facts about Fortune’s Children at Parang:
- Grade-levels served: First – tenth grades (Completion of tenth grade in the Philippines is equivalent to high school graduation in the United States.
- Curriculum: Children aged seven to nine learn to read and write in both English and Tagalog. Older children study math, English, vocational skills and social values.
- Academic year: The school year typically begins in early June and ends in late March, with a short break in December.
- Community Outreach: The children’s mothers receive vocational training in sewing and making handcrafts to sell for additional income.
- Medical care: The center organizes medical clinics for the children once or twice each year.
- Chores: Children help clean the center daily.
The Philippines comprise a vast island nation in Southeast Asia. This archipelago of more than 7,000 islands boasts sandy beaches, towering mountains and volcanoes, tropical rainforests and an incredible wealth of natural resources and biodiversity. Humans have called these islands home for thousands of years, predating historic records. Today, the Philippines incorporate a staggering number of languages, ethnic groups, religions and cultures. Despite its status as an emerging market, however, nearly half of all Filipinos still earn less than $2 a day. Adequate sanitation, access to healthcare and access to potable water are still daily challenges in this widely underdeveloped country, which is also prone to typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic activity.
The city of Marikina, considered part of metropolitan Manila (the Philippines’ capital), is no exception to these maladies. Here, in Marikina’s Fortune neighborhood, most residents rent modest homes — typically little more than shacks constructed from scrap wood and corrugated metal sheets, with no running water, indoor plumbing or even beds. Eight to twelve family members often share these dwellings. Tragically, hunger, malnutrition, health issues and lack of sufficient clothing often cause children to miss school or drop out altogether. For this reason, Fortune’s Children at Parang serves as a beacon of hope. Established by the Damayan at Tiago Foundation, this center functions as both a school and daycare center, which also offers community-building programs to assist teenagers and adults facing poverty-induced issues. In this way, children and their families may rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they come.
Facts about the Philippines:
- Population:109.58 million (2020)
- Languages Spoken: Filipino (official, based on Tagalog) and English (official)
- Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (2020)
- Poverty Rate: 16.7% (2020)