land is beyond our present resources.
The possibilities are mind-boggling.
The number and needs of Filipino youth is scary.
But we must do our best to help them – before it is too late!
More photos (click thumbnail to view photos):
The children in the Goducate Children’s Home recently had an opportunity not only to attend a wedding, but also to take part in it. The occasion was staff member Ronnie’s marriage. Earlier, the children had had a part to play in Ronnie’s proposal of marriage.
Ronnie, a Filipino, has been helping at the Home for the past 5 years. His bride Joy, also a Filipino, has been teaching at… Continue reading
In the middle of last year. Goducate in Laguna began to work with the police, training them to be basketball officials (see blog of Aug 14, 2015). The idea behind the partnership was to help the police to reach out to youth through sports. Keeping youth focused on a sport can help keep them out of trouble.
As part of this partnership, a friendly basketball league was held at… Continue reading
Seven of Goducate’s young volunteers in Laguna are collecting water hyacinths to earn money to cover some of their school or college expenses. They borrow a small fishing boat to paddle out to where water hyacinths grow wild in Tagumpay Village, near Laguna Lake. They are paid PhP 150 ($3.20) per 1000 pieces. Working in the mornings before class, or in the afternoons after class, each can earn an average… Continue reading