by Stephanie Steinberg
Did you know that the Royal Family lived in a charity in Payatas near the largest garbage dump of Manila?
Last Saturday, a delegation of GESM visited the charity “Children of the Dump” we have been supported now for 4 years. The royal family are dogs rescued by Peter, who runs the charity “. Like the youngest children in the Cashew Program, also some puppies find shelter, food and a loving environment.
Breaking the cycle of poverty starts early, the youngest students, age 3-5, get an invaluable head start for school, some of the older youth, from 5-19 live in the Mango Tree House. Here, they find structure and education and even chances to put together drama productions. Anything that helps them excel and that offers them an alternative to becoming scavengers on the dump like their parents.
The truck, that was partially funded by the 24hr Swimathon at our school, took us close to the actual dump site where a walk leads through the slum to a makeshift classroom. Here, the charity also targets the youngest kids to allow them a head start before they start making the long journeys to the nearest elementary school.
While Mr. Frank, Mr. Ross, Mrs Buck and I were toured through buildings and sites, out IT team worked tirelessly in two kindergarten classrooms to install and maintain interactive smartboards. They also trained staff to use the boards that will propel the school into the 21st century. Mr. Fantanosa, Mr. Matias and Mr. Balane started early that morning and still drilled and wired projectors when we left.
It was a fantastic opportunity to see the location, the team and finally some of the children. We drove south with the promise to be back, soon: Christmas in a shoebox is just around the corner: The next opportunity to support making a difference in the lives of these disadvantaged children.
P.S. It was also uplifting to see Prince Harry and Prince William utterly relaxed and at ease roaming through the site.